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Thursday, February 13, 2014
Bubba's Bar-B-Q and Steakhouse (Ennis, TX)
Today my job took me about an hour south of Dallas to Corsicana, Texas. Things pushed well into the afternoon, so I was pretty famished by the time all was said and done. I didn't want to make the long trek home on an empty stomach, and luckily Bubba's Bar-B-Q and Steakhouse was right along the way.
Bubba's made the Texas Monthly Top 50 back in 2008, but apparently missed the mark when they issued the current 2013 list. Standards at barbecue joints can go downhill for a variety of reasons, including finances and a change in pitmasters. I was curious to find out exactly how far Bubba's had fallen.
This place is decorated with a weird mix of western nicknacks and large model airplanes. It's right next door to a Tractor Supply store, so maybe those were the only decorating options available. Who knows. Regardless, I came here for the meat, not the ambiance.
I ended up ordering a Two Meat Plate of brisket and ribs. For my two self-serve side dishes, I picked potato salad and green beans. Interestingly, the food is all counter-service, but I was assigned a waitress for the sole purpose of bringing my drink and silverware. The waitress also takes your check back up at the end (they swiped my credit card at the counter), so I guess I was expected to tip her for all of her hard work?
As always, I started things off with my side dishes. The green beans seemed like nothing more than Del Monte canned beans. They had very little flavor aside from a hint of pepper. Conversely, the potato salad was pretty good. It was very sweet, with just a dash of mustard mixed in. There was also a decent crunch from the veggies.
My meats were about as disappointing as the green beans had been. The brisket looked pretty terrible from the outset - gray and lifeless. There wasn't much of a crust and only a few small patches of smoky redness. I enjoy fatty brisket, but the tips of my slices were solid, unrendered fat. The fat line also ran the full length of each edge. On the plus side, the meat was decently tender, though not like you'd expect given the high fat content. I also found a moderate amount of smoke, but it wasn't enough to fix things. After half of slice number one, I had eaten enough.
The ribs had more bark than the brisket, and much more visible evidence of smoke. They were also big and meaty, which is always appreciated. The meat itself was smoky enough, but also fairly dry. Aside from the slight smokiness, there really wasn't much flavor that I could pinpoint. Even some extra salt and pepper (or, God forbid, a glaze) would have helped tremendously. Maybe I should have let the waitress bring me some barbecue sauce after all.
Texas Monthly definitely made the right call leaving this place off of their 2013 Top 50. I took my leftovers to-go just to be polite, but they went straight into the trash. Needless to say, I found no reason for a return trip to Bubba's.
Bubba's Bar-B-Q and Steakhouse
210 S. Interstate Hwy 45
Ennis, TX 75119