Friday, December 26, 2014

Wagon Wheel BBQ - Ozona

There is not a vast barbecue selection in the region that Ozona occupies.  In fact, there is very little of anything in this region.  I was admittedly a bit hesitant to stop at Wagon Wheel BBQ originally but I was determined to find some BBQ in this stretch of West Texas and this re-purposed gas station seemed to be as good a stop as any.


I selected a simple pairing of sliced brisket and pork ribs from the menu that also included sausage and chicken.  The meat was pulled from a hodgepodge of warmers adorning the counter and served to me along with a couple of sides and a free helping of peach cobbler.

Two meats and some sides at Wagon Wheel BBQ

To start off, the ribs certainly looked the part with a dark, flecked skin covering a thin ring of pink.  The smoke on these ribs was not immense, but the flavor was clearly influenced by the wood – oak – a surprise for this area.  The ribs were a bit soft, but were still able to hang onto the bone and carry a bit of a chew.  The meat held good moisture throughout and the simple rub showcased the pleasing wood flavor on the bark.  These ribs were well prepared and are perhaps some of the best in this stretch of the state.

The thick slice of brisket surprised me.  The brisket was cut from the fatty end and remained untrimmed.  This is not a bad thing but is unheard of in some stretches of the state.  Unfortunately, there were still some gobs of fat that were not as buttery soft as you would hope for.  I trimmed those pieces manually and shoved them to the side.  Like the ribs, the brisket had traces of smoke and the influence of oak was clear.  The meat held a pleasing moisture and the bark carried a simple rub with a high proportion of thick black pepper.


Wagon Wheel is a true old gas station, complete with the key hanging on the wall for the bathroom out back.  There is some seating inside the old convenience store, but at first glance, it does not appear to be very inviting.  The service however is incredibly friendly and completely accommodating.

Wagon Wheel BBQ sits in an old Service Station in Ozona.

The sides were pretty standard and not much to speak of.  The bread however, was homemade and well above what you expect at your typical BBQ stop.  The peach cobbler was also pleasing and a nice complement to the meal.

The sauce, served on the side, is your run of the mill, smoky tomato based mixture.  I did not care for it.


Overall, this was a nice find in West Texas.  The ribs were good and even the brisket was above average.  If you are traveling to or from the far stretches of the state, this old gas station is a nice place to fill up.

Address: 1908 Avenue E, Ozona, TX 76943
Phone: 325-392-5401
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 11AM - 8PM; Sunday: 12PM - 6PM

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Broussard's Links + Ribs - Beaumont

Broussard’s Links + Ribs BBQ is a local landmark for Beaumont residents.  It has been in business for 30 years and has been in its current location for the last 20 years.  Broussard’s is by no means a secret, and even if it was, the bright green and yellow of the building would seize the attention of any passersby.

I learned a long time ago that just because a place has commendable longevity or an impressive local following, it does not guarantee a good meal.  Sometimes the current proprietors no longer run said joint like grandpa used to or perhaps the locals have just grown accustomed to sub-par barbecue.  Broussard’s had all of the accolades but it was time to hear from the meat.


A lengthy queue had already formed for lunch by the time I arrived.  I joined the queue and, taking note from the others in line, proceeded to place my order at a window, then waited at a second window to pick my meal up.

Broussard’s is known for their links and, as the sign can attest, their ribs.  I ordered both of these meats along with a helping of brisket.  The meats were prepared and delivered in separate containers.

A delicious garlic link from Broussard's

The link was my starting point as it is Broussard’s most famous meat and was the recommendation that had me standing in line in the first place.  These housemade links are all-beef and are a unique style you find in East Texas.  They are not your typical sausage and are not boudin, but fall somewhere in between.  The thick casings suggest the links be eaten in typical boudin fashion, squeezed from the skin, but the flavor inside is unique.  The delicious meat has very little of the spice you might expect but packs a huge heft of garlic.  Drippings from the greasy links mix the with the sauce that they were served in.  It is a perfect example of an East Texas Link and quite a satisfying one at that.

Saucy and inconsistant links from Broussard's

The ribs were served in the thin housemade sauce that Broussard’s applies to all of their meats.  The ribs were suspiciously hot and I had to wait for them to cool down to not burn my hand.  As I began eating the ribs, I was surprised by the inconsistencies from rib to rib.  The meat fell clean off of the bone on the majority of the ribs, though some hung loosely.   Some bites had appropriate chew while other were unrelentingly tough, still others were like stewed meat place around a bone. The flavor was not bad but the inconsistency from rib to rib was odd.

Broussard's brisket slathered with sauce

In this area, brisket is a wild card and when I saw my beef coated in the deep maroon sauce, I was worried.  Beneath that sauce, however, I found a thin smoke ring bordered by a nice thick, firm crust.  The brisket was actually pretty good, particularly for this area.  The crust was the most flavorful part, showcasing the smoke that had worked on this meat.  The sauce had already covered the rest of the slices and though it did not carry an overwhelming flavor, it still overshadowed the smokiness of the meat with a tomato tang.  I did not dislike the sauce but I always prefer the meat to stand on its own.  However, I can imagine this brisket could dry out without the aid of the thin sauce.


As I mentioned above, the sauce is thin and used liberally.  Thankfully it’s a less intrusive sauce than most I have encountered.  The sauce is tangy but the sweet flavor of tomatoes is also evident.  By my definition, Broussard’s is a “slatherer,” but in this situation I get it.  I would prefer the meats served without the sauce but this deep maroon concoction does complement the meat rather appropriately.

The unmistakable green and yellow building that is Broussard's.

Broussard’s is about as divey as it gets.  You park in a gravel parking lot and order from a window of a green and yellow shack.  There is on-site dining that appropriately consists of a covered picnic area, though most orders are taken to go.


The links at Broussard’s deserve the top billing and should not be sharing the marquee with the ribs.  The links are the star that drive people to this joint.  They are so unique that you will find yourself craving these delicious garlic packed links after your first taste.  It is very hard to find a substitution for Broussard’s offering.  The brisket does fine in its supporting role but the ribs flopped.  With the pride Broussard’s has in the ribs, they may be worth a hesitant second try.

The popularity and longevity of Broussard’s in the community; I get it.  They have hooked the locals with these links, ensuring a steady flow of patrons and plenty of word-of-mouth referrals.

Address:2930 S 11th St, Beaumont, TX 77701
Phone: 409-842-1221
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 10:30AM - 8PM

*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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