What's better than shack barbecue? Nothing. Or so I thought, until I was tipped off about the next level up of ridiculousness: Gas station barbecue. That's right. Smokie's is a full-on barbecue restaurant, with a menu that if anything is a little too big, inside a gas station (or a petrol station, really, because "gas" isn't a liquid like you guys have been trying to convince me, it's a state of matter that is, well, gaseous. Petroleum, now, that's a liquid).
Gas station cuisine -- what gives, guys? I can commonly find Mexican restaurants inside gas stations. I mean, a barbecue one is a new one on me, but I can't say I'm totally surprised. What next? Steak places? Seafood? All-you-can-eat Brazilian barbecue? Where does it end? Is there anything less appropriate to put in a gas station? I mean, probably a small hospital, or a petting zoo, but gas and cuisine -- it's an awful combination.
It's not like the gas station is called "Gas Barbecue" or anything like that, although that would be an awesome name. It's just a Quick Stop in North Dallas with a smoker outside. Arriving on a cold, grey, windy day that reminded me of home, our confusion did not abate as we entered the place to see that, not only was there really a good quarter of the station given to over to a totally independently-run barbecue place, but that there was no seating of any kind, inside or out.
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So, upon ordering one of the generously-portioned "family packs," we realized that the two-man operating team smokes everything off-site. I would guess at their house, but it could be anywhere for all we know. It could be a brothel, or a bathroom, or in the middle of Dealey Plaza.
Anyway, they have to bring it in, because the lady we ordered from quickly placed a call, and new food was delivered while we waited. We got a pound and a half of meat (brisket, ribs, sausage, obviously), two big sides, and six dinner rolls for in the region of $30. That's not a terrible price, but given the surely unimaginably low overheads that come from operating this place they could trim that price down a little. At least they've eliminated the whole "eat in or take away?" dilemma, and that's three seconds I am now free to enjoy. Value.
So, we sloped off to a nearby park to enjoy what essentially amounted to a barbecue picnic in the freezing cold. I have already given the immensely saddened Richard my coat, but she was still frozen. Sitting there in a T-shirt in the cold, eating brisket, I have never felt manlier. And it's good stuff. Really very good. A bit tough, but still excellent, and most of all extremely smoky. It didn't taste like a brothel, or a bathroom, or Dealey Plaza, which probably tastes like sad with some conspiratorial notes. All smoke flavor, all the time. I was a particular fan of the sausage; unlike a lot of barbecue places it is crumbly rather than a solid pureed whole, and I prefer that.
I don't understand how this whole deal works, everyone. How can a gas station/brothel-smoked barbecue place be so demonstrably better than a huge operation like Babb Bros? How does that even make sense?