Sunday, June 19, 2016

Corkscrew BBQ - Spring

[I visit Corkscrew Barbecue more than any other barbecue joint on my list and enjoy introducing people to my local favorite. I’ve visited Corkscrew’s new location with first-timers a few times over the last month. I was shocked when I realized that in all of my visits, my wife had never actually visited Corkscrew herself.  I thought it would be fun to turn this long past due review over to her and let her describe her first visit to Corkscrew Barbecue. And along the way, I'll butt in with some notes in blue.]

Behind every true BBQ Adventurer is a cast of characters and accomplices. And on this trip, that included me, his wife! You didn’t think he could sample all of the meats on his own did you?

This week I am coming out of the background to share my view of a recent BBQ Adventure. I usually don’t know what venue he will ask me to try with him or what grade level we are about to taste. My only hesitation to accompany him on an adventure is when we visit a place with no set reputation and I worry about wasting a meal on less than “B” level BBQ and am left unsatisfied with my meal and wanting our 40 plus dollars back. This weekend, however, I knew exactly what we were going to get and was quite excited to finally try a local favorite in their new home.

Corkscrew BBQ started out as a trailer behind a shopping center on Sawdust Road in the South Woodlands/Northwest Spring area. We discovered this local gem before Texas Monthly named them one of the tops in Texas.  Even before earning that title, the line for lunch required a significant time investment.  As such, I never had the luxury to leave my office to accompany my husband there for lunch. He would graciously bring me brisket, ribs, and brisket tacos to try, but you know the meats never taste as good as when it is freshly sliced before your eyes. Even so, I have been a huge fan of Corkscrew only eating it as a take away meal or at various BBQ festivals.

When Corkscrew moved even further away to its new brick and mortar location in Old Town Spring last October, I thought I would continue to have to rely on festivals and leftovers to get my fix. However, we finally had a weekend at home and set out early one Saturday to visit the new locale.

On this day we drove into Old Town Spring to find a Crawfish Festival in full swing. We were worried that Corkscrew would be inaccessible due to the hordes of vehicles parked on every street, but we managed to maneuver the historical community and festival pedestrians to find parking on the road bordering Corkscrew. As we stepped inside, we were met with the beautiful aroma of smoked meat. No hint of stinky crawfish in this place! We found out place at the back of the line, which had nearly reached the entrance.

We discussed how much brisket, ribs and pulled pork we should order, and eventually settled on our amounts. I also insisted on sides because I feel I need a palate cleanser between my meat courses. When we got to the counter however, we had to recalculate as they still had a few beef ribs available [beef ribs are only available on Saturdays]. Pulled pork was pitched to make room for a honking, glistening, Flintstone sized beef rib. In addition to the beef rib, we ordered pork ribs and a mixture of moist and lean brisket. We completed our order with some mac-n-cheese, cole slaw, sweet tea and some Oak Cliff craft soda.

The crowd was turning over quickly so we easily found a seat despite it being peak lunch hour. We were shortly beckoned to the pickup window where our meats were waiting.


As much as I enjoy side dishes, they were quickly forgotten as we dove into the brisket and ribs.  The brisket was smoky with perfectly rendered fat per usual. The lean slices had a dark crust with a uniform quarter inch layer of fat along the slices.  The moist slices were a bit more flavorful thanks to the delicious layers of fat.  The pork ribs were simply seasoned and had a firm, but proper chew. There was a lot of smoke on the maroon colored ribs.  The main event, though, was the beef rib. It was delicious. It glistened with tender, moist fat and the meat easily pulled from the bone. The beef had a deep smoky flavor.  It was well worth the purchase. The meat today certainly met the high expectations we hold Corkscrew to.

Corkscrew BBQ's spread of brisket, pork ribs and a big ol' beef rib.

[A few editor's notes on the meats that we didn't order today: Pulled Pork has been a staple of my Corkscrew order from the beginning. It is, in fact, my favorite example of the meat that I have found. The pork is smoky with a pleasant amount of bark mixed in. The mop is less vinegary than most southern takes on this meat and it gets a nice boost from some subtle spiciness. The flavors complement each other and the meat is perfectly moist. The sausage is a very flavorful choice as well. It has a nice garlicy taste with a touch of appropriate heat from the jalapeƱo and black pepper.  I’ll also add that the turkey is a great option.  We aren’t talking deli meat here – this turkey is the real deal. As for the barbecued chicken, which like the beef rib, is only available on Saturday – I’ve heard great things, but actually have yet to try it.

Corkscrew also carries a menu of interesting combination sandwiches and tacos.  The tacos are a hit and come dressed with their popular green chile ranch. To round out the menu, Corkscrew offers baked potatoes and, believe it or not, a salad option.]
Four meats at Corkscrew BBQ: Brisket, ribs, sausage, pulled pork.
Another recent Corkscrew visit including orders of sausage and pulled pork.


Corkscrew's new location has a large, fenced in outdoor area leading to a wraparound covered porch. Many of the outdoor fixtures are re-purposed items from their previous location on Sawdust. There is plenty of space to sit outside to eat or wait for your posse. The interior is quite large as well.  The line inside was separated from the dining area by a waist high partition so we could spy on the diners’ plates without crowding their space. To the right of us was a wall sized chalk board with the day’s menu and room where patrons could draw and write messages to distract from their hunger pangs.

The exterior of Corkscrew's brick & mortar location

Though the ordering is done at the counter and you retrieve your own tray, Corkscrew employees roam the space to clean tables and offer drink refills as necessary. We found the employees all to be very friendly and helpful.

Corkscrew's inviting interior

The parking area is not paved, so be careful when you venture there not to park in mud if it’s been raining recently. You may have to drive around the block to find parking or use one of the nearby lots (some are pay lots).

We were very pleased with our trip to Corkscrew’s new locale. The new space allows them to bless more people a day with their delicious BBQ. The only down sides I see is that they aren’t closer to my home and their parking lot cannot contain the crowds they draw. Corkscrew is definitely the main event in Old Town Spring these days.


As I mentioned in my intro, Corkscrew is one of my favorite spots in the area and there's a reason I use it as a springboard to introduce newbies to really good Texas barbecue.  Corkscrew really does everything well.  And they are so consistent with their barbecue that regulars can see a picture of their meats and immediately identify it as a Corkscrew product.

The brisket tends to be the big draw at Corkscrew (deservedly) and Saturday patrons are spoiled by top quality beef ribs. However, I will reiterate my love for their Pulled Pork - don't forget about this oft overlooked meat on your visit to Corkscrew.

Address: 26608 Keith St, Spring, TX 7737
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 11AM - Sold Out

*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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