Cheap Bastard

Big Al's Smokehouse is a Little Cheesy

I wanted a light lunch the other day, so I went in search of barbecue. Felt like a two-meat kind of day, ya know?

I heard Big Al's Smokehouse was a thing to behold, so it was ironic to me that I was having a hard time seeing it as I passed auto dealership after dealership on Inwood Road. And then this sign screamed "FINALLY OPEN!" and the smell of glorious smoked meats hit me. I had arrived.

I asked for the Big Al's Sandwich: any two meats on a po' boy bun. My weapons of choice were sausage and chopped beef, sauce-smothered. Guy behind the counter was like, "You want cheese onnat?" I said, "Sure." And he slaps two slices of Kraft American Cheese on top. Ew. I wanted to yell in his face, "You just cheese raped my barbecue sandwich! I said I was OK to put cheese on it, not The Orange Plastic Death! I buy that stuff for enemies or to use as coasters, but never, ever, ever to eat!" But I said nothing for fear of sounding un-American. "What kinda cheese were you expecting? Chinese?" My poor sandwich. I recommend no cheese, if that's not obvious. Keep your barbecue simple. Pure. Un-cheese-abused.

Next, was the buffet of side options. I forgot to look at the specials, so I just winged it and got potato salad assuming that a side and a sandwich plus a drink would be less than 10 bucks. Assumption wrong. All told, my order was 11 bucks. But you can order cheaper if you're smart and not so mad at your dirty cheese sandwich that you can't see straight. While it might be tempting to order only the sandwich and a drink, I'd recommend against that. My sandwich wasn't very big, and if I hadn't ordered the potato salad (which was standard, not stellar) I would've still been hungry. Instead, try their daily lunch specials for $7.75 (Friday's chopped beef brisket sandwich plus two sides).

The barbecue here was tasty, but for my money it wasn't as good as other standbys in town, such as Sammy's or Mike Anderson's. But I'll go back because the service was fantastic and they've got the requisite barbecue place ice cream machine so you can free soft-serve yourself until you're giddy. Watch for smokehouse burps later, though—weapons-grade meaty dairy smoker's burps.

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Alice Laussade writes about food, kids, music, and anything else she finds to be completely ridiculous. She created and hosts the Dallas event, Meat Fight, which is a barbecue competition and fundraiser that benefits the National MS Society. Last year, the event raised $100,000 for people living with MS, and 750 people could be seen shoving sausage links into their faces. And one time, she won a James Beard Award for Humor in Writing. That was pretty cool.
Contact: Alice Laussade

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