EatsBBQ » Snow’s BBQ

Snow's BBQ – The Kid's View

I didn’t know much about Snows going in, except that Texas Monthly claims it the best BBQ in Texas; you know a small ignorable claim…. Other than that I knew they opened early on Saturday, the only day they are open, and sell meat until they are out, usually sometime around noon.  So yes I was expecting a life changing BBQ experience.

So Snows is a rather small establishment, building wise anyway.  About six tables that seat six a piece inside, which we made use of since it was raining that morning and some more tables outside near the smokers.  Inside, the line was short, compared to what I’ve heard, but the proximity around the counter/food servage area still felt rather crowded.

I went with a two meat plate.  Brisket and sausage with two sides, both potato salad because they were out of everything else.  And lastly all the beans you can eat!

Since this is Texas BBQ, it’s only proper to start with the brisket.  At first, the brisket was so moist and delicious.  I was even privileged to get an end piece of the cut and it rocked my world.  The sausage on the other hand was a gamble.  I’ve yet to find good sausage on this meat tour.  Unfortunately the house won this one, being dry as a bone.  So I went back to the brisket; unfortunately it was dry.  It was nothing I’ve ever seen before.  How did something so delicious and moist, dry up in a matter of minutes?  Was it the weather?

So I turned to the sauce.  While not my cup of tea, a pretty sweat sauce and runny, but it got me through my meal.  The potato salad was average, but the beans were a nice touch.

Afterwords, we headed outside to take some photos.  Saw the meat smokers and got the meet the owners.  Very nice folk!  And then we headed for pie, but that’s another story.

Looking back I must say, I was a little disappointed.  The brisket was delicious until it got dry, the sausage was dry from the beginning and the sides were OK.  The experience was great, the people were nice and the south Texas animals were plump.  I still say that horse looked like a cow, or perhaps bound for France.

Snow's BBQ

Texas Monthly laid down the gauntlet.  The claim: Best BBQ in Texas. Lofty to say the least. But with the bar set that high was there really any chance of success?

So, the story goes they are a small place with a big reputation. They are open 1 day a week. They open at 8am and sell out by noon at the very latest (sometimes much earlier). Pulling up to the sleepy establishment you can see signs of the Texas Monthly celebrity status: Jaguars, BMWs, Porsches. These are the patrons traveling for Texas’ Best BBQ. The owners are as humble and sweet as I suspect they have always been. But you don’t read this blog to hear about the peripheral stuff. So, on to the BBQ!

Snow's - Sausage and Brisket

Snow's - Sausage and Brisket

Jumping in line at 9:45 we benefitted by a morning of rain to keep the crowds away. We had no problem getting brisket, sausage, pork loin and pork ribs. I sat down with the brisket and sausage. The brisket was moist and tender. I mean plastic fork, pot roast tender. Good smoke ring, nice flavor though I felt the rub was a bit salty. Not overly so, but noticeable. The sausage was obviously home made, looked and tasted to be primarily beef. The seasonings were good in it but I have learned I am not a fan of the coarse ground homemade beef only sausage. I like a little fat in my sausage. I like a finer ground. After a few bites I remembered I was supposed to get my wife (who could not join us) some BBQ to go.

I decide it’s better for me to get in line at that point than to chance them running out, so I got up from my tray and did so. 15 minutes later I was back to my seat with a pound of brisket to go. This is germane for 1 key reason. Someone switched my brisket! Or it sure seemed that way. What was this succulent mass of meat became a pile of brisket jerky. Still very tasty but dry and tough. This was consistent across all the brisket we ordered. What was consumed while still steaming was worth bragging about. What didn’t get devoured in that narrow window, however, lost a lot of its luster.

I only tried a few bites of the pork. They were consistent with the brisket but somewhat less remarkable. Tasty when fresh, dry very quickly. The BBQ sauce was unlike any I have had before. It seemed more fitting for eggrolls than BBQ. But, somehow, it worked. It grew on you. I was dipping everything in it shortly after my initial reaction. The free beans were solid and the potato salad was decent if not spartan.

So here I sit, wondering how to rate this BBQ. I think I’ve got to go with my gut and say very solid BBQ made by some very nice people who still do things the way it should be done. My hat’s off.

BBQ Tour: Snow’s BBQ – Lexington, TX

Snow’s BBQ
516 Main Street
Lexington, TX 78947

After hearing about Snow’s BBQ and subsequently reading about it in Texas Monthly the EatsBBQ crew decided we were going to put Texas Monthly’s claim of Best BBQ in Texas 2009 to the test. That is a pretty lofty claim given the level of BBQ in Texas, much less Central Texas. So we loaded up, gathered a few friends to join us and start on our romp.

Photos by Ray Pierce - click on the images to go to the Flickr set

Snow’s is in Lexington, TX. It’s not exactly on your way anywhere and isn’t on a major road. It’s only open on Saturday’s, and it starts selling BBQ at 8am. The stay open until they sell out. From what I’ve read on several blogs and articles was that you needed to be there before 10am to make sure you got what you drove for. So this little gem has eluded a lot of people for a long time because of the location, quantity, and time. Texas Monthly really put the bright spot light on this little joint. The demand for Snow’s BBQ has skyrocketed since the article I’ve read, but I’ve also read that they increased their output as well.

Today we got to Lexington around 9:45am. It took us a little over an hour to get there from 183/290 E area (outskirts of Austin). It was a very rainy and cold day, so that works for us and against us. The rain and cold keeps the crowds away, but there’s not much seating inside of Snow’s. It’s only got 6 picnic style tables indoors with the other seating outside. Luckily we got two tables next to one another inside by pure chance.

As we usually do we try to get a sampling of all the fare that is offered. I ordered the Pork and Pork Ribs, Mike ordered the brisket and sausage plate, and Nathan ordered the same as Mike. They had already sold out of the creamed corn by time we got there, but they still had potato salad. They have the typical condiments, BBQ sauce, onions, pickles, and bread available for everyone. They also have free pinto beans. For drinks they had Sweet and Unsweet Tea, Water, and canned soft drinks.

So on to the tasting!

I started with the pork ribs. They were very moist and had a very smokey flavor. They were very tender, but not to the point where you could just pluck the bone out. In hindsight, this was probably my favorite of the meal. Only got 3 ribs and gave the smallest one to Mike of course.

Then I tried the pork butt. It was quite good. It had a great flavor and a good smoke ring. It was however a bit dry. Not to the point of overcooked by any means. Nothing that a little BBQ sauce couldn’t cure. I shared a little with friends, but I devoured most of it myself.

I tried some of Mike’s brisket, and the same solid flavor and smoke ring was there. But it was a bit dry as well, although Mike claims that it wasn’t dry when he started on his plate. Read his review about it. The meat itself was still extremely tender. Later in the meal Nathan let me have some of his since his had a bit more fat on it. It was better, but still drier than I would have wanted. When our friends Andy and Colette showed up the brisket they got looked much more moist than what I had sampled, but unfortunately I was reaching my food intake limit by then. So this may have just been the piece of brisket we were sampling from. It happens and you can’t predict it.

The sausage was a homemade sausage. It didn’t have a huge amount of fat in it which worked pretty well for it. Because of that the sausage wasn’t very greasy. On the other hand it felt like the meats wasn’t bound together and solid. I liked it’s flavor, but I was a bit annoyed trying to cut it

The BBQ sauce was a sweet and tangy blend. One of the guys commented that it was like a sweet and sour sauce for egg rolls. It definitely had some of those characteristics, but not in a bad way. I found that it grew on me the longer I sat there and ate. You have to have a good BBQ sauce to go with your smoked meat in my opinion. I really think that it complemented the flavor of the meats and allowed the smoke flavor to come through and didn’t over power it.

The free pinto beans were quite tasty. Not as peppery as some, but enough you could taste. It was a good contrast to the meats.

All in all I think Snow’s is a great BBQ place. All smoked BBQ has fallen to off days in the smoker, and I think that have happened to us today. It’s just the nature of the beast for dryness to set in the longer something sits. I think if we came back another day, it would have different moisture in the meats and maybe a totally different opinion. Personally, I don’t think it lived up to the Best BBQ in Texas title, but it’s definitely in the conversation. I’m willing to give it another shot on another day.

I would recommend any BBQ lovers to come and try Snow’s and take in the experience. Just be prepared to get up early, drive, and stand in a line to get it. You will be rewarded with some top notch BBQ.

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