BBQ Review: Who is Rudy?
I want to shake his hand. Maybe even give him a hug! Whoever he is (or was) he knows how to run a BBQ Joint! After a great BBQ feast from the family-run Bigham’s in Lubbock, I was giddy about making the comparison with the legendary Texas chain, “Rudy’s Country Store” (don’t worry this chain experience wasn’t a massacre).
Rudy’s is all about ambiance. It is an experience. We walked into this large room with long picnic-style tables. There was a smokey haze. Not so much to make it uncomfortable, but just enough to know that some real BBQ was close by. The air was delicious! I paused and just took it all in. You may think I’m exaggerating, but I really just stood there for a minute and allowed all of my senses to have a party! I headed toward the counter and was greeted with a simple menu board:
I wanted it all but knew I had to be realistic. My stomach was more than willing to be stuffed silly, but my wallet was encouraging me to restrain myself (we still had four days worth of vacation to pay for). Finally, I made my way to the counter and saw what I had read about. The brick pits in plain view!
You order and they pull the meat right out of those beauties. A poof of smoke billows into the air vents, angel choirs sing, flowers bloom, and, for a brief moment, peace seems possible in the middle east. They slice up your meat, grab your sides, ask how many slices of bread you want and nestle everything into a handy basket you take to your table. Here’s what the feast looked like:
The star of the show is at the top left of the basket: A Jumbo Smoked Baked Potato w/ Brisket (it comes with butter, sour cream, cheese and your choice of meat). It doesn’t look appetizing, but look beyond the surface. The potato itself is smoked and the skin turns a crusty black. Oh, MAMA, was that thing good! You don’t know how much I want one right now.
Now we need to take this review back down to earth. Rounding out the basket of BBQ love was a pound of pork spare ribs, a brisket sandwich, a whole smoked sausage, corn-on-the-cob, potato salad and beans. Everything was very good, though all of our meat selections were a tad on the dry side. The prevailing spice is definitely black pepper, which is a great compliment to the wonderful oak wood smoke. Their BBQ sauces are available right on the tables (“Regular”, which has that distinctive peppery bite, and “Sissy”, which lacks the bite but is plenty tasty) and there is a jalapeno, pickle and onion counter that you help yourself to.
So, other than the Jumbo Smoked Baked Potato (which should be served at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb), nothing else was absolutely killer. I guess it was the whole experience that made it so special and just took it over the top. This place is just cool. It has a gas station out front, a convenience store as you walk in, and, of course, the main event. Rounding out the whole Rudy’s experience is this neat-o hand wash station:
It comes down to this: Hometown hero, Bigham’s, versus state legend, Rudy’s… Man, tough one! Considering just the food, I would have to say Bigham’s edges out the legend. But Rudy’s definitely has the “wow” factor. So we have the ultimate happy ending: Great BBQ and no losers!
The BarBeQuethMinistry! Rib Rating (1 bone being awful, 5 bones being legendary):
Ambience/Service: 5 bones
Sides: 4 bones
Sauce: 3.5 bones
Meat: 3.5 bones
Overall: 4 bones