Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ribmasters - Whitehouse

BBQ is hit or miss in East Texas but I was hopeful when I came upon this promising local chain in the Tyler area.  Ribmasters originally started in a trailer in 2004 and has now expanded to three locations in the area.  I visited the original brick and mortar location in Whitehouse for an 11:00 lunch.                          


I went in with ribs on my mind but was still surprised to see a Beef Rib option.  I ordered a two meat plate with pork ribs and brisket then tacked on a beef rib (the perfect side-order at a Texas BBQ Joint).  The price was a bit steep at $26.28 (before tip).

Ribmasters ribs and brisket

Ribs clearly take the center stage here, both of the pork and beef variety.  The pork ribs had a sweet, candy glaze on them.  They had a decent tug and any smoke they had was overpowered by the sugary sweet glaze.  There was a slight spice to the ribs, which I attributed to the rub, that provided a nice subtle compliment to the glaze.  Though not my preferred style of ribs, they had an interesting flavor and were actually pretty good.

The beef ribs were the star of the day.  The beef was moist with well rendered fat and good smoke.  The ribs had a strong black pepper rub that formed a nice crust around the juicy meat.  The rib was smaller than some of the monsters you see around the state, weighing in at about half a pound.  It was not a perfect beef rib, but easily one of the best I’ve found in the region.

I do not walk into a joint called Ribmasters expecting a strong showing from the brisket (especially when said joint is located in East Texas).  Meeting expectations, the brisket I was served was poor.  It came out completely trimmed (duh, East Texas) with a scarcely noticeable smoke ring and no noticeable flavor.   It had a decent consistency and was not dry.  It was clearly Texas brisket, it just wasn’t good. It’s obvious that the brisket is the step-child of this establishment, which is a shame as it is the king of Texas BBQ.


There were two sauces on the table, one labelled for beef and one labelled for pork.  The beef sauce was smoky but still did not aid the brisket’s flavor.  The pork sauce was a little more tangy, but unnecessary as the ribs held their own.

The marquee outside advertised “All You Can Eat Ribs” which originally caused me concern.  I had flashes of heat lamps and buffet lines.  That was not the case as the interior was simple, sit-down service.  Still, the all you can eat option was not that appealing to me.  Besides, with the sweetness of the ribs, I think the three I got as part of my plate was just about all I needed.  Service was prompt and East Texas friendly.  


Overall it was an enjoyable stop.  Maybe not worth a trip on its own but clearly a welcome option for locals or those passing through.  Just be sure to skip the brisket and go for the ribs as the name suggests.

Address: 803A State Hwy 110N, Whitehouse, TX 75791 
Phone: 903-839-0530 
Hours: Monday - Thursday 11:00 - 8:30; Friday - Saturday 11:00 - 9:00


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*All Grades Are Based Solely on the Quality of Texas BBQ Offered at the Joint. We Aren't Looking for Burgers or Catfish!

My Grading Scale:

A = This is some of the finest BBQ you'll find anywhere. It is worth a roadtrip in itself along with any required wait.
B = This is very good BBQ, even if it is over an hour away, consider making the drive.
C = This is just average BBQ but it's worth a stop in a pinch.
D = This is a poor example of Texas BBQ. Even if it's the only place around, skip it. Apologize to any non-Texans that have eaten here.
F = This is not only a bad Texas BBQ, it is probably not suitable for human consumption.

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