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Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Big Al's Smokehouse Barbecue (Dallas, TX)
I had an absolutely horrid day at work today, so I decided to take the rest of the afternoon off and treat myself to some barbecue. I drive past Big Al's Smokehouse on my way home 2-3 times a week, but somehow I've never made it inside. Well, there's no time like the present...
When I pulled up, I saw a large pile of wood outside to fuel Big Al's smokers. This was a good sign. I walked in, and was immediately overcome by a delicious smoky aroma. The interior is much nicer and has much more ambiance than the exterior would lead you to believe. It's by no means a five star restaurant, but it's not a hole-in-the-wall either. I headed for the cafeteria-style counter to order up some meaty goodness. I got my order to go, which may have been a mistake because I had the smell of rib meat taunting me the whole drive home.
Big Al's has daily specials, and Tuesday's special is a $9.99 Pork Rib Basket with two sides. Who could say no to that? I ordered the special, complete with barbecue beans and potato salad.
The barbecue beans came with big chunks of diced ham mixed in, so this was definitely not a vegetarian option. They were a little sweet, which paired well with the savory ham. The beans were good, but would have been great with a little more pepper. My potato salad was both creamy and crunchy, and there was a good amount of seasoning to it, too. I also appreciated the uniform size of the diced potatoes, which speaks highly for their cooks' knife skills.
I could tell these ribs would be delicious just by looking at them. The rib basket came with six big, meaty ribs, and the charred crust was beckoning me to inhale them. They were tender and moist, but the meat stayed intact with each bite, so they weren't at all overcooked. Just as I suspected, the ribs had a great crust that was slightly caramelized and also had a little kick to it. Big Al's must use a fair amount of sugar in their rub, but the ribs weren't sticky like you might expect. Although the ribs didn't need any sauce, I decided to sample it anyway just for the sake of completeness. Vinegar seemed to be the primary focus of the barbecue sauce, though not overpowering. The taste was pleasant, but I preferred the ribs sauceless.
As far as ribs go, Big Al's Smokehouse has some of the best I've had in Dallas. I'll definitely be going back, and next time I'll have to dine in so I can try their peach cobbler for dessert.
Big Al's Smokehouse Barbecue
3317 Inwood Rd.
Dallas, TX 75235