Highway BBQ Robbery

Just a quick note about “Sacramento” magazine’s recently published list of best restaurants in town: A) Please note that this is mostly a reader’s list of “bests,” and therefore represents the eating habits of sacmag’s demographic, namely upper class women over the age of 35. (In much the same way that SNR’s lists always slant towards bars and restaurants within a 4 block walk from their midtown offices) B) The editor’s, bless their hearts, have tried to pepper the list with “editor’s picks” spread around the “greater Sacramento area.” C) While this list identifies a number of chains as bests (Ruth’s Chris, BJ’s Brewhouse and Mimi’s Cafe), the number of chains referneced actually is down from previous years which means that either local restauranteurs are doing a better job getting the word out, or that the sacmag readership is getting more adventurous in their tastes. D) Texas West BBQ is NOT the best BBQ in Sacramento, it’s not even the 5th best. It’s not good. Try JR’s, Everett & Jones and Sandra Dee’s. Texas West is simply the only BBQ in town in affluent areas and therefore always gets the nod from sacmag’s readers. Do not be fooled.

11 thoughts on “Highway BBQ Robbery”

  1. Sac-eats – Thems is fightin’ words. It doesn’t get any better than the Texas West baby back and chicken basket with texas toast and fries.

    Also, Texas West’s Fulton and Arden location ain’t what I’d call an affluent area, and the Roseville location has only been open for a year or two.

    JR’s is just OK. Sandra Dee’s is excellent, but is still a smidge below Texas West. Haven’t been to Everett and Jones, but their rep is certainly very good. I’m baffled, befuddled and bedazzled as to how you can say Texas West isn’t good.


  2. It’s not without research that I’ve made my final decision. I’ve been to Texas West about 4 or 5 times because I live right near the Fulton location, and not once was my meal ever “good.” It was “adequate” or “decent” on occasion, but never as good as bbq should be.
    And any piece of Fulton Ave is nicer than the South Sac locations of E&J and JR’s, and don’t even mention the fact that Sandra Dee’s is within spitting distance of Dorthea Puente’s place.


  3. Texas West BBQ on Fulton is fair on a good day. I focus on BBQ pork, by the way, as that is by far the most difficult to do well. So if you think chicken is BBQ, then keep thinking Texas West is worth it. I too live close enough to TW – Fulton to wish it were even adequate, but it is not worth the time to even drop in on the way by. I have been hunting for a good BBQ place to go to, but still have not found it. I have family in North Carolina, and spent several years exploring BBQ joints while there, and miss them all. Nothing yet in Sac compares, but have not tried the Sandra Dee’s yet, or E&J’s.
    I have sauce shipped from NC, and try to get by with my own, but cannot reproduce the slow smoke flavor of tender pork found in any NC BBQ hole.


  4. Okay, alright. Clearly, you are all calling me to settle this dispute. I will try to find the time to go there, though I trust Mr. Eats’ opinions highly on these matters, and sacrifice myself to possibly inerior barbecue for the sake of settling this dispute. Once I have given word on the subject, there will no longer be any need to discuss it further. I can’t promise that I will be able to do it, but if I do, you will never need to worry again.


  5. Any one tried newish: “Po’Boys Sports Bar & Grill” BBQ joint in Folsom? I met the very nice owner and family but have not had the opportunity to check out the food. Would love a review before I spend my pay check.

    Also, I like Texas West. It is nothing if not consistant. I always get good food (I always get the beef BBQ burrito) at a reasonable price, fairly quickly, and I have had the same experience at all three locations (Fulton, RV and F-Town). The amount of variation beetween service, food and cleanliness for a small time, multi-unit-rig, is pretty good by my standards. Plus they make their teenage staffers wear that silly bandanna around their neck. How bad do their friends make fun of them?


  6. Jesus Christ, BJ’s got named best Brewpub? Well, at least they have stopped singing the praises of the undrinkable swill and overpriced food at Brew-It-Up or the tepid yuppie-juice at Pyramid.


  7. I’m heartbroken that Nationwide Meats didn’t get any love on the Sac Mag poll. Their French Style cheeseburger is the best in Sac.


  8. I think I’m in the minority for not loving Ford’s. It just doesn’t do it for me. I know that I need to check out Squeeze Inn. Their schedule never seems to work with mine. But I still stand firm that I love Nationwide Meats, but maybe I need to test a few more burgers before my decision is final. Thanks for sharing your list 🙂


  9. If JR brought that garbage to Texas and tried to pawn it off there as TX BBQ he would be lynched.

    I have lived in the hills west of Austin for many years, but first became enthused by bbq pork ribs at Everett & Jones when she opened in Berserkeley in the early 70’s. At the time, I was just about the only white boy who would dare go in there. But having been raised in the north midwest, I had only been exposed to the gawdawful bbq they present there, loosely known as Chicago ribs. And I was interested in tasting the soulfood version. I was an immediate convert. Back then I could only do the medium hot sauce. Now I can do the man’s version.

    The south generally takes far more pride and care in its bbq presentation than do the yankees or the others. If you drive into TX on a summer’s day you will smell it — sweet mesquite smoke with wafts of meat flavor and sauce. You can smell a good bbq joint a half mile away.

    As far as TX bbq goes, the meat, whatever it is, must be cooked over coals, usually mesquite, very slowly so it falls apart fairly easily. It must also be noticeably smoked. At bbq joints worth attending you can see them removing it from the smoker apparatus and they slice it in front of you — not like JRs, where it emerges from secret places and tastes suspiciously like chemical mesquite. The 2nd most important item after slow smoking is the sauce. Texans compete on sauce. It is a matter of pride and seldomly has anyone relinquished a recipe. Whereas JR sauce tastes and looks like tomato soup base with some bland oddiments in it, real TX bbq sauce will be thick, rich, and at least slightly sweet. The base will be tomato, maybe even ketchup, but never runny. It has to be thick to stick. To that is added all kinds of other flavors — Coca Cola is one; the phosphoric acid taste is craved all over the world, as the Chinese well know. Molasses is often added. Charred mollases gives excellent caramelization to meats. Or beer. And a number of herbs are added — garlic, onion, hot pepper, ad infinitum. Good bbq joints will always have some version of Louisiana hot sauce on the table — NOT tobasco, as something is not right about the taste of it. The slaw will be fresh and crisp – not like the day old lardy tasting stuff made from wilting produce at JR’s. The potato salad tends to be on the mushy side, but fresh and tasty. The cornbread, properly done, is made of coarse ground corn meal — not that cakey stuff out of a box at JR’s. And no bbq joint around Austin would dare have a photo of GWBush on the wall — or Fox fake news on the tube.

    O and good bbq joints have even quality. One I visit regularly (Donn’s in Oak Hill — no frills, a workin man’s place) always has had lean pork ribs (not a plate of blubber) and very fresh sides.

    I come to Sac for extended periods and realize it is a gastronomic wasteland. But sometimes I get certain cravings and lose my mind, as I did when I decided to go risk JR. I will not return (the tables are sticky, too, like they never get washed), but intend to try the rest of these probably fake bbq joints around here, so watch out.

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