Thursday, May 19, 2016
Tex's World Famous Bar-B-Q (Nashville, TN)
When you start out the day by ripping the zipper on your slacks completely open within two minutes of getting to work, you need to try to salvage things any way that you can. For me, that meant barbecue. I tossed aside my boring, pre-packed turkey sandwich and headed for Tex's World Famous Bar-B-Q in South Nashville. Plus, I apparently earn triple points on my Southwest Airlines credit card there, so win-win.
Tex's has sort of a western/saloon thing going on, one that probably hasn't changed much in the thirty-five or so years that they've been open. Essentially this means a lot of iron, antiques, and unfinished barn wood, likely aimed at Nashville's tourist population. Hackneyed decor aside, the lively gent working the serving line, who is actually Tim Williams, the owner, was all the atmosphere that this place needed.
These guys offer a suspiciously cheap $9.35 Combo Plate that comes with "All the BBQ's" and two sides. At that price, game on! Judging by all of the other orders I overheard while waiting in line, this is an understandably popular meal choice. Tex's has ribs on Thursdays, but they're sadly not part of the combo meats. Like any good Nashville "meat and three", the sides here are all self-serve. I scooped myself a helping of potato salad and their famous jalapeño beans and saddled up for a quick lunch.
Wow, these beans definitely aren't for wimps. They had a significant heat level, as well as a great flavor from the peppers. In fact, I'd suspect that they might have tossed in a splash or two of jalapeño juice for good measure. The beans themselves were cooked to a perfect al dente. I'm glad I picked potato salad as my second side dish, because I definitely needed it to temper the spicy jalapeños. It had a good crunch from the pickles and pimentos and a good array of spices. The paprika sprinkled on top is mostly just for presentation, but I appreciated it nonetheless.
I started my meat sampler with the pulled pork, which was fairly dry. It did have a good smokiness, but I would have liked some bark and a little more seasoning. There's really not much else to say about it. The thick slice of turkey breast, on the other hand, was thankfully much more tender and moist than it appeared. It was very smoky, too, like a Texas Thanksgiving. I still prefer dark meat to white when it comes to poultry, but the turkey was undeniably tasty.
Their fine-ground smoked sausage had wonderfully crisp casings. There was also much more smoke than I expected. Too bad there wasn't a good dose of coarse black pepper mixed in. It's likely not made in-house, but that's par for the course when it comes to sausage in Tennessee. Like its casing-covered cousin, the bologna (or, as they phonetically spell it here, "baloney") had soaked up plenty of smoke. The smoking process had cooked down the typical mushy texture of this meat, although a little grill char would have really rounded things out.
The large hunks of brisket on my plate had a noticeable smoke ring around the edges, but I found only a mild smoke level when I dug in. There also wasn't much seasoning on the bark, which could have benefited from even salt. Like the pork, it was just sort of dry. One of my larger bites was fairly hard to swallow without the aid of sweet tea. At peak hours, even lean brisket such as this shouldn't be dry.
Smoked turkey was the surprise winner at Tex's World Famous Bar-B-Q, followed by the two store-bought tube steaks. Still, at their prices, it's hard to complain too much.
Tex's World Famous Bar-B-Q
1013 Foster Ave
Nashville, TN 37210