A good brunch offers a hodgepodge of traditional breakfast and lunch options, a boon for the indecisive among us. A hearty brunch is the first step to curing last night's hangover, and the fact that drinking is encouraged at brunch gives you a chance to take the edge off the previous evening's debauchery. Plus, the mid-day weekend naps after an epic brunch binge are legendary, especially when you can shelve your adult responsibilities for a while and sleep the day away.
Over in downtown Garland, Intrinsic Smokehouse and Brewery is jumping onto the brunch bandwagon, which is such an obvious fit that we wish we'd thought of it first. We like beer, and Intrinsic has 30 taps of the stuff, including its own brewing projects, a mix of other local breweries and collaborations of the two. We also like barbecue, and the smoked meats served at Intrinsic are some of our local faves.
But it's not enough to start the smoker early, pull a pint of beer from the tap and call it a brunch, so Intrinsic is serving the barbecue brunch of our alcohol-soaked dreams: chicken-fried brisket with burnt-end gravy. Go ahead, take a moment to wipe the drool from your chin and collect yourself. Intrinsic's brisket has gone chicken-fried, which might be the most Texas thing ever.
By just looking at $14.50 of happiness in front of us, it becomes obvious that Intrinsic has put a lot of thought into the dish. The brisket is a healthy-sized slice, at least an inch and a half thick, and coated with a perfect crunchy batter that somehow manages not to be greasy. A scoopful of skin-on mashed potatoes props up the slab of battered beef on one end, and the whole mess gets a generous slathering of peppery burnt-end gravy.
It pains us to nitpick in the face of such creativity, but we have two complaints. First, we wish there was more burnt-end goodness to the gravy. If we're going to do such vulgar damage to our arteries with a dish like this, we want it to be really profane with giant burnt-end pieces in our gravy. Second, the brisket gets a touch dry from the frying process, but that's an issue easily corrected by the gravy.
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Under the perfect fried crust is perfect brisket bark, and the beefiness of the brisket isn't lost in the breading, either. Order a dark beer and pretend it's coffee, and all of your brunch dreams will come to life.
For now, Intrinsic is only offering chicken-fried brisket for the remaining Sundays in May. We've been fans of its beer and barbecue selections since its inception, and it's a treat to see bonuses like the brunch menu that give us another reason to stop in.
Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery, 509 W. State St., Garland