Wednesday, December 21, 2011
DALLAS: Sammy's Bar-B-Q
2126 Leonard St
Dallas, TX 75201
Open M-Sat 11-3
Update: In my architectural life, it often comes up that I'm a BBQ fiend. These friendly conversations quickly devolve into "Well, have you been to...?" More often than not, Sammy's Bar-B-Q in Uptown comes up. I gave Sammy's a curt review last go 'round, so I wanted to give them another shot. I had also been given a tip that you could make a meal of their onions rings alone, so at least I'd have that. I work in the Uptown neighborhood, so having a quick option for barbecue would be a good thing. In this selfish endeavor to validate a convenient lunch spot possibility, it was easy to see why so many folks enjoy this joint. It's all about effort.
The brisket could have used more seasoning and smoke, the slices of pork were pleasing but dry, and the ribs were mushy, but none of these meats were bad. One thing they know at Sammy's is that a good sauce can cover up many of these ills, so they don't skimp on the effort with the sauce. This sweet tomato based concoction tastes of vinegar and meaty drippings. It's kept warm in glass bottles, so feel free to take one to your table and lather it all over the plate, especially the bread which is Texas toast that is buttered and toasted to order. I also didn't mind waiting around a bit for those onion strings (they need to be circular if you want to call them 'rings') because I knew they were frying them to order. While I waited, I enjoyed a freshly cracked bottle of St. Arnold's root beer poured into a chilled glass. This is one of my top three root beers, so good choice Sammy. When the steaming basket of fried onions arrived I quickly dug into the salty mess with a fork, and slathered more of that sauce on for good measure. That cheesy potato casserole that everyone raves about also didn't last long on my plate.
The bottom line here is that Sammy's cares about ALL of the food they're serving, and that's easy to distinguish from countless other barbecue meals I've had around the state that are accompanied only by products that are available straight from a tub or a can. At Sammy's they also make the effort to use a real wood smoker (a J&R Lil' Red Smokehouse) fired with nothing but hickory. How they get so little smokiness into the meats with this equipment is beyond me, but they're trying.
2008: "The sides are great." I've heard this description of Sammy's countless times in Dallas, and that usually gets it into every top BBQ joint list in Dallas. You cannot survive on sides alone, and this is where Sammy's falters to all but the chopped beef sandwich crowd. A quick explanation of a chopped beef sandwich: Take the best edge pieces of the brisket with all the good crust, chop it up and add sauce, then place on a buttered bun. With those ingredients, my 4-year old niece could put out a decent product. The key to good que lies in making the sliced brisket and ribs shine without the sauce, and this is Sammy's downfall. The ribs had decent flavor from the salt and pepper rub, but they were devoid of smoke flavor. The fat was well rendered, but the texture was a bit mushy. This is caused by cooking them far ahead and letting slabs of ribs sit in a warmer for hours covered in plastic wrap. The brisket was trimmed of nearly all it's fat and crust, so there was only a hint of a smoke line, and no delicious crust. Instead it was too-tender brisket with nothing but roast-beef flavor. But hey, the sides were awesome.
Posted by BBQ Snob at 8:09 AM
Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.
-THE PROPHETS OF SMOKED MEAT
-THE PROPHETS OF SMOKED MEAT