Friday, August 2, 2013
Lufkin Bar-B-Q (Lufkin, TX)
Despite my best efforts, my job yet again forced me into another trip East to Lufkin, Texas. The last time I was in town I tried out Bryan's Smokehouse, but I wasn't going to make that mistake again. I decided instead to sample Lufkin Bar-B-Q, which is interestingly only a block away from Bryan's.
Lufkin Bar-B-Q has been pumping out smoke in one form or another since the 1950s. I hoped that all that history would lend itself to some really tasty barbecue.
The drive-thru window out front seems to comprise a large portion of their business. Despite the rugged sheet metal exterior, this place has a pretty nice feel to it once you get inside. Bright woods line the walls and the booths, and the western motif ties the whole thing together. It was exceptionally quiet in the dining room, so some background music would have been nice.
If you're dining in, waitress service is the only option. I had several barbecue stops planned for my drive home, so I didn't want to fill up too much. I settled on a Half Plate of sliced beef (aka brisket, at least I really hoped). There weren't too many options for side dishes, but potato salad and beans would do just fine.
Visually, things looked pretty good. The potato salad was basically just warm mashed potatoes with some veggies mixed in for crunch. It was slightly sweet. The flavors were ok, but definitely not the German-style potato salad I'm used to in Central Texas. As for the beans, they had a really good flavor to them. I found brisket mixed in, which was a nice touch. They needed a little spiciness to round things out. Others have raved about Lufkin Bar-B-Q's complimentary dough rolls, but to me they were nearly inedible. They had the texture of a really dense doughnut, and mine were a little raw and chewy in the middle. Maybe I just got a bad batch, but they weren't very good.
The brisket had a good black crust and a pronounced smoke ring. There also appeared to be a good mix of fatty and lean parts to comb through. There wasn't much smoke to the brisket, but it wasn't completely absent either. What stood out the most, unfortunately, was the undercooked meat which failed miserably on the "accordion test." It took way too much effort to pull the meat apart across the grain. A few of my slices beneath surface of the seemingly-beautiful pile had a weird sheen to them, which reminded me of fish scales glistening in the sun.
Lufkin Bar-B-Q was only slightly better than Bryan's Smokehouse had been, although maybe it's more accurate to say that it was just differently bad.
203 S. Chestnut St.
Lufkin, TX 75901