My Houston BBQ Festival weekend started early. It was 9:30am and I was 6th in line at Zimmerhanzel’s in Smithville, TX. There was a slight scent of post oak in the room and the three blessed meat cutters were hard at work.
The gentlemen in front of me ordered 40 links of sausage. This was a good omen, if you ask me. Nobody orders 10lbs of bad sausage.
I was up and ready to go with my order:
- 1 slice of lean, 1 slice of moist
- 1 sausage link
- 1 pork rib
That’s my standard order when I go on a muti-joint BBQ trip. And most people will be quite surprised to learn that I rarely eat all of it. However, Zimmerhanzel’s proved to be an exception.
I started with the brisket. The fat was rendered really well and the texture was like slightly firm pot roast. It held together well and had a fantastic smoke ring.
My first bite was of the lean. In my opinion, if you nail the lean you are truly a pit master. And Zimmerhanzel’s nailed it. Perfect smokey flavor, amazing texture, melted in my mouth.
Next up was the moist brisket. As expected, it was great. Tons of smoke, excellent fat and incredible texture. I wanted to eat this by the car load.
I had to go with the sausage as my next item. As I took my first bite, time slowed down. The snap of the casing. The slight squirt of rendered fat into my mouth. The burn of the black pepper. My God.
The sausage was so good, so perfect, that my only criticism is that if it had slightly more smoke, it would be the best sausage I’ve ever had. Yes, it was amazing. Yes, it is worth driving to Zimmerhanzel’s just to eat the sausage.
Last, but absolutely not least, was the pork rib. Folks, this is what I think of when I think of a classic Texas style pork rib. The texture was slightly firm but came easily off the bone. Lots of black pepper. Wow. This rib is amazing. Simple and perfect.
I did taste the sauce, but folks, I just don’t care about sauce at a place that serves meat like this.
No matter where I go, I love to check out the pits. The folks at Zimmerhanzel’s let me in the back to capture a few pictures.
In total there are 4 pits on the grounds. The main pit is indoor and is always full of sausage and brisket. Outside, there is a small pavilion with three more pits. On Saturdays, they run another pit outside to accomodate the hundreds of pounds of handmade sausage, brisket, pork ribs, chicken and pork butt they sell.
The other two pits are only used when it gets really busy. I’m assuming that means a catering gig.
My first stop on the way to Houston BBQ Festival was quite incredible. I absolutely cannot wait to return and show off one of my new favorite joints to my fellow BBQ lovers.