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Smokie's Barbecue is in a Gas Station, and Like All Gas Station Cuisine It's Delicious

Even natural light can't save my photography, people.
Even natural light can't save my photography, people.
Gavin Cleaver

What's better than shack barbecue? Nothing. Or so I thought, until I was tipped off about the next level up of ridiculousness: Gas station barbecue. That's right. Smokie's is a full-on barbecue restaurant, with a menu that if anything is a little too big, inside a gas station (or a petrol station, really, because "gas" isn't a liquid like you guys have been trying to convince me, it's a state of matter that is, well, gaseous. Petroleum, now, that's a liquid).

Gas station cuisine -- what gives, guys? I can commonly find Mexican restaurants inside gas stations. I mean, a barbecue one is a new one on me, but I can't say I'm totally surprised. What next? Steak places? Seafood? All-you-can-eat Brazilian barbecue? Where does it end? Is there anything less appropriate to put in a gas station? I mean, probably a small hospital, or a petting zoo, but gas and cuisine -- it's an awful combination.

It's not like the gas station is called "Gas Barbecue" or anything like that, although that would be an awesome name. It's just a Quick Stop in North Dallas with a smoker outside. Arriving on a cold, grey, windy day that reminded me of home, our confusion did not abate as we entered the place to see that, not only was there really a good quarter of the station given to over to a totally independently-run barbecue place, but that there was no seating of any kind, inside or out.

So, upon ordering one of the generously-portioned "family packs," we realized that the two-man operating team smokes everything off-site. I would guess at their house, but it could be anywhere for all we know. It could be a brothel, or a bathroom, or in the middle of Dealey Plaza.

Anyway, they have to bring it in, because the lady we ordered from quickly placed a call, and new food was delivered while we waited. We got a pound and a half of meat (brisket, ribs, sausage, obviously), two big sides, and six dinner rolls for in the region of $30. That's not a terrible price, but given the surely unimaginably low overheads that come from operating this place they could trim that price down a little. At least they've eliminated the whole "eat in or take away?" dilemma, and that's three seconds I am now free to enjoy. Value.

So, we sloped off to a nearby park to enjoy what essentially amounted to a barbecue picnic in the freezing cold. I have already given the immensely saddened Richard my coat, but she was still frozen. Sitting there in a T-shirt in the cold, eating brisket, I have never felt manlier. And it's good stuff. Really very good. A bit tough, but still excellent, and most of all extremely smoky. It didn't taste like a brothel, or a bathroom, or Dealey Plaza, which probably tastes like sad with some conspiratorial notes. All smoke flavor, all the time. I was a particular fan of the sausage; unlike a lot of barbecue places it is crumbly rather than a solid pureed whole, and I prefer that.

I don't understand how this whole deal works, everyone. How can a gas station/brothel-smoked barbecue place be so demonstrably better than a huge operation like Babb Bros? How does that even make sense?


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