Okay, you got me on the tourism issue [:D][:D][:D]. As a native Texan I find Jim Goode’s over-use of Texana to create ambiance crass – that’s ‘touristy’ to me; however I’ve eaten at the Katy Fwy location since this thread started and was more pleased than before. I had the duck and links; okay food but the most pleasing part was the portions. One of my issues has always been the rather skimpy portions for what you pay.
I went to Drexler’s once before the move to the new location. It’s a different type of cue, what Robb Walsh in his book calls East Texas-Urban Black I think which comes close to meaning ‘cooked until falling apart.’ I wasn’t impressed and have never been back. There are places that do that style much better but not close to DT. Thelma’s would be a much better choice but both are going to be the closest to DT. However, if skinsfan06 is also a basketball fan, the Drexler in question is the brother of Clyde the Glide and the old location, at least, had lots of basketball memorabilia.
There is also a Luther’s DT, on Walker @ Smith, a block or so from the Hyatt, if that’s where you’re staying. Luther’s is to bbq what Wendy’s is to hamburgers – a quick serve chain. However, Pappas has taken over the Luther’s chain which should result in some improvement.
I agree that are lots of ringers on b4-u-eat. I automatically discount any review which raves about ‘world’s greatest’ or ‘absolutely the world’s worst.’ You can sometimes get a clue from the screen name also; some are obviously selected just to rant one time about the new competition or rave about their new place [:o)]. Likewise take Press or Chron recommendations with a grain of salt, more so with the Press than the Chron. I disagree with both at least 50% of the time. The Press ‘best of’ named Burns BBQ (far north side) best in the city last year — perfectly laughable.
skinsfan06 – I’ve never gotten over to Big Woodrows but did find a website. I can’t get it to come up today but it did reveal the place is owned by the same folks who own the Mardi Gras, which will be much closer to DT.
Bulldozer Rectangle made a comment on another thread about Houston being a good eating city and I agree. I’m frequently amazed by visitors who come to town and eat at our local chains (Pappas restaurants, Landry’s Inc., etc.) and leave raving about the food. You can find some of those type comments here on roadfood.
I’m beggining to figure out that oltheimmer really knows the good Houston places. Can’t go wrong with Williams. But I disagree with the "touristy" claim for Goode Co. Where exactly are all these tourists in Houston? I didn’t realize Houston made it into the US tourist destination rotation.
Go to Goode Co. It’s in a convenient location to where you’ll be located, and has great brisket, sides, and sauce. Also check out Goode Co Seafood. Both places are understandably packed.
Magnolia has the best boiled crawfish in town. It’s not in season in Sept, and is far away from where you’ll be staying. As is Williams.
I’d avoid Houston BBQ Co and the Luling clone. Those two are trying to do central TX cue. Might as well enjoy the southeast Texas bbq while you’re here. When you’re in Austin area, search for the Lockhart joints, and go with the those. Everyone wins.
I’ll throw Drexlers BBQ in the mix, mostly because it is very close to downtown. Apparently their ribs are excellent. I’ve never been; just putting it out there.
A small note on the Houston restaurant websites: b4ueat and citysearch are well known, and as a result, of dubious quality. Check out houstonpress.com and chron.com for their recommendations. Both staff reviewers have a special place in their hearts for common man food. Of course, this site is also excellent and the overall recommendations are solid.
You can’t leave Houston without some good Mexican food, but that’s for another thread… [;)]
I’ll leave you with some words on Houston: I’ve had tons of people visit me, mostly for small amounts of time. Most don’t get it. I admit, the city didn’t make much sense to me when I first moved here as well. Flying roaches, concrete as far as the eye can see, humidity that will strip your wallpaper by itself… But it is a city that reveals its charms after a while. I mention this because your last post mentioned something about depending on transportation options. I’m visioning a skins fan cursing our laughable public transportation.
Another warning: last year, the Texans tried to get homefield advantage by leaving the roof open in Sept. Well, that didn’t work out so well…. BUT If that’s the case, drink LOTS and LOTS of water.
Well, when I go to Houston, I will probably staying near downtown or as close to the sports stadiums as possible. I may or may not get a rent-a-car while I’m there. It depends on the transportation options down in Houston (as I’m still doing research). If I have reliable transportation, I will venture out to the far-out burbs…if not, then I will try to get some good cue as close to where I will be staying. Thanks for all of the replies (so far).
riceroni – interesting. I never think of Louisiana for bbq. Do you have a restaurant or is this private? Can you list some bbq joints I might try if I get over that way? BBQ and crawfish – a new take on ‘Surf ‘n Turf’ [?][:D].
The famous (or infamous) Thelma has several times protested that her food is not Texan, it’s Cajun, but I wasn’t aware of any bbq tradition in Louisiana and just chalked it up to her easily-offended temperament.
It’all going to come down to your oppinion, but I’d have to say that Texas does have the best BBQ in the world period. I was born in Houston, but have lived most of my life in Louisiana, and I’ve been all over the world and anyone who I’ve fired up the pit for have came running back for more. There are people that come from abroad specifically for my BBQ, and since I live in Louisiana they do want some crawfish, red beans and rice, and gumbo too, but only after they’ve had some of my award winning BBQ. So anyone one out there looking for a great BBQ experience give Louisiana a try, and trust me New Orleans is not the place, for the best Louisiana have to offer in food it’s going to be in southwest Louisiana from Lafayette, through Lake Charles to the Texas/Louisiana border.
Glad you enjoyed it wj. Like I said I’ve had some really excellent cue there at times. My last visit was just a couple of weeks ago. If you’d never experienced the coarser grind sausage you might not find the stuff they serve now inadequate.
I’ve lurked here off and on for years but missed your trip. You’ll have to come back sometime and I hope you make it out to Lockhart, Luling and Taylor some day.
Last year I had excellent BBQ Brisket and Smoked Sausage at Luling City Market in Houston. I’ve never been to the BBQ Shrine capitol of Lockhart, however I thought that Luling was the best yet that I’ve experienced in Texas, however the sides were forgettable.
Way to go Bluemaxx. The following is with apologies to David Letterman s writers: According to data compiled by the US Census Bureau for the 2000 Census, 98% of the people who think Goode Co. is the best barbecue in Houston have never been to Williams Smokehouse [:D][;)]. It isn t well known even among Houstonians and some selfish people, myself among them, would just as soon keep it that way [}:)].
Williams is the best and belongs in the pantheon of the best in Texas and is the only place in Houston that does. Go for the ribs and brisket at Williams, sides are only so-so. Home made deserts are good. It s closed Sunday and Monday so that may affect your choice.
Another one I like that I’ll mention is Otto s, which is reviewed on this site. Before any of the above even existed, Otto s was long considered the best Q in the city limits and it s comfort food to me after 40+ years. I didn’t go for years but Michael Stern’s review posted a year or so ago prompted me to visit it again and find I like it still.
Of the 100s of times I ve been, only once have I ordered anything other than a sliced beef and sliced link sandwich. I load up on the pickles and onions at the condiments bar, have a feast and leave perfectly content with life. BBQ snobs never mention this place any more but I still like it. Go only to the Memorial Drive location, the only place they actually have a pit.
Goode Co. has never been a favorite of mine; too touristy and too much hype, and probably the most expensive cue joint I ve ever been in. Goode Co. is not bad, mind you, and I have no problem with sending tourists there, or for that matter most Houstonians, and I don t mean that derogatorily, skinsfan. It is very consistent and dependable; Jim Goode has far too much invested in his image to let it slip. If you go I can give you an almost 100% guarantee you ll leave with a very favorable impression of Houston BBQ but you will not have had Houston s best [;)].
Thelma s – I ve never experienced nor witnessed the rudeness, but I can believe it from what I ve seen of her on TV. My recommendations: avoid the long lines, if there s a line at 11am as some of the comments on b4-u-eat suggest, go after the midday rush; that s when I always go. It s one thing to stand in line 45 minutes for food, another if you re also treated rudely. I ve never had to stand in a line of more than 1 or 2 people. Best are her ribs and catfish. This is the closest to downtown. All food is served in to-go containers. Her sides are probably the best at any Q joint in Houston.
Luling City Market – Wow, some really positive comments on this thread. I ve had excellent cue there and mediocre cue there. It s not as good as the namesake in Luling but only a handful of places on the planet are and you asked about the best in Houston, not Texas. The mustard based sauce is the real thing; from what I understand, the original owners hired someone away from the place in Luling who knew the recipe. He didn t last long and wasn t welcomed back in Luling for some reason. BBQ connoisseurs/snobs in Houston hold the theft of the name and sauce against this place and look down their noses at it, but the original owners are long gone. They don t keep the pit going all day, so go early. By mid-afternoon the focus is more on the bar, not the cue, the meat has been on the steam table for hours and the best cuts probably already used up; at least that s what I think accounts for the difference. I d say if you can t get there by 2pm, skip it, but that s not a hard and fast rule. Go before noon if you can. Here s a link to an article on the two Lulings by Robb Walsh of the Houston Press, whose book Legends of Texas Barbecue is the best there is on the subject. The book pretty well echos my thoughts on the subject.
On the thing about the sausage: I think they ve changed the recipe at LCM Houston; used to be very good, on my most recent visit, I was disappointed in the texture. They seem to have switched to a very fine grind of meat instead of coarse grind.
By the way, anybody in Central Texas tried the place in McMahan that s mentioned in Walsh s article?
The Travelin Man
I haven’t eaten at City Market in Luling, but have eaten at the one in Houston, and based on everything I have read and heard….it’s not.
We moved away from Houston 20 years ago, so I haven’t a clue about what is there now, but I have eaten at the City Market in Luling, and if the Luling City Market in Houston is anywhere near as good as that one, I would say go there.
Thanks for the info. I will definitely check out your recomendations.
A few thoughts on Cajun/Creole.
I was looking at the categories on b4-u-eat and saw Treebeard s downtown. http://www.treebeards.com/ I ve heard of these places for years but never been so can t make a recommendation. I think it s pretty pricey.
Brennan s of Houston http://www.brennanshouston.com/ is owned by the same family that owns Commander s Palace in New Orleans. This would be a short cab ride from downtown. I used to go occasionally, mostly on the company dollar, but haven t been in many years. I m sure it s still one of the finest dining options in Houston. Very, very expensive.
I see Goode Co. Texas Seafood is listed as Cajun. I wonder why they call it Texas Seafood [?] I think of it as more southwestern than Cajun and have liked everything I ve ever had there. http://www.goodecompany.com/goodeRestaurant.aspx This is one of my favorite seafood places but it s slipped beneath my radar and I haven t been in a few years. All the Goode Co. Restaurants are kind of pricey. It s not a coincidence they are all located convenient to some of the priciest enclaves in Houston, River Oaks, West U, the Memorial Villages.
I m working on some other Cajun/Creole recommendations that are more down-on-the-bayou plus bbq. There s one place I ve been wanting to try for years but never gotten around to, Big Woodrow s on Chimney Rock, just a block or so from Magnolia. I ll try to get over there and report back.
Skinsfan – I noticed the Treebeard’s website calls it southern but I’ve always heard it was cajun; the menu lists several cajun dishes; however, note the hours, this is a downtown lunch spot during the week only, the reason I’ve never been there and you won’t be able to unless you’re in town on Friday or Monday. Forget the comment about priciness — I had gotten it mixed up in my memory with Trulucks Stone Crab.
I need to update my profile. I moved to the Houston area about a year ago. I did eat at Big Woodrow’s 2 or 3 years ago. I remember the crawfish being good, but that was all my group ordered. I have never eaten at the Ragin Cajun.
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