BBQ Review: Lovin’ Lubbock
The Texas BBQ Experience… I’ve read about it at Barnes and Noble. I’ve checked out books from the public library. I have countless hours worth of VHS recordings of food shows from PBS and Food Network. You walk into a super casual setting, order your meats by the pound and watch them start slicing away on a wooden block. Finally, I get the real deal in Lubbock, TX!
Bigham’s Smokehouse won’t make anyone’s list of BBQ shrines, but they’ve been doing something right since 1978 and have two locations in Lubbock. We walked in for an early dinner just before 5:00 pm. The place was empty. Had it been after 6:00 pm, I would have been worried. But what really set my mind at ease was the aroma of real smoke. I looked up at the menu board and there it was: your choices of meat by the pound! Sweet! We decide on some family deal that included a pound and a half of brisket, a whole smoked sausage, two large sides (and they were definitely large–slaw and beans, of course), and six slices of texas toast. The friendly girl behind the counter (it seems pretty much all Texans are friendly) pulled the meat out of a steam table warmer and started to slice away. I must admit, I was a bit disheartened to see the meat come out like that. The shrines I’ve read about supposedly pull the meat right off their brick pits and slice as ordered. Then I took a closer look at the brisket and saw the lovely smoke ring. I examined further and made out the unmistable shimmer of meat juices and fat glistening upon the beef. It wasn’t dried out, as most attempts at BBQ’d beef brisket are in California.
Then we got our grub on! The brisket was very good. Not the best I’ve had, but solid all the way around. Decently moist and tender with great beefy flavor. The sausage was absolutely incredible! The BBQthDirector’s Wife is usually not really into sausage, but she agrees with her man that this is some of the best we’ve had. Tender, juicy, succulent, and, like the brisket, boldly simple: salt, pepper, and smoke! Maybe a hint of garlic, but they let the meat and smoke pretty much do all the talkin’. This is some good stuff!
Readers of BarBeQuethMinistry know that beans are one of my standard sides. In my neck of the woods, they generally take two forms: a sweet, “Boston-style”, or smokey w/ bits of BBQ’d meat mixed in. Once again, in Texas, they go with the “less is more” approach. You’ll not find any sweetness or smoke in Bigham’s beans. Other than salt, pepper and chile powder of some sort, I couldn’t describe any other flavor sensations. But, somehow, they are very tasty. I really, really liked the beans. The cole slaw was nice and creamy, but I have the tendency to always compare with my absolute favorite made by Famous Dave’s. Bigham’s just wasn’t quite there, but better than KFC (wink, wink to my youth group).
I couldn’t imagine ever going to Lubbock again. But if I ever do, Bigham’s will be a definite stop!
The BarBeQuethMinistry! Rib Rating (1 bone = awful, 5 bones = legendary):
Ambience/Service: 4 bones
Sides: 3.5 bones
Sauce: 3.5 bones
Meat: 4.5 bones
Overall: 4 bones