Sunday, September 6, 2009


When I first had barbecue in Texas (Rudy's in Leon Springs, 1994) , I was thrilled by the unique, rugged style of it, all of it: the building (half a gas station), the wood pile, the picnic tables, the trough filled with bottled sodas and beers.  Now, at least a couple times a month, I find myself dipping tender chunks of meat into a peppery vinegar sauce and mopping it up with generic white bread.  "I could get used to this," I said to myself when, after returning to live in Texas in 2004,  Hubby and I first visited the Rudy's closest to our home.  Now, my inner dialogue is a little on the entitled side.  "This," I say, "is what meat should always taste like."

After 5 years as a Texas resident, I have found that Rudy's is not, by any stretch, unique.  Smitty's, in Lockhart, has been smoking meat so long that the walls in the pit room are soot black.   Maurice's, a local place for a brisket fix, has been in business over 50 years.   Clem Mikeska's is a familiar sight on our drive to church.  A friend's 4 year old daughter calls Clem's  "the flame place" (referencing the logo on the front of the building) and it's her choice every time they ask where she'd like to eat.  Yesterday, we ate at Schoepf's in Belton.  Sausage is usually my choice, but last night I had a turkey sandwich, Hubby had the brisket plate, and the Boy had pinto beans and dinner rolls (as usual).  When the college-age man behind the first counter, in front of the open pit, handed me a tray lined with butcher paper, I smiled to myself.  There was my sandwich: a nondescript hamburger bun with sizable chunks of smoked turkey breast. No plate, of course.

If it's not served on butcher paper, is it really barbecue?

My Hidden San Antonio has a post about the Rudy's in Leon Springs, if you're interested in details about the unique atmosphere of this local chain.


  1. Hi, Laurie,
    I have eaten at a couple of those places, and the barbecue was always delicious. You are right, the atmosphere is part of the fun. I have to have my barbecue "fix" quite regularly. Vicki

  2. Someday I hope to find out how superior Texas barbecue is to the stuff we have available in New England. We go to Smoke'n Bones on Martha's Vineyard every chance we get (awesome!), and there is a good place in Portsmouth NH called The Muddy River Smokehouse. But it's probably comparable to trying to find good clam chowder in Texas.