March 1st, 2011

Joe’s Barbeque Company: Meats, Sweets and Texas Treats

In 8 Words: Nolan, Ryan, Brisket, Hickory, Smoked, Alvin, Barn, Neon

One more trip outside the Loop. It won’t be the last. Last week I took my pilgrimage to Joe’s Barbeque in Alvin as I do once or twice a year when my family from the North East visits. The barn-like building with its ridiculously bright neon sign can be seen from at least a half mile away. The smell of that sweet, sweet smoking Texas Hickory reaches you before the tinge of neon. Recollection of all the smoked meats I’ve tried at one time or another—not to mention the potato salad and all-you-can-eat cobbler to cap off already plump food babies—those are more then enough to get my taste buds anxious.

Before some of you get ornery about the distance, you should know that I’ve taken your complaints into account. If you think the distance trumps the promise of supremely good barbeque, then maybe you need a couple more reasons to visit the Alvin area—which I shall give you. Honestly, Joe’s should be enough. But I get it.

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Standing in line on the groaning wood floors, my order flip-flops from beef ribs to sliced brisket. Over and over, and over, again. Thankfully there’s an option for such indecision: I’ll get both. Two Meat Plate. It’s right on the menu. With other items of note ordered in my party (pork ribs, overly-loaded baked potato, sweet potato fries and smoked chicken) there will be scraps to be had, to savor, to recount to you.

Our orders are taken swiftly as we slide along the long stainless steel counter. Some folks are handed their plates immediately. Others are given a number. We gather our forks, knives, onions, pickles, and, last but not least, warm bread. My stomach growls ferociously all the while. We take our plates and drinks out of the main room to the quieter confines of the side room. Signed Nolan Ryan memorabilia and Texas-themed trinkets adorn the walls, leaving almost no space bare.

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We quell our hunger as we wait for our food by enjoying the warm white bread topped with onions and dipped in barbeque sauce. It’s one of man’s simplest creations and still better than so many of the more complex ones. As the last piece of bread is eaten, our food arrives. My plate of sliced brisket and beef ribs is smothered in coleslaw and potato salad. Just as it should be.

The beef ribs are tender and juicy with a crisp outer layer from hours of hickory smoke. The coleslaw is slightly more sweet than I usually prefer, but not too heavy with vinegar—delicious. The potato salad is more goop than actual potato, not the standard I usually hold Joe’s to, but I suppose I can overlook it this one time. The brisket, ah, the brisket, like the ribs, is tender and juicy with that crisp outer edge. It’s lean too. For my money, I don’t know that it gets any better than a marble-free, juicy slice of brisket.

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I didn’t save any room for cobbler and ice cream. No matter, I’m willing to eat to the point of an uncomfortable posture in order to sample that treat. I find myself at the cobbler station, once again torn between two equally delicious foods. Blackberry or peach? Rather than greedily choose a combo as I did with the meat, I go all in with peach. One scoop of peach cobbler, crisp crust on the top, soft inside, covered in a scoop of vanilla. Heaven. I can now claim this visit as yet one more win for Joe’s Barbeque.

Now, as promised, if Joe’s is simply too far to drive for merely one meal, they deliver. Yes, to your door. Check that out. Or, make a day of it. Skip over to Froberg’s Farm for some delicious seasonal produce. The weather is right. What else? How about the Nolan Ryan Center, the GTC Birding Trail, or Bayou Wildlife Park. All good options to pair with the mighty fine ‘cue at Joe’s.

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Where -  Alvin [1400 E. Hwy 6] (Map)
What
– Slow Smoked Meats. Steaks of the Chicken Fried Variety. Coleslaw. Potato Salad. Nolan Ryan’s Face.
Wear – Wear what you like—just know that if Nolan Ryan sees it and doesn’t approve, you’re in for IT.
How Much – Roughly $30 for two platters and cobbler.
Hours – Sunday-Thursday 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM and Friday and Saturday 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
WebWebsite

— Richard

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