Left the house at 6:15am in the chill and dark, and saw the big red sun finally poke through low gray-lavender clouds while driving through Thrall.
I had a few minutes of panic when I overshot the not-obvious exit to downtown Lexington and found myself leaving Lexington city limits en route to Giddings. Caught myself before too many miles went by, stumbled into off-the-highway Lexington, and then couldn't figure out where Snow's was.
A nice police officer gave me directions (and a rather bemused glance, since I was there for BBQ at 8am.)
There was a small line. I was the only gal in the line. There was a pro photographer flitting around Tootsie, the pit master, snapping away. The gent two people in front of me looked like he'd slept in a deer blind the night before, and said he had driven in from Fort Worth. (He ordered a combo plate, and $200 of brisket and pork ribs to go.) The gent immediately in front of me was a very large, roly-poly redhead with a thin beard. All the gents in line looked like serious BBQ eaters: big men with ample padding, ruddy skin, camo jackets or slightly worn sweatshirts. No iPods, Blueteeth, Blackberries nor other such trappings.
After drifting into meat heaven courtesy of Snow's two-meat combo plate (yes, Shelly, I did get the brisket, and I got pork ribs -- I stuck to what all those early arrivals were ordering) I was interviewed by a woman who was a stringer for "American Profile" -- she said she just had to come over to interview me, since I looked so happy eating that BBQ.
The BBQ was divine.
I gave thanks to the animals who gave their life to help sustain mine, and to the folks who were non-stop busy behind the counter but still nice as could be, and to Tootsie for her alchemical use of smoke and time on the meat. Sorry S., no pix of the food -- there are others out there who've taken care of that -- but let me tell y'all about it.
The brisket -- it was deeply beefy, touch-tender without being greasy or uneven, had a perfect smoke-induced red ring and a tiny bit of rendered-fat crust. It truly was BBQ apotheosis.
The pork ribs -- oh, my gawd. Possessed of a crisp lacquered smoke-side surface and an ineffably succulent meatiness that melted off the rib-bone. This was the best, the very best, pork I've ever eaten, even folding in NYC downtown Chinese restaurants and my own stuffed pork chops.
Beans were fine -- mixed with bits of sausage and pork, slightly smokey. Coleslaw was a nice counterpoint -- vinegary rather than creamy. Potato salad seemed good too.
But after all that meat, I had a mere spoonful of each side dish.
Since it was clear this was BBQ heaven, I brought home a pound of brisket and a pound of pork ribs -- it's Murry's birthday weekend, and since he has to work I thought he might like the extra treat.
The only thing -- and this may be gilding the lily -- that would make Snow's better would be a good pie or cobbler to finish.
That said, when and if Snow's decides to ship their BBQ, if you can't drive there you really should getcha some.