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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Rudy's (San Antonio)

I am a barbecue aficionado. Before my "awakening", I used to think that Tony Roma's was the best place for ribs. But then I found out that true barbecue does not involve boiling or steaming meat to tenderize it before slathering it with sauce and throwing it on the grill. True barbecue comes by slowly cooking meat in the heat and smoke of a wood fire. Sauce, if it is to be served, should be on the side so as not to hide any imperfections but complement the meat's smokiness.

I like to think that I can turn out some pretty good ribs, which rival or beat any restaurant ribs, including specialty barbecue joints. That could be easy to do here in the south SF Bay Area, but Texas is a different story. Texas is one of the hotbeds of barbecue.

One joint that was recommended to us by a friend is Rudy's. My uncle, himself an experienced barbecuer, claims they make the best brisket. So while we were in San Antonio we decided to visit Rudy's for a late lunch / early dinner. We chose to go to the location near SeaWorld.

There was quite a crowd enjoying the barbecue oustide on the tables, and a nice line queued up inside waiting to give their orders. They cook in smoke from oak wood. I noticed three pits in operation - one seemed to be the main cooking pit while the others were holding the various meats in foiled pouches. The cashier would take the order, then one of the pit crew would reach in to one of the pits, pull out and unwrap the meat onto the chopping board, then slice away.

Their menu hanging up over the pit. Notice that the price for lean or moist brisket is the same - $10/lb.

We got a half pound of brisket, a half chicken, and a pound of pork ribs, plus some sodas.

The brisket had a nice smoke ring, but somehow not much smokiness. I also thought it was not moist enough. Definitely needed some sauce, but the sauce didn't match very well.

The chicken was very tasty and moist, and went perfectly with the sauce.

The ribs were so-so. The had a good amount of smoke, and black pepper, but I wouldn't call them awesome or anything. We definitely felt that I make better ribs at home.

The side of creamed corn was great, but the pinto beans nothing to shout about.

Overall, I'd say that Rudy's was a miss for us. We won't go back.

More pics from our Texas trip on my Ball of Dirt journal at



Jay said...

Nice post, Nate. Too bad about the negative outcome. I'm opposite. After moving to the Northwest from alabama I just weasn't happy with any BBq at all until 20 years later when I quit being lazy and learned to replicate the food of my childhood. Now, knowing I can have what I grew up on almost any time I want I can enjoy almost any Q around, so long as it ain't complete crap.

Jay said...

BTW, Nate, can you tell me how to go about creating a link so readers can click on my pic and view a larger version? Do I have to upload my pics to some other website or is it easier than that? Feel free to post your reply on my blog. (like I need to give you permission)