Bob's Texas BBQ is a respectable-sized shack located on the corner of State Street and Gardener Lane in Boise (or Garden City, depending on who you ask). I drive by the shack on my way to and from work, to and from the gym, to and from the grocery store...the worst is early in the morning when I'm on the way to work and they've got the smokers going full blast. It's maddening. So, you may ask (or may not, doesn't matter), why has it taken me so long to get around to trying them? Well, I really don't know. I have excuses, but none of them are that good. And when I realized that, I finally stopped in...
Barbecue can be kind of pricey, and I've been burned a few times when trying new places, so I played it safe the first time and got a couple of sliders (or "Buckaroos", per Bob's menu), one chopped brisket and one of my beloved pulled pork.
|Chopped Brisket Buckaroo|
|Pulled Pork Buckaroo|
Now obviously I liked the sliders enough to go back to Bob's (hence the "first time"), but the surprise was the brisket. I love pulled pork to the point where even mediocre pulled pork still makes me kind of happy. The pulled pork here was good stuff, not my favorite in town but a very solid runner-up nonetheless. I don't have the same kind of luck with brisket. It always seems to be under-smoked, over-seasoned, too dry...you get the idea. From this little sandwich alone, I was very impressed with the quality of the brisket at Bob's. It's easily one of my favorites around here, if not THE favorite.
When I returned, I decided to shoot the works on their Cowboy Combo: two ribs, choice of chopped or sliced brisket, pulled pork, two sides, a drink, and a couple of slices of Texas toast for good measure.
|The Cowboy Combo|
There is a covered seating area in front of the shack, and I would have loved nothing better than to take my food straight there once it was finished being prepared. To be honest, I felt the smell from the nearby smokers would enhance the experience. It wasn't to be this time, however, so home I went.
|Smoked Garlic Smashers|
The sides at Bob's are pretty straight forward: beans, cole slaw, potato salad or chips. I hate barbecue beans, and come on, chips? Really? So, my side choices were obvious, were it not for the fact that they were out of potato salad. Luckily for me, they had an off-menu special side to compensate. Smoky smashed potatoes. And yes, that's as good as it sounds.
|Carolina Cole Slaw|
The cole slaw was, well cole slaw. It wouldn't win any awards, but it was very good. Honestly, at this point I just wanted to get to the meat of the meal (pun most definitely intended).
|Left to right: sliced brisket, ribs, pulled pork|
You may have noticed that this entry isn't as eloquent as some I've written. You could argue that it's because my heart hasn't been 100% in this blog thing lately, or that it's been a while since I visited the place so the details are fuzzy. You'd be wrong on both counts. See, good barbecue overloads my brain. It becomes all about pleasure to me, and trying to explain it is as fruitless as trying to explain why you like chocolate, or your favorite scent, or your favorite style of music. Words just don't suffice. For the next twenty minutes or so, I was lost in a smoky, meaty haze. Meat with sauce. Meat without sauce. Meat on bread with sauce. Each variation had its own virtues. The pork was, once again, really good. The ribs so delectable that I stripped the bones nearly clean. I had opted for sliced brisket instead of the chopped this time, not only because it was different from what I'd had before but because it would allow me to experience it in a purer form. Best choice I made that night by far. Not dry, not too juicy, complimented well by the sauce but absolutely delicious without it. In my experience, every barbecue joint does one thing better than they do everything else. As far as I'm concerned, brisket is king at Bob's.
So there you have it. Friendly staff, amazing smells, delicious food. I think next time I'll try one of the brisket sandwich options. Or maybe just buy a pound of the stuff to go. And they are one of the places that does a "burnt ends" dinner, which is pretty awesome if you haven't had it. Hopefully I'll be able to get potato salad this time. But on the other hand, who needs it?
Final Grade: A
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