Calibrating for ’Cue
With so many great barbecue places around, why on earth was Chow, Baby chowing down at Railhead Smokehouse (2900 Montgomery St.)?
Chow, Baby is going to claim the Twinkie defense: After a few hours of shopping with some pals at the mammoth Montgomery Street Antique Mall, Chow, Baby was crazy-hungry enough to gobble up anything within reach. Even mediocre barbecue that’s bafflingly popular. This place wins awards!?! Must be all the sports-blaring tvs. Or the veranda. Yep, that’s a very nice veranda.
As often happens with Fort Worth Institutions, Chow, Baby’s visit also served the broader purpose of recalibrating the taste buds. Chow, Baby has had so much fabulous barbecue in the last few months (Wilson’s, Mom’s, and Texas Pit spring immediately and fondly to mind) that it forgets what “average” really is. But because of that Railhead visit, Chow, Baby was able to appreciate Adam’s Rib (1506 Miller Av.) more than it otherwise would’ve. On a recent weekday this scary-outside, homey-inside joint was jumping with Eastsiders enjoying huge, meaty, beautifully charred pork ribs ($10.95/lb) served cafeteria-style by the quintessential bossy grandma. (Chow, Baby set a new personal record for reciting “yes ma’am”: seven times in 15 seconds.) Correction: Chow, Baby was the only patron splurging on the ribs; most were going the price-deals route, ordering either the lunch special plate (thin-sliced brisket or peppery sausage with two sides, $4.99) or the small chopped sandwiches at – get this – three for a dollar. Chow, Baby got a bag to go and found that Adam’s Rib isn’t losing money on this deal – there was maybe a tablespoon of meat and sauce on each regular-size bun – but what meat was there was still tastier than Railhead’s.
And after a Railhead visit, Jon’s Backyard Bar-B-Que (4601 Broadway Av., Haltom City) is heaven on a plate. Heartfelt thanks to reader Tom for the tip, though Chow, Baby could probably have just followed its nose: Owner/stoker Jon Anderson keeps the front-yard pit smoking with brisket, sausage, ham, turkey, and more (all $3.50/sandwich, $6.50/plate, $8.50/pound). Chow, Baby’s favorite (so far) is the lean and tender pork loin, tied with the dry-rubbed pork ribs. The deal here is the ongoing “Today’s Lunch Special”: a sliced- (more like slabbed-) brisket sandwich, the meat piled an inch and a half high, plus two sides and a drink ($5.75). Even bottomless-pit Chow, Baby couldn’t finish off the sandwich, tasty as it was, with a rich, thick, tangy-peppery sauce. Really good sauce. Man, it’s good.
And oh, those sides. Chow, Baby sampled every one, all the while peering for a bossy grandma in the back, because it couldn’t believe that an early-middle-aged white guy cooked these up. (Turns out Mrs. Jon is co-cook. Don’t know if she’s bossy.) All were doctored just right: peppery pinto beans, molasses-sweet baked beans, ham-spiked green beans, creamy mac & cheese, fresh-made cole slaw. For dessert it’s homemade cobbler, of course ($1.50), wonderful peach and even better apple, with perfect crispy-edged, gooey-centered crust. If you want, you can even dine on the – well, “veranda” is a stretch, but there are benches outside. Better, though, to stay in and enjoy Jon’s congenial company. He’ll even let you watch sports on his tv, if that’s what you need to appreciate barbecue.
Contact Chow, Baby at firstname.lastname@example.org.