Friday, March 29, 2013
Spring Creek Barbeque (Fort Worth, TX)
There is a Spring Creek location 10-15 minutes from my apartment that I've been meaning to try for a while now, but today I discovered one even closer to my office. It was Friday, so I decided to blow off work and head to Spring Creek for a quick lunch.
This place felt like the barbecue version of Luby's Cafeteria. The booths were very dated and worn, some with huge rips in the cushion. I didn't find any noticeable smoky aroma inside at all, which is usually a bad sign. The staff was very friendly though.
I ordered their Combination Dinner so that I could sample several offerings at once. The menu didn't specify, but I was told that I could have up to three meats on my combo. I ended up with pulled pork, beef brisket, and cracked pepper sausage. The sides are sitting out self-serve buffet style, and you can load up on them as much as you want. Buffet style sides always seem a little unappetizing to me, so I just settled for potato salad and some macaroni and cheese.
The macaroni tasted like nothing more than box elbows and "cheese," and it might as well have been Easy Mac. Most times I don't mind this kind of macaroni, but I think sitting under the buffet heat lamps caused it to suffer more than usual. As for the potato salad, it was actually pretty good. There was a nice sweetness to it, and I didn't find an overpowering mustard flavor, which allowed the natural flavors to stand out more. It had a pleasant crunchy texture mixed with the typical creaminess.
I started my meat trio by diving into the brisket. Based on my initial reactions walking in, I was surprised to find a clearly visible red hue on the brisket's edges. Despite the visible indications of smokiness, I couldn't taste any smoke at all. The brisket was tender and juicy, but cooked to a point that it was more like pot roast. I couldn't find any bark on my slices either, which was disappointing. I dipped my brisket in the accompanying barbecue sauce, and it actually did wonders to improve the taste. The sauce had some great spice and a lot of flavor - a hint of sweetness along with just the right amount of acidity.
The sausage was definitely an improvement over the brisket, although I doubt it was made on site. I found a good snap to the casings. There was also a lot of visible cracked pepper, which I expected from something described as "cracked pepper sausage." Although, for some reason the pepper didn't emit too much heat. I'm glad I opted for the pepper variety, because I suspect the mild sausage would have been extremely bland. There was just a hint of smoke here, but I had to try really hard to find it. As with my brisket, their housemade sauce came to the rescue.
I had saved the pulled pork for last. Their menu slates this as "Carolina style" pulled pork, which seems odd for a joint that prides themselves on having great Texas barbecue. A thin layer of sweet sauce was already coating my pork. The taste was passable, but way too sugary (almost candied) for my liking. If there was any smoke flavor in there, it had been completely masked by the overwhelming sweetness. It had also been cooked to the point that it was almost mushy. While my brisket and sausage had been sliced to order right in front of me, the pulled pork came scooped out of a container covered in plastic wrap.
Of the three meats, I'd have to begrudgingly say that the sausage was my favorite, although only with the addition of barbecue sauce. I doubt I'll be going back, but it's possible that I might order some of their sauce online. The Spring Creek website erroneously makes the claim: "At Spring Creek you'll find the great taste of Texas!" As a Texan myself, this both embarrasses and saddens me.
Spring Creek Barbeque
8628 Camp Bowie Blvd. W.
Fort Worth, TX 76116