Sunday, March 8, 2015

Manny's BBQ & Grill - Conroe

You can learn to manage your expectations about a barbecue joint by simply visiting their website (link).  If the restaurant name features BBQ “& Grill,” it may be cause for concern.  Even more reason for apprehension arises if the site prominently features their chopped beef over the other products.  If the joint does not offer meat by the pound or advertises their plates “topped with BBQ Sauce”, it raises more red flags.  And now the trump card to watch out for: the spot is located in Conroe, Texas.

Obviously, this is not an exact science, but Manny’s BBQ & Grill seemed to check enough of those boxes to cause me to be uneasy on my Tuesday afternoon visit.

THE MEATS

This joint does not sell meats by the pound, so I opted for their “Sampler Plate” which offers the selection of three meats (excluding chicken) along with two sides.  I selected the Texas trio of sliced brisket, pork spare ribs and their homemade spicy beef sausage.

The order was delivered to my table with remarkable speed.  The spread was not an attractive one.

A sampling of meats from Manny's BBQ

My curiosity demanded I begin with the pork.  The so-called spare ribs were served off the bone in irregularly shaped chunks.  The pork had a greasy film on it resulting in the sensation that my tongue was wearing a sweater.  The pork was so delicate that it seemed barbaric to use my teeth on something that could be gummed into submission.  There was absolutely no crust, no smoke and no flavor.  Because of the consistency, I found it hard to picture this dubious meat ever being attached to a bone.  The closest comparison I could draw to this meat is from the time my mother-in-law introduced me to a “turkey loaf.”  I could imagine this being the MRE form of Texas Barbecue.  And if that was the case, our troops certainly deserve better.
  
I moved on to the grim looking sausage next.  I am a glutton for many things and that certainly includes punishment.  As expected, the sausage was dry.  Actually, it was the driest sausage I have ever ingested.  The meat ripped apart like a brittle sponge.  There was some chipotle flavor in this meat, but it had all of the charm of a dried summer sausage that had then taken a few tours of the microwave.

I intentionally saved the brisket for last, thinking it had the best shot of surprising me.  The slices were not overly dry and they carried the flavor you might expect from a gasser.  The shabby crust had no discernible seasoning.  If I had to compliment the brisket, I would say “it’s not too bad.”  "Subpar" might be a better label though.  However, it absolutely blew the other two Grade F meats away.

THE REST

Though the menu offers all meats “topped with BBQ Sauce,” I asked them to hold it for me on the side.  The sauce was not appetizing to me.  Brown sugar seemed to be the main note in this thick mixture.

The vegetables served on the side were pretty basic.  In an effort to provide some sunshine to this entry, I will commend Manny’s on having the option of mashed potatoes on the menu along with the opulent choice of TWO types of gravy.


Manny's is housed in a wooden building with a tin room that stands out from the strip malls on 105.  The wooden motif continues from the outside into the dining area.  The atmosphere hits the country steakhouse vibe that you would find at a Texas Roadhouse or K-Bobs.  Much of this building remains unchanged from its previous life as Bruno’s BBQ (and Luther's before that).

Though it is not apparent from the menu or website, this location is actually an offshoot of Splendora Café & BBQ, an establishment local to Splendora which sits 20 miles southeast of Conroe.  Unlike here at Manny’s, the barbecue seems to have been added as an afterthought to the menu of the popular Splendora location.

THE VERDICT

There are plenty of reasons to keep you away from this joint if you’re looking for good barbecue.  Most notably is the fact that the sausage and pork are among the worst I have ever encountered.  But if you find yourself desperate enough, the brisket here is tolerable.  Still, the safer option at Manny’s is probably going to be from the “& Grill” side of the menu.  Or safer still: Don't ever stop in Conroe for barbecue.



Address: 1101 West Dallas St Conroe, Texas 77301
Phone: 936-494-3510
Hours: Tuesday - Friday: 10:30AM - 9PM; Saturday: 11AM - 9PM; Sunday: 11AM - 8PM

2 comments:

  1. After eating at Manny's my family disagrees with the score. The brisket was juicy and tender, the hot links were good, the half chicken yummy, and the baked potatoes were the biggest we have seen. We have eaten "Q" all over Texas. Go try Manny's for yourself and make your own opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am glad you and your family enjoyed your visit despite my rating. People are going to disagree with me and I welcome that. Thanks for the feedback. It sounds like you had a completely different experience than I did. I may have to give them another chance.

    ReplyDelete



*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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