In Pleasanton, it's McBee's, meat and mesquite.
Last week's much needed (but untimely) rain meant my plans to my take my mom out to dine under the stars changed.
So, because we were going to visit Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, near Elmendorf, we decided to take a short detour to Pleasanton on our trip home.
McBee's Barbecue had been recommended to me a number of times, but I'd just never made the trip. I'm pretty sure I'll go back, though.
The place, not much more than a shack, had the right patina of smoke, grimy signs, flash of neon and more smoke from the brick pits next to the restaurant. In the steady, gray rain that smoke seemed like a promise.
We sat down to a platter of meat that was far too much for two women, even two women with very healthy appetites. Much of it was packed and taken home to my husband, who hadn't been able to make the trip.
So, we had sausage, sliced brisket, and pork ribs. The ribs were a cut well above average. (There used to be another barbecue joint on Austin Highway that we hit just right one time, that had the best-ever pork ribs ever, at least in the San Antonio area.)
Good ribs can almost bring a tear to the eye. There is that fresh crackle from the fat, while the thin layer of meat close to the rib is tender and suffused with smokey flavor. McBee's uses mesquite, which isn't always the first choice of pit smokers. But it sure works for McBee's.
The brisket was good, with a thick, blackened crust from the hot fire keeping the inside moist. The sausage was your basic country sausage, salty and porky and very good. The barbecue sauce was a less-sweet version, which I always appreciate, even though I don't use much of it.
The sign says it all
We stuck with simple side dishes, a good potato salad, pinto beans, some very tender, baked cheesy potatoes (I recommend you get these if you just have to have potatoes). We downed our barbecue with the requisite sliced dills, onions and white bread on the side. Cold A&W Root Beer was the drink of choice, but there was also plenty of Big Red in the cooler.
We couldn't face dessert, though it was offered. We left with our take-out and drove over to Poteet. Too bad, we'd missed the strawberry fest by a week, and didn't see anyone selling fresh berries roadside. It would have been a nice ending to a rewarding day trip south.
309 2nd St.