First Look

Bet the House, Denton's Newish BBQ Spot, Is Selling Out Fast, and for Good Reason

The Five Commandmeats Lesson #1: "sold out" signs at BBQ restaurants are what distinguish the truly hungry from the peckish.

Bet the House BBQ is sold out. The sign on the front window says so in clear, authoritative lettering. Having never let a sign deter me before (stop signs? more like, what signs?), I try the door. It's unlocked. Inside there are a few tables that run along the long counter where brisket is sliced and fixins get fixed. Behind the counter stands a woman who informs me that she has to get started on preparations for the next day, but that there's just enough BBQ left for a small order.

The Five Commandmeats Lesson #2: The BBQ lady will do you a solid if you are nice.

My disregard for signage firmly reinforced, I size up the menu. Bet the House sells their meat by the half pound -- $7.50 for brisket, $6.75 for pulled pork, $6.25 for turkey, $5.50 for sausage, and $12 for a 1/2 rack of pork ribs -- or by the plate.

The Five Commandmeats Lesson #3: Thou shalt not order by the plate when thy can order by the half pound. This rule shouldeth be used whenever applicable. If thyne Olive Garden were to allow ye to order lasagna by the half poundeth, then by all means, doeth it.

There's also the usual array of sides -- potato salad, coleslaw, beans, etc. -- for $2.50. Additionally, diners can order sandwiches with either one, two or, yes, three different kinds of meat.

In fact, I did order three different kinds of meat -- but not on a sandwich. The brisket was cut thickly from the fatty end and had a minimal smoke ring. It possessed the kind of meaty, manly essence that reinforces gender stereotype threats. "Damn, this is beefy!" I thought, as my confidence in my math abilities died. I also tried the pulled pork, which was pleasantly tangy, and the pork ribs, which were prepared with so much sugar that the now ubiquitous term "meat candy" seems only fitting.

All in all, pretty solid meat efforts for a place that's only been open four months. But what about the sides? said a few, primarily anemic people. Sides at BBQ joints traditionally fall into one of two camps: afterthoughts or physical barriers.

The Five Commandmeats Lesson #4: Having problems keeping the sauce on your brisket from running into your ribs? Build a carbohydrate blockade out of the nearest potato salad.

For what it's worth, Bet the House is making an honest effort at sides, banishing mayonnaise laden potato salad from whence it came. In place of Hellman's held together with starch, they've devised a bright, mustard-intensive salad. Alternate between bites of that and the brisket, and occasionally stab a bit of coleslaw onto your fork for good measure. The slaw is southwestern-inspired, studded with corn kernels and dressed in a light, chili-powder flecked dressing.

The Five Commandmeats Lesson #5: When the sides are good, eat them. Yes I know there's meat. Eat them.

Sure, Texans are picky about their barbecue, and they have every right to be. But I for one don't have many complaints about a BBQ joint that keeps on serving even after they've sold out.

Bet the House BBQ 508 S Elm St Suite 109 Denton, Texas

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Kathryn DeBruler
Contact: Kathryn DeBruler

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