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Thursday, June 6, 2013
David's Barbecue (Pantego, TX)
I missed out on lunch today, so I decided to track down some barbecue in Arlington on my way home. The signage outside of David's Barbecue claims that they've been serving up smoked meat "Since 1910." With that much history behind their 'que, I thought it was worth checking out.
As it turns out, it was actually the proprietor's great grandfather who started the Harris-Bryan family's first barbecue joint down in Oak Cliff. David's Barbecue itself actually opened in 1988, and has only been operating under the purview of its current owner, Jimmy Harris, since 1992. While serving up barbecue for over 20 years is certainly impressive and commendable, it's not quite the historical landmark that their advertising would lead one to believe.
David's is a pretty low key place to eat, but it's certainly not run down either. The decor is mostly just pictures of all the celebrities and bigwigs that have eaten there over the decades, including John Travolta apparently. Although, I'm not sure if all of those are from David's Barbecue or one of the family's former restaurants.
I was fairly hungry, but I also didn't want to go overboard and spoil my dinner. As a compromise, I settled on a 2 Meat Dinner of ribs and brisket (fatty at my request). Their non-fried side dishes are self-serve, so I helped myself to barbeque beans and potato salad. I didn't even have to ask for my sauce on the side - they clearly knew better. This is Texas after all.
The beans had a good sweetness to them, but they weren't really anything special. They easily could have come from a can, though I have no way of knowing this for sure. Either way, the beans definitely could have used a little spice. As for the potato salad, it was creamy and had a very good crunch. There were a lot of visible pickles and peppers diced in, hence the crunchiness. It also wasn't overly mustardy, which I liked.
I was really glad I had opted for fatty brisket, which I almost always prefer over the lean cut. Despite the appeal of fatty goodness, my brisket was more like a pot roast than anything else. It certainly melted in my mouth, but not in a good way. I found no taste of smoke whatsoever. The small amount of bark I received had a really nice seasoning on it, but I was sad to discover that the flavor of the crust didn't extend to the meat below.
The ribs looked really tasty and meaty sitting on my plate. I was also pleased to see that my combo came with four ribs instead of the usual two or three that most joints offer. The sugary glaze was very flavorful, and there was a nice crust on them. Sadly, just like the brisket, I couldn't pinpoint any smoke in the ribs. The meat was tender and juicy, though bordering on being overcooked. It wasn't quite falling off the bone, but it was really close.
For all the smoke I smelled walking in the door, there didn't seem to be even a hint of it in the food. I think David's has the potential to have really great barbecue, but they've got a few cooking issues to sort out first.
2224 W. Park Row Dr.
Pantego, TX 76013