Facing out onto a bleak parking lot and just the right side of the tracks, Baker's Ribs is in direct competition with Mama Faye's for the Deep Ellum barbecue coin. Thing is, neither of them seem to be doing particularly good business. Baker's had but one other family in there when I went in (my family consisting of me, my stepson Lewis, and our web editor Nick, who is trying to get Lewis to call him Uncle Nick to absolutely no avail). The other family seemed more interested in the free ice cream.
I got a half pound each of sliced brisket, sausage, and ribs, and unceremoniously plonked it in the middle of the table. There's a reason all my photos are out of focus - the meat is RIGHT FREAKING THERE, and I already know I'm bad at photography, so what's the point?! You've all seen meat before. Imagine what a plate of barbecue looks like right now. There, we're done. I never need to photograph anything again, unless it's extraordinary, like if some nutcase put brisket in a pie. More on that in a minute. First, I have to mock Nick some more.
Photography is even worse with Nick "Food Porn" Rallo beside me, offering me tips garnered from using his shattered iPhone. I spent an entire meal (North Main BBQ) the other week, after he told me my photos are always out of focus, photographing him and shouting "IS THIS IN FOCUS NICK?" I don't respond well to criticism a lot of the time.
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Anyway, while Lewis and his Uncle Nick were distracted by discussing the finer points of the plot of Zombieland, I got down into this stack of barbecue, and I am pleased to report that Baker's Ribs is all-round pretty darn good. Let's go in ascending order of quality. The ribs, presumably belonging to Mr. Baker, are good but not great, the brisket is pretty darn good actually, as long as you get a fatty piece, and the sausage is divine.
Ooh it snaps and it's moist and it tastes so good. It's a little spicy, a lot smoky, and I need more of it. Brisket pies, however. Well. I have not encountered these beasts before. It's a fried pie with delicious smoky brisket in it. Baker's Ribs seems to double as some sort of pie shop, with a cornucopia of artery-clogging delights available to you. I got back from a visit to the pie counter to find Nick trying to persuade Lewis to put barbecue sauce on his ice cream. This is why he doesn't get to be an uncle.
Minus the pies, this place is just a good to very good barbecue place, but with the pies it's quite the experience. I loved my brisket pie. It was much like a British pasty (google it), only limp and soggier and containing meat considerably more expensive than whatever it is we shovel into pasties. I shall name it Brisket Flaccid Pasty. They are cheap, and delicious, and you know what? It's barbecue on the go. For the busy consumer. You can eat it with one hand while reading the newspaper. It's a breakthrough in barbecue science. Go there.
As an aside, who takes the Deep Ellum Barbecue Crown, readers? I am swinging slightly towards Baker's Ribs, on the strength that their brisket is better, but both are very good. Either way, people need to go to these places more. We can't just be left with whatever the fuck that "put a curry in a cone for laughs" place is. Sort it out.