On East 11th St, as you drive past the throngs of semi-crazy meat fanatics waiting for (in my and countless others’ opinions) the best barbecue money can buy, you’ll come across a lonely trailer set up in an empty grass lot. Artistically painted on the trailer you’ll find a curious
word name: Micklethwait.
Jeff met me at Micklethwait for a mid-week lunch. This March day was cold, wet, and windy, which is great for eating barbecue inside (though we sat at picnic tables outside), but makes things a little dicey for smoking meats. The weather kept most people away, so we had our pick of the menu. I snagged the last monster beef rib and paired it with pulled pork and brisket. Along with the meats you get home-pickled pickles and sauce.
The lean brisket was almost as tough as saying “Micklethwait”. But when you caught one of those great edges laced with fat, you can see what could have been. I left the overly fatty pieces behind. The pulled pork fared a little better. Soft, almost too soft, it was flavorful and different. Nothing like what you’d find at, say, Curly’s Perfect Pig. Not by accident I’d use generic adjectives like good and interesting. If actions speaker louder, I will say I ate all of it.
Putting mediocrity aside, the giant beef rib was more than just visually stunning. As the last rib of the day, it came out impersonating a huge burnt end. For those unfamiliar with
real Texas BBQ, that’s a great thing. The crust on the outside acted like a coat of black, peppery armor protecting the smokey, juicy interior. Each bite of the rib (which fell cleanly off the bone in one piece under its own weight) had that salty, spicy, tender meatiness that all great barbecue should have. It both made up for and magnified the disappointment I found with the brisket, and to a lesser degree, the pulled pork.
I’m certainly giving the benefit of the doubt to Micklethwait for the cold, windy day. I know other pitmasters who have closed up shop on days like this. The weather conditions made managing the pit temperature nearly impossible. Too hot and the brisket dries out; too cool and the fat doesn’t render right. Obviously I have no experience smoking hundreds of pounds of meat, and it is a craft that can only be mastered through repetition and practice. I can say I hate writing anything less than stellar reviews. For that, on a warmer, more BBQ-friendly day, I hope to revisit Micklethwait Craft Meats.