OT: barbecue

This week's edition of random OT threads spawns from Twitter chatting last night amongst myself, RangersSD, Bob Loblaw, Aquaman Esq., and knockoutking. I'll leave it open for whatever BBQ discussion you want to take place, but here are a few topics to get it started:

1) Restaurants - best chain? best local restaurant? Do you prefer a meat market-style place where you order your meat at the counter and the sides are sort of an afterthought, or do you prefer a restaurant with an all-you-can-eat buffet of sides and bread?

As far as chains go, I enjoy Rudy's.  A sliced sausage sandwich and a sweet tea from Rudy's is pretty darned good.  I also love their breakfast tacos and made great use out of the brisket, egg, and cheese taco while I was in law school.

I guess Cooper's is technically a chain now, has anyone tried the Cooper's in Ft Worth?  I enjoy eating at the ones in Llano and Mason, but they are expensive (though in fairness, you get a huge amount of meaet).

Whereas Central Texas restaurants are based on the meat market concept (e.g. Cooper's and Rudy's), I'm a connoisseur of the Abilene-style barbecue restaurant with the buffet of sides and bread. In its heyday, nothing was better than the sides and homemade bread (white bread, cornbread, jalapeno cornbread) at Joe Allen's.  Can't forget the awesomeness of Harold's.

If you're ever in Aggieland, I recommend J. Cody's - he worked at Joe Allen's to learn the business and then built his own restaurant in the same style.  IMO, it's better than Joe's ever was.  The creamed corn is otherworldly.

2) Recipes and favorite meats - dry rub or marinade?  Do you prefer beef or pork, or are you an equal-opportunity barbecuer?  

I've never met a barbecued meat I didn't like.  Brisket, sausage, ham, pork loin, turkey, goat, pulled pork, you name it and I'll eat it.  I enjoy goat but if it's not cooked right it tastes like an old shoe.

3) Wood - mesquite, pecan, live oak, other?

For my money's worth, mesquite is hard to beat.  There's never a short of it and it makes a nice, even, pleasant-smelling fire.  Live oak is used a lot down on the Edwards Plateau because it's quite plentiful, I've never tried it myself (but I'd like to).  What other woods have you used and how do they burn?

Ladies and gents, take it away.

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