Good to Go is a column where our food writers explore Dallas’ restaurant scene through takeout orders, delivery boxes and reheated leftovers.
On first thought, a barbecue restaurant would be perfectly primed to switch to carryout-only business. Hell, some of our favorites started as little more than food trucks, so wrapping up meats to go should be old hat.
But good barbecue draws crowds (or at least it used to), and of course now crowds are out and social distancing is in. Plus, everyone knows the best brisket slice is the freshest one; the problem with leftover barbecue is it's never quite as good as when you're eating fresh off the cutting block.
Slow Bone has found a way around both those problems. At Slow Bone today, rearranged tables barricade off the dining room. Ordering now takes place on the opposite side of the rail from the cutting counter inside, making sure a safe distance is maintained.
Truth be told, Slow Bone's barbecue and sides are just as good at home as they were in the restaurant, unless you're beholden to eating off Slow Bone's divided plastic cafeteria trays. If you're not eating right away, though, or stocking up on a few meals worth of barbecue, you should get your meats vacuum-sealed, which is a game-changer in take-home barbecue.
Almost every Slow Bone meat can come vacuum-sealed, even the fillings to make your own Pit Sammitch at home. Best of all, Slow Bone drops all the reheating knowledge you need on a little card in your carryout bag (and if you lose the card, you'll find the instructions on Slow Bone's website).
All you need is a pot to boil some water and a little bit of time. Bring the pot of water to a boil, turn off the heat, drop in your sealed pouch of meat and cover the pot.
From the instructions, turkey breast, pork ribs or sausage should sit for 15 minutes, while pulled pork goes for a half-hour. In our case, our pound of brisket ($24) bathed for 90 minutes, although we were hungry and pulled it out a bit early. Think of it as sous vide, but without having to spring for the sous vide or circulator.
It's a brilliant method to reheating barbecue meats. Instead of drying out, the vacuum-sealed bag keeps all the juicy flavor in place, but just as hot as you'd get at the restaurant. We could barely tell the difference between Slow Bone brisket at home and eating it in our kitchen.
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The only downside we see is that Slow Bone's vacuum packs of meat are only sold in 1-pound packages — an ambitious meal for one, but perfect if you share your shelter-in-place with family.
Naturally, we added some sides for $7 a pint, because Slow Bone's sides are some of the best in the business, and praline sweet potatoes and roasted squash travel extremely well. There's even reheating instructions for the sides on your handy card, too.
Slow Bone, like many small restaurants, is trying to adapt to a new way of doing business. Don't get us wrong, we love the barbecue cuisine, but we miss the social aspect of barbecue, too. We may not be able to gather around a table with our friends right now, but Slow Bone's vacuum-sealed meats give us a needed taste of normal.
Slow Bone, 2234 Irving Blvd. (Design District). 214-377-7727. Curbside available. Open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.