An Englishman in BBQ Sauce

An expatriate Brit learns to love Texas, one pound of brisket at a time.

Then we get to the price. The brisket is $15 a pound! It's the same cost as going to Lockhart Smokehouse! Let's refer to Gavin's Law. In all those other examples, the point of the low-end option is that it's one-quarter of the cost. If a beautifully prepared, fresh-ingredient beefburger was the same price as McDonald's, why the hell would you ever go to McDonald's? And so my problem with Dickey's. If I can get brisket which, two months on, I still have dreams about in which I am caressing the brisket and it whispers to me, "Gavin, I love you and I only want for you to be happy," why oh why oh why would I get a fast-food version that is the SAME COST?! I don't understand.


Peggy Sue BBQ

6600 Snider Plaza, 214-987-9188

Having to stand in line for Hard Eight's brisket is almost enough to make a Brit impolite.
Gavin Cleaver
Having to stand in line for Hard Eight's brisket is almost enough to make a Brit impolite.
Omi's do-it-yourself grilling is terrifying for the unprepared.
Gavin Cleaver
Omi's do-it-yourself grilling is terrifying for the unprepared.

First off, what on earth is this place doing in University Park, next to boutiques, furious SUV drivers and the stench of old money emanating from SMU? It has denim on the wall for goodness' sakes. Denim. I'm not sure that's even a design choice; they probably needed a quick fix for the collapsing wall. It's more out of place than a liberal Englishman in Texas during election season. They could probably get a blog out of it.

So, yes, Peggy Sue is older than old school. It is from a time before schooling (which, if you're in DISD, is the present day). It is dark, the booths are small, the walls are covered in black and white pictures, music from the '50s and '60s is forever on the stereo, and it serves root beer in glass bottles. If the restaurant was a person (and I'm not suggesting it is, even though corporations are apparently people now), it would probably regard the civil rights movement as so much newfangled bunkum. It also serves really quite delicious meat.

Getting a three-meat plate of brisket, pulled pork and sausage, and a rib plate of baby-back and normal between the three of us, we easily had enough food even without the four generously sized sides (I recommend the cheesy squash casserole as something a little different from the endless parade of mac and cheese). There was even a small jug of warm, tasty barbecue sauce. It was quite delightful. The pick was the baby-back ribs, though, by far. They had a lovely sauce, were frightfully tender and all-round awesome. The pulled pork was also notably smooth, and when frantically mashed into the barbecue sauce (I suggest getting a 12-year-old high on root beer to perform this task for you) formed some sort of delicious lumpy meat gravy sauce, the invention of which I am claiming right here and now. (I am aware people might have done this before, and I don't care, that's over now. I am the Bill Gates of delicious lumpy meat gravy sauce, but I do need a partner who is good at naming things to come on board.)


Omi Korean Grill and Bar

2625 Old Denton Road, Carrollton, 972-245-3565

When my stepson and I were shown to our seats, I noticed that the center of the table was a suspicious-looking silver disc. Brushing this aside as "something Korean," I quickly ordered two all-you-can-eats, specifically brisket (all you can eat brisket!) and barbecue pork (all you can eat pork!). Before the meat arrived an array of side dishes in small bowls was brought to the table. I can't even hazard a guess at what they were. Most places, even when something is unfamiliar I can at least take a stab ("that looks like warm meat"), but here I was surprised when things were cold, when things were vegetables, when they were (presumably) fish. I had no idea what was going on.

Finally, to ease the mental anguish I was experiencing, huge plates of meat were brought out. The server leaned over, clicked a button next to the disc, and switched on what I now realize to be a gas hob. I noticed the meat was raw. Cogs started to turn, slowly, but there was definite turning occurring. I have to cook my own meat? On a gas hob? What element of this is barbecue? Bemused, but trying to rein in my surprise so as not to leave my stepson as scared as I felt, I put on the brave face of many a parent. "No, Lewis, this is perfectly normal. This sort of thing happens all the time. You kids are so funny!"

But then I was handed a simple pair of kitchen scissors by the server. Are you for real? I am going to chop up and cook my own food? I thought this was America! Where I was free to go to a restaurant and not cook! Is this meant to be entertaining? It's a single gas hob! I have no knife, just scissors! I felt like the newly divorced father in a tiny apartment entertaining his reluctant child for the weekend. "Let's cut our food up with scissors! Won't that be fun! Tell mummy I have knives and that I miss her. No. That sounds bad. Tell her I miss her. Forget about the knives."

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31 comments
FarleyFlavors
FarleyFlavors

'In Britain, we treat each other with a lingering sense of suspicion, and if someone tries to talk to one of us, we normally take it to mean they are either insane or want something'.

Absolutely true for where you hail from and absolutely false for the North and Scotland. Don't tar us all with the same brush, you fat wanker.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Still can't wait for the curry spinoff.

Joshstruckoutagain
Joshstruckoutagain

Gavin, keep on keeping on..I very much enjoy hearing about the Great State through the eyes of a Englishman.  You need to head down to Lockhart,Tx and trudge through Black's, Smitty's and Kreuz..maybe stop by Franklins on the way back.  (Franklins is the finest brisket I've ever had, and I've had a large herd of brisket inhabite me intestines over the eons.)

WestTX_BBQ
WestTX_BBQ

@BBQsnob When reading my inner voice was in a British accent the whole time.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Please don't tell us your middle name is Ray or Wayne, because that picture is, well... unsettling.

Gavin Ray Cleaver? Very catchy - in a serial killer sort of fashion. (The actual cleaver is a nice touch, though. Very cheeky.)

Keep up the good work, and good call on the idea to review BBQ as a novice. It's fun to get a look at our culture from your POV.

EliotLandrum
EliotLandrum

Keep it up, sir! I get a hearty laugh and amusement out of your posts. And I'm usually in complete agreement. Love it.

EnglishmanInBBQ
EnglishmanInBBQ

@nickrallo I hope as the architect of this insanity you are proud of yourself... you've collectively lowered Dallas' IQ

kenlowery
kenlowery

@rusty_shackles @jessnevins @jason1749 Rusty are you down for this, I have a four-door sedan and can drive.

kenlowery
kenlowery

@jessnevins @rusty_shackles @jason1749 MABOT. MEAT AND BEER ORGY TOUR. Maybe it needs work I dunno

kenlowery
kenlowery

@jessnevins @rusty_shackles @jason1749 I am OK marking off a week next summer (or spring or fall or whatever) to do this.

kenlowery
kenlowery

@jessnevins @rusty_shackles @jason1749 We need a Meat & Beer Orgy Tour of Shiner, Dublin and Lockhart.

kenlowery
kenlowery

@jessnevins I haven't been baaaaaackkkkkkk #shameonmyhouse

kenlowery
kenlowery

@jessnevins @rusty_shackles @jason1749 To be clear: it's Lockhart Smokehouse (with Lockhart sausage) IN DALLAS, not the town itself.

kenlowery
kenlowery

@jessnevins @rusty_shackles @jason1749 I was a little overwhelmed.

kenlowery
kenlowery

@rusty_shackles My brother swears by Off the Bone but I haven't been yet.

kenlowery
kenlowery

@rusty_shackles Lockhart is GREAT. I went there for the first time when @jason1749 is in town. Didn't get the sausage, stupidly.

kenlowery
kenlowery

@rusty_shackles Sonny Bryans is kind of inevitable if you live here, but yeah it's our go-to if we don't want to drive a lot.

DallasLockhart
DallasLockhart

@rusty_shackles @kenlowery check out our Facebook page if you need more #Qporn !

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Big Kitty saw your picture and she's fallen head over paws in love.

ewanmacdonald
ewanmacdonald

As a fellow expat from the British Isles this had me nodding in agreement throughout. Perfectly said. Y'all here in Texas are just fuckin' brammer, by ra way.

cohenesque
cohenesque

@Dallas_Observer c'mon, you made that byline up.

OakClifflady
OakClifflady

You need to go to Odom's BBQ and try their ribs.  There is one on Singleton Blvd in Dallas and one on Oriole Blvd in Duncanville.  Great ribs and the best fully loaded baked potato.

DallasLockhart
DallasLockhart

@RoadrunnerEats Isn't it!?! and it was such fun to shoot

kenlowery
kenlowery

@DallasLockhart we are in line!

RoadrunnerEats
RoadrunnerEats

@DallasLockhart though I expected @EnglishmanInBBQ to look more like Hugh grant and less like @gordonkeith

kenlowery
kenlowery

@DallasLockhart You too. We're all very sleepy.

 
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