An Englishman Gets to Know Peggy Sue
Peggy Sue BBQ is the easiest barbecue restaurant to chant the name of. That is an undeniable fact. Go ahead and try it. I'll wait here.
Catchy, isn't it? With an immediate marketing advantage like that, it's a wonder this place is so deserted of a chilly Monday evening. I also see from the frankly paltry research I always conduct (I have to stay stupid somehow, Dallas) that this place has been quite heavily decorated in the past, with awards and what not. Well then, it must be time to investigate how PEGGY SUE! BARBECUE! is doing these days.
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! BARBECUE! 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 they serve 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.)
I want to finish up here by posing a question. Do places choose to specialize in ribs or brisket, or is this just an accident? In my hilariously short experience, a place either has good ribs or good brisket (Pecan Lodge being a notable exception.) PEGGY SUE! BARBECUE! had great ribs. The brisket was kind of dry. If a place does a good rib, the brisket will be kind of an afterthought. Lockhart and Salt Lick had great brisket, wasn't so fussed on the ribs. Is this something about the process? Can someone tell me about this without me actually learning something? Daniel Vaughn (namedropping now, that's what this blog has come to) told me that if I started learning about barbecue I wouldn't be funny anymore. The joke's on him because I was never funny to start with, but if someone could find a way to impart knowledge on me, sate my curiosity and have me not actually learn anything, I would be much obliged. Much obliged. (Editor's note: Gavin's too old to start attending DISD. Besides, if he used the phrase "frightfully tender" there, those kids would kick his ass.)
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Dallas dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.