Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Bluebonnet Bar-B-Q (Dallas, TX)
Despite yesterday's disappointing experience at Whole Foods, I wanted to see how Bluebonnet Bar-B-Q at their Lakewood location measured up. Apparently I'm just a glutton for punishment.
While Whole Foods Park Lane only offers self-serve barbecue, Bluebonnet felt more like an actual barbecue spot than a grocery store. They had a real knife man cutting all of the meats to order. There were also many different combo plates and side dishes available here. It looked a lot more promising, but I was still pretty disappointed by the use of heat lamps.
It was well past lunchtime by this point in the day. My brain was telling me, "Don't spoil your dinner," but the overpowering "Eat! Eat! Eat!" coming from my stomach got the better of me. I ordered a 3 Meat Combo: garlic pork sausage, St. Louis-style pork spareribs, and sliced beef brisket. All of their combos come with two side dishes, and I settled on potato salad and bbq beans.
The potato salad was pretty tasty. I found big slices of potatoes covered in what seemed more like heavy cream than mayonnaise. Dill isn't exactly my favorite herb, but it gave the potato salad a good amount of flavor, coupled with a pleasant sweetness from the cream. As much as I enjoyed the potato salad, the beans were my favorite of the two. The jalapeno and onions mixed in added a good crunch and a big kick of spiciness. These were much tastier (and much spicier) than most bbq beans I find in my travels.
All-pork sausage isn't really the norm for barbecue; most places serve all-beef or a pork and beef mixture. Rare as it is to find, I thoroughly enjoy pork sausage. The garlic gave this offering a good flavor, but I didn't find as much other seasoning as I would have liked. The casings had a little snap to them, though not too much. The meat itself sort of crumbled apart, which was probably an unfortunate byproduct of the all-pork stuffing. Overall, it seemed more grilled than smoked.
The thin slices of brisket had a good black crust and a slight smoke ring. I ended up with a mix of both lean and fatty slices. The lean slices were a little dried out, though they still had a decent amount of smoke to them. The fatty slices needed more rendering, but were tasty nonetheless. This brisket was much better than I was expecting, and the smokiness was a big surprise given yesterday's bland Whole Foods barbecue.
St. Louis-style ribs are probably my favorite rib cut, doing away with that disgusting and unnecessary rib knuckle found on typical spareribs. These had a hint of smoke, but certainly not as much as there should have been. I also thought the crust could have used more seasoning. The meat had good staying power, and wasn't at all "falling off the bone." That being said, the meat was still tender and juicy.
Bluebonnet Bar-B-Q wasn't perfect by any means, but it was definitely better than many actual barbecue restaurants that I've sampled in recent months.
Whole Foods Market
2118 Abrams Rd.
Dallas, TX 75214