Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Dixon's BBQ (Dallas, TX)
I absolutely dread going to the dentist. I'm not scared or anything, I just hate going. Sadly, it was once again time for my regular check-up and cleaning. After all of the poking and prodding and scrubbing was done, I decided to undo all of my dentist's hard work and scarf down a bunch of smoked meat. According to my Texas Monthly BBQ Finder, the nearby Whole Foods Market is home to Dixon's BBQ. Grocery store barbecue didn't sound all that appealing, but I decided to give it a try anyway.
Dixon's BBQ appears to be an independent part of Whole Foods, although I'm not 100% certain about that. There was one knife man working behind the counter, but it's basically set up as self-serve barbecue sitting under heat lamps for God knows how long. They're open from 10:30-9:00, and I'm not sure how often they replenish the meats. I wasn't optimistic.
There were several different options to choose from, but I didn't want to overdo things (at least not too much). I decided to sample their pork spare ribs, pork and beef garlic pepper sausage, smoked buffalo wings, and pulled pork. Chopped beef and beef short ribs were also available, but neither looked particularly appetizing. At the last minute I uncovered some previously-hidden sliced beef brisket, and I decided to add on a few slices of that for good measure. Their pre-packaged side dishes seemed pretty pitiful, so I figured I'd just make do with my five-meat carnivore feast.
The brisket didn't have much of a crust on it, and there was no noticeable smoke ring. I couldn't taste any smoke either. In fact, I couldn't taste much of anything, not even salt. The fat was barely rendered and was pretty chewy. The meat was fairly dried out, probably a result of the tanning bed it had been warming under. Dixon's was not off to a good start.
I moved on to the pulled pork, which was equally disappointing and forgettable. The meat was fairly tender, but lacked any real flavor. It certainly didn't have any smoke to it, although I would have settled for some salt and pepper. I'm not much of a sauce fan in general, but the pulled pork definitely could have used some.
As for the sausage, it was a welcome change of pace. Given the "garlic pepper" description, I figured that the sausage would at least have some good flavor. There was a decent kick from the peppers, and a good amount of black pepper too. Garlic was noticeable throughout and much appreciated. The casings were also nice and crisp. I didn't find too much smoke in the sausage, but it was certainly much tastier than my first two meat selections.
I don't often see smoked chicken wings on the menu at barbecue joints, so I was anxious to give it a try. Barbecue chicken skin is a guilty pleasure of mine, but this was pretty disappointing. The skin wasn't so much crispy as it was chewy, and the same was true for the meat. The chicken was fairly dry and tough to eat. I found a decent amount of seasoning, but that's really the only positive thing I can say about these wings.
The big, meaty spare ribs seemed like a good way to finish off this meal. Meatiness aside, the ribs had almost no crust and only a slight smoky hue. The meat itself was cooked well: each bite came cleanly off the bone, while the rest of the meat stayed put. The fat, however, was rubbery and abysmal. I couldn't taste much aside from plain pork. These ribs definitely needed more seasoning and more smoke.
My meal wasn't a complete failure, but it was pretty close. Although the heat lamps were certainly a contributing factor, the main problem here was the overall lack of flavor and lack of smoke. Dixon's BBQ was pretty decent for grocery store barbecue, but falls short on any other scale.
Whole Foods Market
8190 Park Ln
Dallas, TX 75231