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Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Big Boy's Bar-B-Que (Sweetwater, TX)
Sweetwater, Texas has more power-generating windmills than any other place I've seen, and it's also home to the world's largest rattlesnake roundup. Their real claim to fame, however, is Big Boy's Bar-B-Que, which was included in Texas Monthly's most recent list of the Top 50 Barbecue Joints. I was still full from my barbecue-filled lunch just three hours earlier, but I couldn't resist more top notch 'que. I took a quick stop to see if Big Boy's would live up to the hype.
I didn't take too much time to admire the ambiance inside Big Boy's, but it seemed decent enough. The decor was very Southwestern, and tied in nicely with the Native American history of the area. It was much nicer than the sheet metal exterior would lead you to believe. As would be expected, they had a framed copy of the Texas Monthly list mounted right next to the counter.
Despite Big Boy's inclusion on the Texas Monthly list, I was the only customer at 3:30pm so I decided to just get my food to-go. A full combo plate seemed like far too much food, and all I really wanted was a snack. They were nice enough to let me snag a 1/4 pound of sliced brisket and a couple of ribs. The carnivore in me rarely needs a side dish, so this would be a perfect sampling.
The brisket looked like a leaner cut, but I probably didn't need the extra fat anyway. It had some decent bark, though not much of a smoke ring. The meat itself was very tender, even for being rather lean. Each bite was packed with tons of flavor and a slight smokiness, despite being cooked directly over mesquite coals rather than being smoked. This direct-cooking method is more in line with the West Texas style of barbecue, so I certainly didn't mind the change of pace. Considering how delicious their lean brisket was, I'm sure the fatty variety is even better.
Brisket thoroughly sampled, I moved on to the meaty St. Louis ribs, which happen to be my favorite cut. Who needs rib tips anyway? They had a beautiful crust which looked perfectly caramelized. The sugary glaze was a great combination of the Texas and Memphis styles of barbecue. It was a slightly thicker glaze than most, suggesting honey as a base. The sweetness also did a nice job of balancing out all of the black pepper. Juice was plentiful in these ribs, so it's a good thing I keep a hand towel in my truck for just such an occasion.
I wish I could have spent more time here, but I still had another three hours or so left on my drive home. This is my 100th barbecue review, and I couldn't be happier to give that honor to Big Boy's Bar-B-Que. Their meat is definitely worthy of the Texas Monthly list.
Big Boy's Bar-B-Que
2117 Lamar St
Sweetwater, TX 79556