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Friday, August 2, 2013
All Star Bar-B-Q (Rusk, TX)
As you wind through the trees on the drive into Rusk, Texas, a very dated barbecue joint pops up out of the woods. I didn't really need another snack at the moment, but All Star Bar-B-Q beckoned and I submitted.
This place looks like it's been there for ages, or at least the building probably has. I found their shameless misappropriation of the old Houston Astros logo pretty amusing. All Star had some indoor seating, but I was content ordering from the walk-up window.
My options were a little limited since I planned on eating out in my truck. I snagged a Rib Sandwich to-go and saddled up in my trusty steed.
I wasn't entirely sure what the rib sandwich would be exactly, but I was hoping for something better that what I got. My initial reaction was disdain for the "some assembly required" nature of my snack. Rather than a rib sandwich, what I received was basically 5 spareribs, 2 slices of bread, and a little container of sauce. I decided to just eat the ribs on their own and forgo the plain white bread.
They looked like decent spareribs, but looks can be deceiving. There was a good amount of black pepper, though not much else. The sweet, sticky glaze screamed "grilled" rather than "smoked". There was no smoke and no discernible crust. I also ended up with a pretty terrible cut of meat, with small rib bones jutting out from unusual places. The ribs left a weird film and unpleasant taste in my mouth.
I'm a curious person by nature, so All Star Bar-B-Q was certainly worth investigating no matter what. That being said, it's not worth a return trip.
UPDATE (September 22, 2015): Today I received a Yelp "compliment" from Christy Turner of All Star Bar-B-Q:
"Just to clear things up, we don't even own a grill and paid over $40,000 for our pits, aka smokers. And, obviously you have never had a proper "rib sandwich" when stated that there was "some assembly required". Interesting take on barbecue. You must not know much."
Ms. Turner is correct when she says that I have "obviously" never had a proper rib sandwich, which includes the one I received from All Star Bar-B-Q. Likewise, she "obviously" does not understand the correct way to address customer feedback. There are many different ways to approach an unhappy customer, but challenging my general barbecue knowledge probably isn't the right way to do it. Assembly required or not, the ribs completely failed from a taste perspective, which is honestly a pretty basic thing to nail down.
All Star Bar-B-Q
267 S. Dickinson
Rusk, TX 75785