Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Cole slaw: taking sides with barbecue



The room was silent. Barbecue expert and writer Lolis Eric Elie, author of Smokestack Lightening, had just been asked what he thought about New York City barbecue. He paused for a little too long and then said, "Well, to give the city its due, the sides are much better in New York than they are in the South."

Unfortunately, he is correct. Barbecue is about the meat, not the sides and, well, it’s hard to find brisket and sausage here that can compare with their Texan brethren. But this weekend I had the good fortune to eat Elgin hot guts and juicy, smoky brisket right here in my own urban backyard thanks to the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party.

I have to admit, while this block party has been happening for five years, I’d never attended. I don’t like lines, I don’t like crowds and I’d much rather eat barbecue in its native environment. But my magazine was sending a reporter to cover it and my boss asked if I’d like to take the photos. Curious what all the fuss was about, how could I refuse? I only had one request: the chance to eat lots of barbecue. My wish was not denied.



This event is vast and impressive as it invites pitmasters from all over the South to showcase their barbecued meat in the middle of Manhattan. And with so many pits fired up, as I approached Madison Square Park mid-morning on Saturday, I could smell the smoke two blocks away. There was pulled pork shoulder from South Carolina, Mississippi and Alabama, whole hog from North Carolina, baby-back ribs from Illinois (OK, that’s not the South but pitmaster Mike Mills is still a barbecue powerhouse), and of course, brisket and hot guts from Texas. Representing the home state were Hill Country legends Southside Market and The Salt Lick, along with Baker’s Ribs from Dallas.

People are passionate about their barbecue and what made the Block Party so fascinating was how everyone wore their colors as if it were a sporting event. You saw Big Bob Gibson T-shirts, Peace, Love & Barbecue T-shirts (from Mike Mills’ barbecue cookbook of the same name), University of Texas T-shirts, Ole Miss T-Shirts and, well, you get the idea. And you had people extolling the virtues of sauces, people shouting that sauce is for sissies, people debating the merits of pigs over cows and even amongst the Texans there were heated arguments over which was better—Salt Lick or Southside.



For me, it was no contest—Southside took top honors. The first thing that struck me was the three generations of Bracewells—the owners of Southside Market—on hand. There was Ernest and his wife Rene (classic Texans of a certain age who reminded me of my grandparents they were so full of smiles as they worked at the stand), their son Billy and Billy’s son Bryan (pictured above)—the current pitmaster. This family touched me with their warmth, passion and generosity and seemed genuinely surprised and pleased when people complimented their food, even though you knew they'd heard it countless times before. But solid family values and pleasant dispositions aside, let’s talk about the meat.

The Salt Lick served its decent brisket and links already covered in sauce (you had to request that they not douse the meat) along with some coleslaw. Whereas Southside served its superior peppery, juicy sausage and succulent, smoky brisket straight up Texas-style with just a slice of white bread, onions, pickles, cheddar cheese and a whole jalapeno. For me, sauce is just gilding the lily, which is probably what bothered me most about Salt Lick slathering the stuff over its wares. Another thing that struck me as strangely wrong was I saw the Salt Lick’s pitmaster giving a demonstration to a small group on how to make coleslaw. As delicious as its slaw may be, I’ve never heard of anyone making a pilgrimage to the Hill Country for the side dishes, and if you have a pitmaster's attention, do you want to know how he makes coleslaw? I didn't think so.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against side dishes in general or coleslaw in particular. It's just Texas barbecue is traditionally served sans sides, with just the aforementioned bread, pickles, peppers and onions and some cheddar cheese—if you’re lucky. In cow country it’s all about the beef. Even today, many Hill Country places still don’t sell sides, though some have conceded to consumer demand and now offer, albeit begrudgingly, a few for their customers. But these are usually an afterthought to the excellent barbecue and not that terrific. Not that anyone really minds, however, because the miraculous meat is so sublime you really don’t need anything else.



Which brings me back to Elie’s comment about New York City barbecue. The meat in New York may not be a true taste of home, but check out the cornucopia of side dishes on menus here: you’ll find creamed spinach, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato fries, fried-green tomatoes, cheese fries, creamed corn, sweet potato puree with bourbon, potato salad, corn pudding, green-bean casserole, and of course, the old standbys, coleslaw and barbecue beans. All are admittedly very delicious, but most of them have no place at a barbecue save for the coleslaw and beans. Plus, I can make these at home, but I can’t smoke meat, which is the only reason why I go to a barbecue joint.

Nevertheless, I am very grateful for the eating opportunity I had this weekend. And I may complain about NYC barbecue occasionally, but it’s not that bad and is improving all the time. Heck, a new place called Hill Country just opened and it’s modeled after Kreuz Market in Lockhart. They smoke the brisket and beef ribs on site, but they fly in from Texas Kreuz’s links, Blue Bell ice cream, Big Red and Texan wines. (And are hoping to get a permit to sell Dublin Dr Pepper and Shiner Bock soon). I look forward to trying it.



In the meantime, because you can’t survive on a diet of meat alone, I’m going to whip up my preferred side dish, a spicy batch of coleslaw. I realize I questioned the Salt Lick pitmaster for giving a lesson on how to make this dish, but that's probably because it's one of the quickest and easiest things in the barbecue side-dish canon to make. I toss my cabbage with a bit of mayonnaise, some lime juice, some jalapenos and some cilantro, and after an hour or so it melds into a crisp, tangy, cool and spicy salad perfect for the warm-weather months. And while its a great addition for barbecue, it’s also delightful on its own. And after all that marvelous meat I ate this weekend, I'm in dire need of some vegetables and this batch of slaw should provide just the relief I seek. Hopefully, my meat coma should subside in a few days so I can mosey on over to Hill Country, refreshed and rested enough to try their Texas-style barbecue fare. But for now, this weekend's Big Apple Barbecue Block Party satisfied my craving until I can return home again.

Coleslaw with cilantro and jalapenos
Ingredients:
4 cups of red cabbage, shredded (I prefer red because it’s pretty, but you can also use green or a mixture of the two.)
1/3 cup of mayonnaise
4 tablespoons of lime juice
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of cilantro (plus more if you’re as mad about it as I am!)
2 jalapenos diced
2 cloves of garlic pressed or minced
1 large radish, grated

Method:
Mix all ingredients and chill for a few hours for the flavors to meld. Serves four to six.

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62 comments:

Joshua said...

I couldn't agree with you more about Southside's brisket and sausage, they stole the show for me. I'm inspired to try my own texas hot links now (hopefully this weekend), I just can't get them out of my head. I might even have to drive to Elgin to get more while I'm in Houston soon.

More thoughts/photos from the Block Party at http://blog.meatwave.com

Kalyn said...

Even though I also hate crowds and long lines, if I was in New York I'd have to go to this at least once. Interesting to hear your observations. I got to try the 7 Times World Championship Pulled Pork (his recipe title) prepared by Chris Lilly and realized I'd never really had "low and slow" barbecue before! Sorry if I sound like a barbecue name-dropper, but it was quite an experience! It's probably not something I'd attempt cooking myself, but I do see what all the fuss is about.

Your coleslaw sounds like something I'd love. I'm such a cabbage fan, and of course, there's cilantro! Cilantro=good in my book! Saving the coleslaw recipe right now.

growler said...

It was my first time this year too. I tried to go last year, but the lines were out of control.

Southside served me up the best damn BBQ sausage I have ever had. My God, it was so good. I passed on the Salt Lick 'cause I've been there in person and wanted to try new stuff.

Speaking of new stuff, I hope you got yourself a taste of the Proclamation Team's Brunswick stew. That was tasty! And the folks manning the booth were the friendliest ones I encountered all day. Sadly, NYers don't know what Brunswick stew is, and the booth wasn't getting the traffic it deserved.

Oh, the fried pies were great too.

Kim West said...

As a transplanted Texan myself - I miss the BBQ. The only side I like with my BBQ is home-made potato salad.

Tim said...

You post an article on BBQ and all those delicious looking pictures of BBQ but the recipe is for coleslaw?
I'm traumatized. I feel like the kid that opened up a big box at his birthday only to find out it was underwear.

Olivia said...

Oh stop, stop now! My mouth is watering like the Rio Grande.

I love that coleslaw recipe and hope to use it sometime. anything with cilantro in it...

At our church in The Woodlands, there was a group called the Holy Smokers. They had those big barrel pits, and they would throw in whole onions into the fire, but i have no idea what marinade they used. That was the most delicious, tender BBQ I ever had. When we lived there, funny enough, we rarely ate out BBQ, we did our own.

I am hoping against hope that there are enough Texans in the group I met the other week (at the US embassy) for at least ONE decent BBQ this summer.

shuna fish lydon said...

I just talked for about an hour on the phone with a chef friend of mine who went to this! So nifty to then read your personal account here.

Might I meet you soon?

Jerry said...

Ok, I'm making a trip to NYC next year for this block-party, but hopefully I will already have a job in NYC so I won't have to travel.
So a place better than Salt Lick? Hmmm, now that's a statement. A statement I don't hear often, especially here in Austin. Of course I've never heard of Southside. Praytell, where is this place? I made baked bar-b-que ribs last night, although it lacked the smokey flavor, it was tender, juicy and finger licking good. :)
As for sides, COLESLAW all the way. Now I'm not one for sides, creamed of spinach, mac and cheese, cream of corn, or anything creamed, I'm not a fan. So keep sides simple, go with Texas. :).

Class-factotum said...

I miss Texas BBQ -- I make a pilgrimage to Goode Company in Houston any time I am there. In Austin, I prefer Green Mesquite.

But now I'm an expat living in Memphis, where they have their own version and it's just as good. They do pork BBQ here. I think it was Lewis Grizzard, during the Atlanta Olympics, who explained why they BBQ beef in Texas instead of pork -- because it's too hard to steal a pig when you're on a horse.

Culinary Cowgirl said...

Oh yum...now that's my type of coleslaw!

And being from a "grilling" state...I have to say that real Texas barbecue is second to none.

Rev. Biggles said...

Hey Tim,

Don't sweat it mang. Attempting to lay down the flavors of real barbecue isn't something that's done this easy. The slaw recipe is an excellent way to guide you through. Although, I have to say it would have been nicely followed up by my "no cookie ingredient cornbread" recipe.

And HS Texan, while I haven't been to where you are, I believe you're spot on. A good blog buddy over at http://whitetrashbbq.blogspot.com/ has been laying it down for quite some time. New York is doing very well in BBQ and when searched out, will render goodness.

xo, Rev. Dr. Biggles PhM

Homesick Texan said...

Joshua--Weren't they amazing? I kept going back to their stand and getting more! BTW, Sunday afternoon, were you talking to Bryan Bracewell about how to get to Southside from Houston? I just ask because I was there and I heard someone asking him for directions. You should defintely make the trip when you're in Houston. Go to Lockhart as well!

Kalyn--That was my thought exactly: I would be a fool to not sample the bounty on offer at least once. And Chris Lilly was a doll! I spoke to him for a while, as well as his mother-in-law, Carolyn McLemore, and they were very friendly and welcoming. And yes, it's funny but anytime I make something with cilantro I think of you, saying to myself, "I bet Kalyn will enjoy this!"

Growler--That Brunswick stew was amazing! And I loved how they were handing out the recipe. Lima beans never tasted so good! I'm definitely whipping up a batch the first cold snap!

Kim--Potato salad is wonderful when well made. So often I find it too mushy or too sweet, but I'd like to take a stab at making a decent batch.

Tim--Awwwww, I can't make barbecue because I don't have a smoker, alas. Sorry, dear.

Olivia--I love the sound of the Holy Smokers! What an excellent eating experience! And good luck with the Texans...between them and your Aussie friends I reckon you're due at least a few good barbecues this summer!

Shuna--Thank you! And yes! We're due to meet next week! I'll be bearing biscuits.

Jerry--Southside is just down the road in Elgin, you should go there while you're still in Austin. And if I lived in Texas, I don't know if this event would merit a trip to NYC just for that cos there's so much excellent bbq near you. But, if you live here, that's a whole 'nother thing.

Class-factotum--I love Goode Company, it's my favorite Houston bbq. And Memphis is no slouch in the bbq dept. as well. It's different, but still very, very good. And thanks for the laugh!

Culinary Cowgirl--Thanks! And even though I'm biased, I agree with you!

Rev. Biggles--I was hoping to meet Robert aka Mr. White Trash BBQ this weekend at the Hill Country NYC booth, but alas I didn't, though I did meet Matt from The Hampton Smoker. He was very cool and generously gave me a couple of beef ribs from the Hill Country pit--to die for! And while I haven't been to the restaurant proper (I'm going on Sunday) I'm still blessed to have RUB around the corner from me--their burnt ends make me swoon!

steeped said...

As much as I adore California's endless stream of produce and cuisines, I miss a good pulled pork sandwich. Growing up in North Carolina has spoiled my appetite somewhat for lesser barbeques.

eonyc said...

Ha! My friend and I walked through there! We'd already eaten so I just enjoyed the smells...I always forget that's coming to town. I'm planning a trip back to Texas this summer and I sure as shooting plan to get some TX BBQ!!!

Rev. Biggles said...

Steeped,

Oh you Carolinaians. I've been hip to your monobarbecue lineararity for years. It's unfortunate you are unable to enjoy the world's wood fired meat happiness. That one might be in Vietnam at a street vendor enjoying pork grilled over fanned hardwood and only wanting for pulled pork. Heading out to a smoke house in Lithuania and lamenting that it wasn't pulled pork. Spending days along the Italian coast and tasting the world's finest smoked charcuterie only to remark, "Yeah, but it isn't pulled pork." Or to wander through Berlin's smokehouses tasting such things that have been a staple in a nation's diet for centuries only to mutter, "Too bad they don't make pulled pork the way we do."

I love the Carolina's pulled pork very much, but I personally don't believe it's the only way to cook and prepare pork shoulder. Some day when I'm old enough and rich enough I will travel to such wonderous places and spend loving time at each table making sure I don't miss a nibble. Everyone's cuisine is so precious and tasty, it's a gift and I accept it.

xo, Rev. Dr. Biggles PhM

ps - Made cream gravy for my roasted chicken tonight. Nyah.

Tea said...

Unlike Tim, I'm delighted with the coleslaw recipe, as it's something I'm far more likely to whip up for lunch--looks delicious!

Joshua said...

No, I wasn't talking to Bryan, I just looked it up on Google Maps when I got home from the party :)

I also noticed that Bluebell is on the way to and/or from Elgin, so it'd be an extremely worthwhile trip.

Tavo said...

Your post reminded me immediately of my first run to Bo's Barbeque in Lafayette, CA. I think a reasonable paraphrase of my reaction was, "Baguette?! Is that a chunk of baguette!" Good thing his meat is so rocking. It had to compensate that much more sitting next to that french thing.

Lydia said...

I too hate long lines and crowds (and yet I grew up in NYC....), but I would put up with anything for a decent bbq brisket. No sauce, please; just give me great smoked meat, well trimmed and falling apart. Oh joy!

christine (myplateoryours) said...

Wish I had had this cole slaw recipe last week when I was making my usual boring buttermilk version. Going to actually eat Texas barbecue in Texas tomorrow -- something I don't think I've ever done.

Homesick Texan said...

Steeped--On the panel I saw, there was a big debate if the barbecue in California was good or not. There's no taste like home!

Eonyc--No trip home is complete without bbq!

Rev. Biggles--You bring up a good point--if you can't be with the one, love the one you're with!

Tea--It's very refreshing--enjoy!

Joshua--If you take 290 from Houston you must stop in Brenham, where the cows are very happy! It's one of my favorite road trips!

Tavo--A baguette? Ha! Good thing that the meat is so wonderful.

Lydia--Yep, that's the only way to eat it--let the succulent meat speak for itself!

Christine--Lucky you! I can't wait to hear about your trip!

wheresmymind said...

A whole Jalepeno...dang girl you are SPICAY!

Kathleen said...

As usual your making me hungry. Love the coleslaw recipe, want to make it this weekend. Was up in Manhattan recently looking for Shiner, didn't relize it wasn't up there yet.

Anonymous said...

Funny you mention Salt Lick... We ate there Memorial weekend. It was ok, but not to my taste. I had the bbq platter to get a taste of everything. As you experienced, there was sauce on it! And not your typical bbq sauce. It was the color and consistency of gravy. Very strange. My Austin kin tell me that the "other" Salt Lick has completely different fare. We went to one on 360. I'd rather go to County Line when in Austin.

Better yet, get invited to Texan's backyard party. Or drive around until you smell the smoke and invite yourself!

Like you, I'm a purist. Give me peppery, smoked beef glistening with just the right amount of juicy fat. If the sauce is good and on the side, I'm in heaven.

I do like slaw. It is so easy and versital. Can't wait to try your yummy recipe.

Texann

nancevil said...

Southside is the best handsdown. County Line and Salt Lick are just names people know and repeat but neither offer a great food experience. When in Austin, try Ruby's on 29th @ Guadalupe near the UT campus...the meats are incredible and the sides are numerous.

Anonymous said...

Never been to a barbecue place that didn't have either potato salad or baked potatoes....

kickpleat said...

damn, that looks good! sadly, the only bbq i've had was out of a restaurant from vancouver. it was tasty...but probably not the most authentic! i am a total sucker for coleslaw however and that recipe looks great.

Scribbit said...

Coleslaw with a kick. Hmmm. . . I'll have to try it. The sides are my favorite part actually.

gilly said...

Oh I love the sounds of this coleslaw! That extra bite sounds like just the way to spruce up a summer favourite!

And happy belated blog birthday! I'm sorry I missed your previous post - the sheet cake looks amazing!

Homesick Texan said...

Wheremymind--Some like it hot!

Kathleen--It's not here yet, but hopefully will be soon if Hill Country gets the A-OK to sell it.

Texann--I love the idea of driving around until you smell smoke--that's the best way to find bbq. Enjoy the slaw!

Nancevil--I love Ruby's! I'm going to a wedding in November and they have Ruby's catering it--I can't wait!

Anon--There are still a few that are purists, though they are hard to find.

Kickpleat--Thanks! If you enjoyed it, that's all that matters! Enjoy the slaw!

Scribbit--If you love sides give this one a try!

Gilly--Thanks! And the extra kick keeps you awake on those steamy, hot days!

Yvo said...

I wonder if I saw you there...! I was there on Saturday for much of the time. I feel silly now.... I didn't pay attention to the signs and made a beeline for Dinosaur, which technically I can get any day... I should have tried the Texan places. There's always next year, or a trip to TX! (With long emails back and forth b/w us so you can tell me every place I need to hit... I hope... Hehe)

cat said...

one word....Lockhart
ok two words....Smitty's

Tim said...

Rev. Biggles,
Cornbread AND BBQ? Now you are talking my language. ^_^

Ken Wheaton said...

I think I see a market for a "Don't Sauce My Damn Meat" t-shirt. It just kills me that people will put a piece of hog or cow in a smoker for 12 hours ... and then drown it in sauce! What the hell!?!?
And the sides... there's a reason that in places like Lockhart, the sides are served (and paid for) separately. Hell, the loaf of white bread they give you is beside the point. (Though, yes, I do make sides when I cue).
And for the commenter from Austin who's only tried the Salt Lick ... for shame, son. Get your butt down to Lockhart.

Ivonne said...

Your knowledge of BBQ is breathtaking. I could read you write about it forever!

Michael said...

I'm a native texan who happened to be in town for the weekend and was so excited to see this going on. Southside's BBQ was by far some of the best I've ever had. Saltlick never impressed me before and this time it was no different. It was probably some of the worst I've had. The brisket was fatty and stringy and just not very good to eat. Overall though i was just happy to have some brisket after being in South Carolina for almost 2 years where only pork can be found.

Susan said...

Growing up in RI, BBQ usually referred to hotdogs and burgers on the grill! I never knew how passionate people could be about BBQ until I lived in NC. Entire sections of the market were devoted to all things BBQ as were many restaurants. So, I really enjoyed reading this post. I'll also be trying your coleslaw recipe this summer.

Homesick Texan said...

Yvo--Maybe you saw me, I was the woman in cowboy boots taking lots of photos. But you didn't try the Texan places???? Girl, are you mad? Ah well, there's always next year!

Cat--Those are two of the finest words ever!

Tim--Biggles always serves up the best!

Ken--You tell them! And sign me up, I'd wear that shirt.

Ivonne--Thanks!

Michael--I really can't figure out the Salt Lick phenomenon. And they won the Snapple people's choice award! Sheesh! Oh well, the upside was the lines weren't that long for Southside which meant more excellent cue for those who know what's best.

TexanInNYC said...

Help me Homesick Texans!
I have a birthday rappidly approaching, and I'd love to go out for mexican food somewhere in NYC(really though, I'd be happy to settle for a place that serves a decent margarita that doesn't cost $20!) Nothing fancy - just a good margarita at a place where my friends and I will actually be able to get a table and actually hear each other talk.
Any recommendations??
thank you thank you thank you!

Olivia said...

I seem to have lost touch with the Aussies, but - you might as well know - I am dating a guy from Tennessee that I met at the party - and we were talking about Texas beef BBQ versus pulled pork only yesterday.

growler said...

texaninnyc:

If you like your margaritas tasty, cheap and strong, you could do worse than the Rodeo Bar. Plus, they get some good to great bands playing in a side room, and there's no cover to listen.

And to anyone here thinking, like I did, you'd try Hill Country for a late lunch to avoid crowds, you'll have to wait. Called them today and they're only open for dinner, starting at 5:00. Guy said they may start lunch service in about a week, but to call back and ask again before making the trek, 'cause they're not sure when they'll be doing lunch

The BBQ Guy said...

I just surfed by this evening. Nice blog. Love the recipes and the overall theme. I'll definitely be back.

Jaye Joseph said...

I can't take the Salt Lick anymore. It's gone way down hill. Smitty's, that's the stuff. In town, I go for Iron Works, or surprisingly, Whole Foods.

I have an odd perspective being a native North Carolinian, but having lived in Oklahoma and Texas for the past 20 years, I see the merit in both styles of 'que (though I'm probably a little biased to the Texas). Sounds like a great festival!

Homesick Texan said...

Texan In NYC--Happy upcoming birthday! Rodeo Bar is a great suggestion. You might also try Florencia or El Rio Grande--not like home, but not bad either.

Olivia--Tennessee barbecue isn't bad, it's just different! But it should provide fodder for lively debates between the two of you!

Growler--Rodeo Bar is good fun! Great suggestion. I'm going to Hll Country tonight, I hope it's not swamped.

The BBQ Guy--Welcome and I look forward to seeing you again!

Jaye Joseph--Smitty's has my vote, but I didn't know Whole Foods had barbecue. I'll have to check it out next time in town. And I've never been to Iron Works (it wasn't open when I lived there) but had some fine meals at Ruby's. And that's interesting that as a native North Carolinaian you've decided that Texas barbecue is superior--I've never heard a truer testament to its deliciousness!

Mae said...

Hey, i've just voted for you for the 'Grill Me' contest... make sure you take me as your companion when you win! hehe. :)

Lissa said...

I'm another Homesick Texan, transplanted from Houston to North Carolina five years ago. I decided a long time ago that trying to compare Texas BBQ to NC BBQ just isn't fair to either one. It's like trying to compare Chinese food to Italian food. I love both, though I will never understand serving hush puppies with BBQ. Hush puppies are for seafood!

That said, I've always had sides with my BBQ in Houston. Goode Company has some of the best potato salad around, and their beans are yummy, too. And no visit would be complete without a piece of jalapeno cheese bread to sop up the sauce.

Oh and about the sauce - I love it. Slather it on, and give me a cup on the side. I love brisket, but I also love it with a dill pickle chip on the fork, and dunked in the sauce. To each his own, I guess. :-)

Don Ray said...

Boy, if there is one thing I miss here in Panama, it is good Texas Bar-B-Que.

I will be in Texas at the end of the month and I need to take care of that desire.

Homesick Houstonian said...

Lissa mentioned the sides in Houston. Y'know, i'm starting to realize Houston is its own separate category of Texas Food. You can find any cuisine you want. The Texan food is slightly different, but it is still authentic, it is the original capital of Texas after all. It is in a way a culinary center of Texas. After all, is the number one dining out city in America.

While everyone is nostalgic for Kreuz and Salt Lick, I miss my Goode Company, Merida, Hobbit Cafe, Star Pizza....

So, to make a long story short, perhaps, sides aren't an NYC non authentic bbq thing, they're just a big city thing. And our Texas big city makes them too. (and makes them better than nyc)

Homesick Texan said...

Mae--Thanks Mae!

Lissa--Yep, they are two completely different cuisines. And Goode Company has excellent sides, especially their jalapeno cheese bread (I should figure out how they make it!). The "no sides" thing tends to only be found in the Hill Country.

Don Ray--No doubt, when you're in Texas you'll definitely have to get your fill of barbecue.

Homesick Houstonian--That's what I love about Texas, how each area has its own variations on the basic state cuisine. And yes, Goode Co. and Star Pizza are something to be missed. Did you know you can order Goode Co. food online?

Lissa said...

Houston is indeed its own separate category of Texas food. Even the Tex-Mex tastes different outside of Texas. This includes the Ninfa's in Baton Rouge. The food doesn't taste the same, and the prices are higher!

I've known about ordering Goode Co. online, and friends always bring me some sauce when they visit. I've even had a friend send me one of their pecan pies for Thanksgiving.

(Speaking of pecans, they say it wrong here. It's taken a while for me to keep from flinching when I hear it.)

HT, have you done an entry on kolaches? I've not seen one, but I haven't searched thoroughly yet. I found a pretty decent recipe I'd be willing to share, if you're interested.

Homesick Texan said...

Lissa--That wrong way of saying pecan makes me cringe! And how that ever became an acceptable pronuciation of the word baffles me--it sounds like something you'd go to the bathroom in on a camping trip, and not a tasty and delicious nut.

I have done an entry on kolaches, here's the link:
http://homesicktexan.blogspot.com/2007/03/sweet-escape-kolaches.html

I'm curious how my recipe compares to yours!

Lissa said...

I'll have to tell my husband (NC native) what you said about their pronunciation - that's funny!

I've compared recipes, and they're almost exactly alike. The only difference is in the butter and salt - mine calls for 3 tbs. butter and 1/2 tbs. salt. I found it on allrecipes.com (long before I discovered your wonderful site), and it's a a bread machine recipe. Oh, and I make sausage & cheese rather than fruit.

I'm going to try your recipe next time. Now all we need is a Shipley's donut shop and some Blue Bell!

I'm off to vote for your blog now...thanks!

Erin said...

The only time I've ever been happy to see Salt Lick was when the LA Texas Exes flew that and Amy's Mexican Vanilla in for the big TX Independence Day BBQ-- and even then I was happier to see the ice cream. I prefer Green Mesquite, Ruby's, and hell, even Luther's. The best side I ever found was in some tiny town just southwest of San Antonio, I have no idea which, where the creamed corn was just shucked fresh white corn in cream gravy. Out here in LA I suffer along with Bryan's TX Pit at the Farmer's Market at the Grove and Harlon's in Hollywood, but the first place that flies in Bluebell will win my heart forever. I miss it so!

Anonymous said...

I live 5 minutes away from the original Rudy's BBQ in San Antonio. There side dish of cream corn is divine!

Benjamin said...

Wow, some rough words for the Salt Lick here. I moved to NYC last year, but I always had excellent brisket at the Salt Lick: Tender, moist, good smoke ring. And I recall doing the saucing myself, but that may be due to my adherence to the all-you-can-eat.

As far as the sauce: The Salt Lick does not serve Texan-style barbecue sauce, end of story. It's not really gravy, but it's a vinegary sauce. Then again, their slaw has sesame dressing, so it's an idiosyncratic experience. As far as sauce in Austin goes, I was always partial to the spicy sauce at Mueller's (now closed) and Ruby's (not Rudy's, thank you very much). The fact that someone trotted Luther's out there is hitting below the belt.

Sausage: Well, of course Southside wins here. Elgin hot sausage is the ticket. While we're on the topic of Elgin sausage and Austin: You can also get a plate of said links at Hoover's, which will address your need for more varied sides in one fell swoop.

Here's what I thought was unfortunate about the NYC event: The Southside servers acquiesced to my demand for a sausage-only basket, but the Salt Lick servers (the same batch of NY teens, mind you) gave me their standard plate, even though I only wanted their brisket, ribs and slaw. And speaking of ribs: Where the hell were the Salt Lick's pork ribs? And their cobbler, for Pete's sake?

Fortunately, last week we went home, where my grandmother addressed the glaring cobbler issues of the summer thus far. I can only hope the Hill Country joint opening in NYC straightens this mess out.

Homesick Texan said...

Lissa--Sausage and cheese are just as wonderful as fruit-filled kolaches, I also make both. I'm surprised you can't get Blue Bell, they sell it in other places in the South such as Georgia.

Erin--Salt Lick's better than no barbecue, I will say that! In the panel I saw, the others kept insisting that the barbecue is tasty in LA and Lolis Eric Elie just kept shaking his head. I laughed!

Anon--Haven't had Rudy's cream corn, I'll have to try it sometime.

Benjamin--I was never a big Salt Lick fan, but to each his own! I reckon the Salt Lick doesn't do pork ribs at the Big Apple Block Party because Texas is known for brisket and hot links while BBQ places from other states are known for being more pork-centric. But write them a letter and complain!

bea at La tartine gourmande said...

this is definitely the type of American experience I would love to have, one day! My dad would, even more!

Grillmeister said...

HS Texan: I'll blow some smoke your way today. It's Memorial Day weekend in the Homeland. Today's fare includes a huge brisket smoked over pear wood, baked beans, fried squash, and coleslaw. I wish I could share it with all of you!

Julie said...

Okay I know you said that the coleslaw is the easy part of BBQing...but I have been craving Salt Licks coleslaw for 4 years!!! And tried everything I could think of to get the recipe! You apparently watched them make it!?! Could you share the secret recipe??

Thanks
Julie in Cypress

Anonymous said...

I made your slaw to go with pulled pork tacos and it was awesome. It reminds me of the pulled pork tacos and creamy Mexican slaw tacos I used to get on the East Side of Austin, Texas. The combination is fantastic - you should try it, if you haven't already!

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I forgot to add that we think this slaw gets better the longer it sits & chills (but we think that about all cold slaws, lol). We made it the night before to serve the next day, and OMG was it terrific.

Now, if you can find the recipe for chile con queso that they serve at La Posada in Big Spring, Texas, you'll be Queen of Texas Foods (at least in this flat)!

Bride to Be said...

We've made this twice and we're about to make it for a Super Bowl party, respect!

This is delicious cole slaw, for realz.

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