About 2 years ago, my family moved from Austin, Texas to Meridian, Idaho. It was a good move for us in most ways, but if there are two things we miss terribly about Texas it is the music and BBQ . . . and by "BBQ" I mean brisket.
When we first moved to Texas in 2001 and started going to the likes of Rudy's, Mueller's, The Salt Lick, and the County Line, I never ordered brisket. To me, BBQ was ribs - dry rubbed or dripping with sauce - or pulled pork on a sandwich, such was my introduction to southern BBQ by my deep south friends in Washington, DC. But Texas isn't the deep south (it's Texas), and BBQ in Texas means, among other things, brisket - slow smoked and crispy at the edges, plump and dripping with juice. Cut across the grain, it should just about fall to pieces (as Patsy Cline once said about a man - clearly she hadn't had brisket) when you pick up a slice. You can put some sauce on this amazing piece of smoked beef but if it's done right you'll hardly notice if you don't.
At first, living in Austin, I could take or leave a trip to get BBQ. And then one day, my husband took me to Mueller's and told me to order the brisket and to get it "moist."
Well, put a fork in me. I was done.
I never ordered another rib - dry rubbed, short, baby back, or otherwise. I came to crave brisket even more than my husband, who had previously been the aficionado
. So when we moved to Boise in July of 2004, we were salivating for a place to get good BBQ. And we were pretty much left to just salivate, because let me tell it is hard to come by in this town.
And then a friend told us about Roadhouse BBQ in Eagle, a bedroom community of Boise, like Meridian, and right next door. We walked in the door, and the aroma that greeted us almost brought tears to my eyes. It looked the part of a roadhouse (without the grime), but the true test would be the brisket. I ordered mine "moist" or "with the fat," picked some sides, grabbed a lemonade and barely made it to the table before digging into the blackened exterior and juicy
red (red, not pink - well-smoked meat has a reddish hue to it) interior of the brisket on my plate.
My husband would have to tell you exactly what the expression on my face was, but I believe my eyes rolled back in my head, my eyelids fluttered, and my body went limp as I teetered on the edge of euphoria. We had found it. Brisket. Real brisket. Texas brisket. Slow smoked, crispy at the edges, plump and dripping with juice.
In my not so humble opinion this is the ONLY place to have BBQ in the Boise area. And not just for the brisket. If you haven't quite made the jump yet to real BBQ (brisket), you can still get ribs and pulled pork, as well as sausage (this is another Texas thing I really dig), turkey and ham. (Their
menu is mercifully devoid of CHICKEN!) You can choose from various traditional BBQ sides, such as beans, potato salad, red potatoes
slaw, turnip greens, sweet potatoes
, black eyed peas, green beans, and cucumber and onion salad. I've had the beans, the red potatoes
and the cucumber salad and I love them all.
But the food isn't the only thing to love about Roadhouse - the original Stevie Ray Vaughn concert posters on the wall, the giant photos of Caddo
Lake and bluebonnet fields. Signed photos of Pat Green and Robert Earl Keen (both have eaten at Roadhouse and sung its praises). The Texas music they keep pumping through the speakers. The garage doors off the main dining room that are opened on nice evenings. And finally, but far from least importantly, the Shiner Bock beer. God Bless Ross and Polly (the owners - who made their way up here from Texas, via Louisiana) for the Shiner Bock. If you haven't had a bottle(they'll serve it to you in a glass, but why bother), get one of those too when you order your brisket. Settle in to a table near an open garage door or under that enormous bluebonnet photo, pick up a big juicy slab of brisket, pretend you are sweating profusely from insane heat and humidity, think about college football, and by gosh you'll be having yourself one true Texas experience.
Go to their website for more information: www.roadhousebbq.com
[One final note: When you go, if you order the brisket, don't be a nancy
boy, pretend you care about your waist line and order it lean. Get it with the fat. This is the way it's done. You're not going to be eating gristle or anything. Good meat has some fat in it. Fat is where the flavor is. And when meat is smoked right, like this is, the fat just melts right into the flesh of the meat and infuses it with all that is good and holy. Trust me on this.]
Labels: Food, Idaho, Texas