A One Stop Thread for Visitors and Residents alike.
Post on your visit to a new spot or just give your old faves some pub. Let’s hear it.
A One Stop Thread for Visitors and Residents alike.
Post on your visit to a new spot or just give your old faves some pub. Let’s hear it.
THE PIT ROOM
My little brother, (OtherBrotherDarrell to youse guys), and I stopped by The Pit Room last weekend. It’s on Richmond just east of Montrose and has been opened only a few months. It’s one of the new wave of carefully crafted Central Texas style que. While I welcome that trend, our results were mixed.
OBD ordered a two meat plate with brisket and pork ribs with two sides, potato salad and okra. The ribs had a bit to much pull, (that is, the meat adhered to the bone a bit too much) but were well seasoned. The brisket was good, but I’ll bet his couple of slices were 30% fat. I like my brisket fatty and off the "topside, deckle, point, moist, etc.), but big hunks of fat should have been trimmed either before or after smoking. My dog appreciated his contribution however. The okra was pretty god. Sliced lengthwise and sauteed.
I ordered a couple of tacos, one brisket and one pulled pork. Both were swerved on rustic flour tortillas, possibly house made. The condiment bar featured house made pickles with habaneros, various hot sauces and fresh onions and jalapenos. I got potato salad also and it was “meh” It wasn’t awful by any means, but it was smooth, (as opposed to chunky), and just didn’t add much to the meal. In fact, I didn’t finish it. At $3.25 for each side, I was very underwhelmed by the potato salad. And I can’t even imagine paying $3.25 for a ramekin of beans. In fact, I would’ve been highly pissed.
I also got a half chicken to go. I made chicken salad out of that when I got home. Believe it or not, I think the chicken was the best thing I had there. It was smoky and moist, a tough result to achieve.
Conclusion: Not bad, but there’s better to be had.
Just keep reading.
Ironically, (or perhaps just “coincidentally”), The Pit Room noted above is right next door to an ice house where Pappa Charlie’s food trailer used to reside. We visited it a number of times from far west Houston before they opened their brick and mortar just east of the George R. Brown Convention Center.
The brisket, pork ribs, BEEF RIBS, and sausage are all excellent. Wes is very proud of his smoked turkey and it’s good if you lean that way. They also feature what they call “GoofyCue”. In addition to tacos, they make a rotating list of different types of dishes like smoked meatloaf, masala rubbed smoked meats, smoked boudin, etc.
The sides are creative and delicious. If you’re near downtown and craving barbecue, give it a shot. Tell 'em Doobie sent ya. Nice folks.
The Wifeacita and I take an occasional roadie to Galvan’s in Richmond for brisket with good bark and beef sausage.
Will not go to Goode Co. Katy Freeway.
Want to try Bryan Caswell’s Jackson Street BBQ.
When the VEEP was here Super Bowling, he stopped at Pappas BBQ and got pork. The instant screeching on the webs was deafening. Even channel 13 posted about the screeching.
Just my humble opinion, but I think many of the screechers would have dissed any place he chose. I’ve had the Pappas several times and thought it was good enough. Certainly served in Pappas quantities. The line for their breakfast tacos is always long.
Anyhow, it may not be the best in town, but certainly adequate.
Thanks for the thread and for this review. I’ve been weighing trying The Pit Room vs. going back to Gatlin’s for the first time in a couple of years. I just don’t do barbecue much anymore.
The new paradigm of Texas barbecue seems to be smoked fat rather than smoked meats. Killen’s uses prime brisket and it was too fatty for me.
Best barbecue I’ve had in the past couple of years was Truth up in Brenham. I went to Ray’s on OST at Calhoun a month or so ago, mainly to try the boudin which is very good. The sliced beef sandwich wasn’t as good as I remembered but that’s a pretty good place. Very reminiscent of the short lived Pierson’s. Worst part about it is the cramped parking and interior so I go mid-afternoon. It’s probably never going to crack the TM Top 50 but anybody would be very glad to have one like it right in their neighborhood.
They make a mean bbq brisket breakfast taco.
So many posts today, we’re gonna crash the server.
Nearly a blizzard of activity.
Yes, but a blizzard in Houston is a half inch of snow.
I’ve been eating at Roegel’s since it was Baker’s Ribs an outpost of the small DFW chain.
I’ve told the story before, but Russell and Misty Roegel bought the franchise around the turn of the millennium and operated it as such for a decade or so and then decided to give up the franchise and improve the product. They succeeded spectacularly in my opinion. Their meats are now very much top tier, creative and tasty. The sides could use improvement though. The Baker’s Ribs potato salad was one of my favorites, no mustard and with dried dill. Really good, but dropping the franchise meant giving up the recipes and the current iteration isn’t as good.
What is infinitely better are the house made pickles and pickled onions, in lieu of the old buckets of pickle chips.
I think it’s the best barbecue near the Galleria area. Beef ribs on Fridays. #Luvmybeefribs.
I solved my dilemma of whether to go to The Pit Room or Gatlin’s by going to Pappa Charlies yesterday. The smoked meatloaf was calling my name so I risked life, limb and property on the road (more than three days since the last rain so most Houstonians have forgotten how to drive on wet pavement). I spent most of the trip on side streets due to a big back-up on 288 N into town but I finally got there to find parking right in front of the door.
By the time I got there I had forgotten all about the meatloaf. I needed something more challenging than a slice of a loaf of ground meat, anyway, so I opted for the ribs with green beans and cole slaw.
I’ll dispense with the sides first, quickly: green beans, canned, I think, or they went to a lot of trouble trying to replicate the texture of canned green beans. Bacony flavor but no bits of bacon or bacon fat. Hmmmm. A shame. I think green beans are a good accompaniment to bbq and I frequently go for them if they’re offered.
Cole slaw, or just cabbage? There was virtually no dressing on that pile of cabbage. Dry and not very interesting. I left half of it on the plate.
I won’t be ordering either of these sides again.
The ribs were something very different and very good. They use a ‘hot and fast’ method rather than ‘low and slow,’ with temps up to 350 F. The ribs were not very smoky at all but very tender, juicy and tasty. The glaze is sweet and spicy at the same time, suggestive to me of Chinese ribs. They had the right amount of pull off the bone. Not a traditional taste but I really liked ‘em. I finished off all five which I didn’t think I’d be able to do. I just kept sayin’ ‘well, just a few more bites won’t hurt.’
This visit was a little more successful than an earlier one which I never wrote up. Due to traffic hassles again and the difficulty of finding a parking space, I got there close to 3 pm one day. There wasn’t much left to pick from but I went for a brisket sandwich with a side of greens.
I was not happy when I saw what I got. I NEVER order chopped beef. I think it’s a very poor way to judge good brisket and it usually comes already slathered, if not stewed, in sauce. Was this chopped beef? or was this ‘here’s what we scraped up off the cutting board.’ I was disappointed that a ‘chopped beef’ sandwich was the default instead of sliced; at least the sauce was on the side (I don’t remember if I was asked or if that’s the default).
I decided not to write this up since I thought I had not gotten a good sample of what they offer. I also didn’t even make any notes and I can’t remember anything about the sauce although I think I probably didn’t hate it or I would likely have remembered it!
The greens went a long way to compensate for my disappointment with the sandwich, however. Excellent in a word. Not your typical Southen/Pot-likker treatment, a little sweet and spicy as best I remember. Excellent texture (not overcooked and mushy). I would have ordered these again yesterday but they were already sold out for the day.
My recs: try the ribs and greens. Neither are traditional treatments so keep an open mind going in. Skip the green beans and cole slaw. Other than that, you’re on your own
Those ribs do look good and whatever the brisket is looks pretty good. Was it tasty at all?
I don’t rightly know where to drop this, but this seems as good as any, seeing as how Hunstville is a short 60 or so miles from Houston.
I made it over to New Zion Missionary Baptist Church Barbecue yesterday, a Friday. You local folks here need no explanation of New Zion, but for visitors, just plug it in to Google for a variety of articles from all over about this church’s fund raising efforts. It’s open Thurs-Sat. It looks the same as always, I guess (first visit), except that the shiny smoker in front appeared in recent years.
Unlike Brucesw, my go to order is chopped beef sandwich, so that’s what I ordered. It was stuffed with plenty of sauce, hot chopped brisket. I liked it a lot. It has a mild smokey flavor, but not too much. Two pickles and a couple of stray pieces of onion topped the sandwich, there was no condiment bar and no jalapenos were offered.
My date ordered the ribs, which he liked but said they were far from the best he’s had. I tasted them and agreed, no fall off the bone tenderness here, even a bit tough with a very mild smoke. It came with beans and potato salad, the beans were okay, the mustardy potato salad mushed almost to mashed taters like I like it.
I employed Google and found an article writ by genuine BBQ fiends from a few years ago and they wrote off the Q as a sad result of the shiny smoker in front which they claim uses “little wood.”
Anyway, I’m glad I went and I will go again when in town at the right time. I also noticed there are several copycats in town, even one on the side of the road with a cooler and a tent, and a sign from a church.
Sorry, I just really don’t remember much about it. I ate it! It didn’t get trashed so it wasn’t awful. Added some sauce of course.
The greens were just the real star of that show.
So is this becoming a Texas style Santa Maria scene?
Does everyone turn out the same specialties?
These are smoked meats using a variety of woods and meats.
The weighin’ has been continuin’ and recently Corkscrew has been added to the equation. I was trying to decide if I wanted to drive all the way up to Spring or… Looking thru the Yelp gallery of Gatlin’s listing I just wasn’t impressed by what I was seeing so… I opted for the Pit Room.
I’m leery of the latest trends in Texas barbecue, not really impressed that it’s been discovered by gourmets from both coasts and not really sure Central Texas style barbecue needs gourmet treatment and I’m leery of all the hype surrounding some of the new places. But I was hongry and realized this place is closer to me and easier to reach that any of the others.
There was a group of about 8 ‘young adults’ in front of me about 2:45 pm, not really paying attention to the line it seemed. Suddenly they all bolted out the door and it was my turn to order. I’m not sure if they were scared off by the prices or saw the handscrawled sign on a brown paper bag that they were all out of pulled pork and all the sausages. I also noticed the entry on the menu board overhead for Elote had been yellowed out ---- no longer on the menu at all???
Dang. Those where exactly the things I wanted to try on my first visit.
I went for the chicken taco instead of the pulled pork - smoked (pulled) chicken verde (mostly dark meat I thought), griddled cheese and charred garlic. This was the best thing I was to have this visit, very juicy and flavorful. I could have gone back up to the condiment bar and doctored it up some but didn’t bother. I would order this again.
The tortillas are made in house with beef fat rendered in the smoker; they’re tougher that ordinary flour tortillas and held up well to the very juicy meat (about 4 ounces probably).
Yes, I actually went for the ‘smoked brisket chili.’ So you think I should know better than to order chili at a restaurant in Texas??? Yeah, yeah, yeah. But I keep trying.
This was a big disappointment, lacking in cumin and chilies for my taste but the biggest problem with smoked brisket chili to me is the meat is already cooked before it goes into the chili and doesn’t absorb any of the chili flavor. There were some pretty good sized chunks in there and they stood out as though something had accidentally fallen into the chili pot that wasn’t supposed to be there. I wouldn’t order this again.
Looking through a lot of the pictures on Yelp for this place I think I may have been the first person ever to order the plain chili here. All the pictures on there are of the Frito pie.
I loves me some good charros which these were not. The ones I usually get, gratis with tacos at many taco trucks on the weekend or with an order off a pollo asado wagon, are very soupy. These were thick and, well, sludgy, and didn’t taste like anything other than pintos to me. Based on this I wouldn’t order these again, either, but whilst flipping through the gallery on Yelp I notice most pictures of the charros show a much more soupy presentation.
I’m wondering if I just got there at the wrong time. I’m guessing they do two runs on the pit since they’re open until 9 pm, and I got there just as they were running out of what they prepared for the lunch crowd and before they were ready to bring out fresh stuff for the evening rush.
So I decided on a second visit before writing them up. After all, I hadn’t sampled any of the basic trinity of Texas cue - brisket, sausage and pork ribs. This time I got there about 1 pm and the place was packed. There were about 10 people in front of me but the line moved quickly. Everything was being done on the line, right in front of you; on my previous visit my chicken taco had been prepared in the back and brought out to me.
Now this is more like it. The Chicken Taco was good, this was an exceptional order over and above. Pulled pork, pickled red onion, salsa verde plus cilantro and cotija. I will definitely order this again.
The Czech sausage, one of three, beef plus mustard seed. So juicy, wonderful snap to the casing. I’m a big sausage fanatic and this is one of the best I’ve had in a few years, one of the best I’ve ever had in Houston and made in house.
Even the condiments bar looked better. I hadn’t realized the pickled cucumbers also had carrot ribbons mixed in.
Moral of the story: I guess eating at off hours may mean you miss out on some of the best stuff.
I will be back, definitely to check out the other two sausages and the brisket and pork ribs.
Bonus reading material: (This will not be on the test)
Daniel Vaughn has an article on TMBBQ Blog about how the Pit Room managed to meet the stringent Houston requirements regarding smoke emissions and how other Houston Q joints have dealt with the restrictions.
OMG that chicken taco looks amazing. and the pulled pork, but you had me at “snap to the casing.” Thanks! It’s on my list for sure. Adequate comfortable seating for eat in? Is cold beer available?
WEnt to the web site and answered my question on the cold beer. Plenty of it!