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Smoked Ham for Christmas (where near Austin should I look)

I decided about 5 minutes ago that I wanted to get a "real" smoked ham for Christmas.

My preference is a smokey, southern (ish), salty, yet juicy, ham with some sweetness (but no honey glaze, etc I can make a sauce if my guests want to add that

Which smokehouse have you utilized that produces something close to this?

Would prefer within an hour or so drive and I live in South Austin

thanks

Dec 05, 2011
Chefdavis in Austin

One night in Austin

McCoventry,

1. Maybe tripadvisor.com would be better.

2. The seafood & peppers issue sounds truly awful.
Give us a little more information as to what type of food you are interested in so we can make suggestions.

Sep 01, 2011
Chefdavis in Austin

Need opinions on 4-day BBQ-plus plan

Barbeque opinions vary and the quality can change day to day (unfortunately that is the nature of the beast. (If you prepare fifty+ briskets there will be a few that are not as good as others [thickness, toughness, meat flavor, etc] )

While in Lockhart, I would chose Smitty's or Kreutz long before Black's. My last visit was so disappointing in multiple categories that it will be tough to pass the other two to go to Black's. Black's definetely has its fans on this board, but I prefer the other two by far.

Based upon many visits over five years, when eaten in different order on the same visit, Black's would fall after Smitty's and Kreutz.

My summer has been busy and I have also been too lazy to post a review for Cooper's in New Braunfels. The location in Llano outshines by far in ambience and overall food quality, but my one visit to Coopers in NB was really awesome for two reasons: The Big Chop and IMO best beans at any BBQ establishment ever.

The Big Chop is a pork chop that was incredibly juicy with the right amount of saltiness and mesquite flavor. It is also freaking huge and may provide a break from many of the other brisket and sausage meals. Side dishes at Central Texas BBQ are very often overlooked or not considered worthy of response, but these beans with pork and jalapenos was incredible (better than in Llano). I also like the large pot where you can help yourself to an additional helping. When we were there Brisket was a solid B+ with Ribs B- and sausage a disappointing C.

Snow's.....They will offer some smoked pork, ribs, and sausage, but I would ignore all other meat offerings and get the brisket exclusively. The texture is different than most; almost like well-prepared pot roast where the fat renders perfectly into the smokey exterior. My two visits out there did not require arriving before 10 to get everything I wanted.

My two bits may just make it more difficult to decide.

Sep 01, 2011
Chefdavis in Austin

Odd Request: Dessert served in ramekins with puff pastry and chocolate.

A friend has a tough request that I am struggling to fill.

She bought ramekins so each guest can be served their own individual dessert.

She loves the visual created when puff pastry is nice and golden brown on top of the ramekin AND she wants to incorporate chocolate.

The only dish that I have come up with so far is chocolate soup with a puff pastry crust.

Does anyone have any other ideas to add to this one?

Dec 31, 2010
Chefdavis in Home Cooking

How late is too late to get to Snow BBQ?

Are there any time updates for Snow's. I am finally making the journey this Saturday and I would prefer to push delicious BBQ to later than 9:30 if possible.

Please let me know

Dec 15, 2010
Chefdavis in Austin

Looking for authentic, high quality Reuben Sandwich!

The Reuben at the HEB Kosher Deli is "Reuben Style". No cheese.
My wife's friend that keeps Kosher has the sandwich at least twice a month, so it has at least a few fans..

The sandwiches that I have had from the Kosher deli, have all been good, but the service is slow........

Oct 10, 2010
Chefdavis in Austin

In n Out in Austin?

This Texan will avoid whataburger at almost all costs, but to each his or her own.

The fries at In-n-out were potatoes a half hour before they are served.

Animal style is my favorite way, but the staff will cook them to meet requests.

Aug 10, 2010
Chefdavis in Austin

Lockhart in Late Afternoon?

I have to disagree about Black's brisket. The last two times I have had it has been a letdown.

Brisket is very temperament tho and perhaps I was unlucky twice, but Smitty's was superior last time I went

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6345...

Jul 09, 2010
Chefdavis in Austin

Jaime’s Spanish Village

I like Matt's, but to be fair I usually order the brisket tacos and a Bob A. IMO It is more than satisfying.

BTW about three years ago I had a CFS there that was awesome. I have only had it the one time tho.

People disagree on this board about what is good and that is a good thing because different menu items and food preparations appeal to different people.

People like Chuy's and beyond an alcholic beverage or two I don't get anything there.

Quite a few have recommend Polvo's and I had a poor experience with ice cold- Fajita al Guajillo and salsa that had sat for so long that it had completely seperated into solids and liquids (no it wasn't pico). I will probably not go back.

BUT

There are more than 200 Mexican or Tex / Mex restaurants in Austin (not to mention trailers (especially my favorite on East Oltorf, but that is for another time.
The options are great and we don't need to lose locally owned options to gain additional options. If you want to get rid of a few corporate fast food restaurants, I am behind you 100%.

If someone likes Polvo's or Chuy's, that is fine (and they may not like my suggestions either). Restaurants fail and succeed for many reasons. Many times people that make some of the best food can not run a business

Jul 08, 2010
Chefdavis in Austin

Lockhart in Late Afternoon?

I am 95% sure that both Kruetz and Smitty's are closed on Sundays

On the weekend or holidays, lines can form at anytime (no pattern that I have been able to detect), but on a regular weekend day at that time the most people I have ever had in front of me is 3. Before dinner, I have not had the problem of running out of product.

Snow's is in another town and is the place where you need to arrive very early to get items

I have encountered items not being ready at 11:30 AM at Kreutz.

Jul 08, 2010
Chefdavis in Austin

Baguette et Chocolat open?

Great Croissant and decent chocolate eclair

My wife had something very similar to a cream puff (but don't see that on their menu) and she liked it so much I did not get even close to a bite.

Choquettes (puff pastry rolled with sugar I think) were awesome, I could have eaten a dozen, but didn't.

Prices are not cheap, but the products that we had (with the exception of chocolate eclair) were well worth it. There does not appear to be any shortcuts used.

Huge menu and we did not try anything that required additional preparation.

Jun 10, 2010
Chefdavis in Austin

"Stuffed" ----Cajun Meat Market

Cast Iron Pot is very traditional for making roux.

Jun 10, 2010
Chefdavis in Austin

San Antonio (from Sea World on way to Austin) Mexican or Tex Mex

I know that it may seem like the parameters are terrible, but we will have a 2 year old with us and will most likely not be able to deviate from the path too much.

Ideally with Puffy Tacos, but I would prefer good over mediocre and the area limitations may make it impossible.

Can be off of 1604 or I 410 heading towards I 35

Jun 04, 2010
Chefdavis in Texas

Blue Bell Ice Cream

I am not certain about all brown lids, but Natural Vanilla Bean does not use HFCS (it uses sugar)

May 17, 2010
Chefdavis in Austin

Austin hound making the trip to Houston for a few days

I have a few questions for my trip that hopefully I can get your help with.

1. Where is a good place for Greek food (that has gyros).

2. Are the mussels and frites at Jeanine's worth it?

3. looking for a good breakfast place (preferably southern)

4. Is the rainbow lodge worth it? Is there another location that is good for wild game (ideally on the upscale side)

5. I read a few reviews of El tiempo cantina and the prices look a bit steep for what you get. Is the cost justified?

thanks for the help (other suggestions are OK too

Mar 17, 2010
Chefdavis in Houston

LOCKHART BBQ is starting to slide downhill

Barbeque is so difficult to get perfect every time that even the professionals can not do it.

Remember now matter how off Texas BBQ is, it 98% of the time blows others away

Here is the text of a previous visit to Lockhart to show that despite many of the above favorable reviews of Black's that it is not always so.
Heads-Up: Black's vs. Kruez Market
On Friday July 3, a friend and I made the hallowed drive to Lockhart. BTW I know there are passions about tollroads in Texas, but 45 made it a much easier trip between I35 and 183.

The reason I specifically listed the day is that BBQ more than almost any food can vary day to day. So my observations are based solely on that day. Unless you were sitting at the table with me and my buddy on that afternoon please don't make comments like oh this location is always the best.......

IMO the reason brisket is perfect for BBQ is that it takes either a great deal of skill (or a long slow simmer, *shudder*) for it to be tender. For years it was considered a "less desirable cut" based upon consumer demand and consumer skill. "inferior" is not an accurate measure of meat, it can only be used to compare two cuts. The grade of beef is the only true measure of "quality" that is universally used and trust me no one that does BBQ in Lockhart is using Commerical or UCC grade meat. Sorry to rant, but if you have questions about meat grades follow the link below. It is really useful and it is several clicks down the page.

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/i...

Other factors such as feed and type of cow do affect the flavor/ fat ratios

Back to the BBQ

We ordered and split at both places

1/2 lb of brisket (we did not specifiy what type on purpose as this is how the majority of people experience it


)2 links of sausage (1 standard, 1 jalapeno)

4 pork ribs (unless I am wrong I would guess that they were both regular spareribs and not St. Louis style)

pickles, onion, bread

1 adult beverage each followed by water

Blacks:

I have been at least three times before and I was excited to return. Our first stop and we were freaking hungry.

Brisket: 1/4 in to 1/2 in smokey exterior and very tender interior with a bit of shine to it that indicated fat from the exterior had done its job and worked its way into the meat. Unfortunately despite the fact it had a nice smokey ring the brisket was truly lacking flavor. It was very disappointing because it looked perfect, but REALLY lacked smoked flavor and to some degree seasoning.

Regular Link: the coarse grind that Black's is known for, did not disappoint. "Crispy" skin and flavoral delight inside

Jalapeno Link: the grind was so coarse that the sausage fell to pieces with EVERY cut. The flavor was good, but it looked like crumbled sausage that might go on a pizza.

Pork Ribs: the color was VERY different from my last visit. it was a very light brown (khaki even) with almost NO smoke flavor and tough. I do not like "fall off the bone" ribs because generally this means steam or something else, but Black's pork ribs BATTLED to keep the meat to themselves. Beyond testing the tenderness of my other rib, I took only one bite of it and did not need to continue.

I do appreciate Black's use of wheat bread. Obviously a few slices of wheat bread do not counteract two meals of BBQ, but I like to tell little lies to myself. They also offered red onion which I wanted to like, but had lost some of its moisture and "snap"

Kruez (I had been to Smitty's last time)

Brisket: it was tender with a thick, rich, and tasty smokiness (it was approximately 25% less tender than Black's. After finishing our brisket my friend immediately wanted to go get more, but I said it would upset the balance, etc and he waited

Regular Link: (To be upfront, Kreuz's links are some of my favorite) This link did not disappoint in the flavor department, but was much greasier than last visit and my bread had a little difficulty keeping up

Jalapeno Link: a bit spicier than normal but for us that was not an issue and it was gone very quickly.

Pork Ribs: Smokey and "firmer" than the ribs at Black. More flavorful and and more tender so that on this day, they blew Black's away.

This review was based upon the food, not the staff, environment, families involved, etc

I feel sad that I will need to continue this type of work again and again :)

Jan 22, 2010
Chefdavis in Texas

Austin Burger Smackdown!

It tastes very drifferent from Lawry's Seasoning Salt

Nov 04, 2009
Chefdavis in Austin

Restaurants in South/Southwest Austin?

I think you mean that Hecho en Mexico is on William Cannon near Escarpment (not Slaughter)

My wife and I did not enjoy hecho en mexico. We were in the mood for some tasty food and beer/margaritas. What amounts to their fajita nachos (can't remember if they had two sizes, but the larger is they did) had only about 8 chips with about 1 ounce of fajita meat total. The quality was subbar (very chewy and not tasty). We would need a reason to return

Oct 27, 2009
Chefdavis in Austin

Mama Roux

This past Saturday, I was there with a large group.

I found it pretty annoying that a restaurant of this caliber did not have a web site.

There was a line of people waiting as early as 6 PM (no reservations I believe)

We had multiple appetizers. the ones that I shared in were crawfish and shrimp in a spicy mornay sauce--perfectly cooked shrimp and crawfish, but the dish is VERY rich.

Blackened Shrimp-nicely cooked, but ......meh..........middle of the road

Fried Calamari, was a bit surprised to find calamari here, but was good.

I had gumbo ya ya and it was a solid 80% with the potential for greatness (needed more heat --spice not temperature).

I had a crawfish poboy with remoulade, fries, and red beans and rice. Great battered crawfish (the bun / bread was OK, not great)
The red beans and rice side does not have andouille and it would have been quite good with it.

4 of 8 at the table had the Bananas Foster Bread Pudding and raved, but I did not try it.

Will be back after a few more months to see if they can keep it up.

Oct 12, 2009
Chefdavis in Austin

Fried Chicken Recs

I love what Nubian Queen Lola is trying to do for the community and I like several of her creole / cajun dishes. I did not enjoy her fried chicken as much. It seemed as if the chicken wings were fried (they are fried to order which is very nice) and then had seasoning shaken over the pieces after. Not bad, but not great

My family went to Burnet and went to the original location of The Real New Orleans Style Restaurant. This location is counter service, but the lady told us that Marble Falls and Round Mountain have table service and a much broader menu

It took fifteen minutes or so because they also fry to order. We had a fried wing and breast. Each was very juice and the skin coated wth the batter or breading that they used was perfectly crispy, but not crunchy and mixed with a few different spices. It was not spicy, but very flavorful. Some of the best fried chicken that I have had in years.

FYI The red beans and rice was awesome with a 3/4 inch cubed piece of tasso, multiple slices of andouille, and tender, but not overcooked beans

The crawfish etouffee was top shelf and loaded with about 1/2 cup or more of crawfish

It made me want to visit the other locations with the full menu

Oct 12, 2009
Chefdavis in Austin

County Line Am I missing something?

My wife and I have made a list of restaurants into 3 cost categories that we want/need to try over the next year+.

County Line was on that list.

It was raining so we decided to go on the lake as opposed to on the hill (it might make a difference).

I am certain that this review might touch a nerve and if it does please let me know where I ordered poorly.

Sauteed Mushrooms were salty and tasted like they had been on a steam table for far too long.

Their signature bread was a bit sweet, but very nice.

Brisket had no depth of flavor and was not very tender. there was a large band of fat (that generally would melt during a slow cooking process) through out the piece.

I would have preferred crock-pot brisket by a landslide to this alleged "smoked" product.

Sausage was very bland and in my opinion the fat was not properly emulsified during the sausage making process.

I equated CL sausage to Hillshire Farms sausage gone wrong.

Pork ribs were not terrible, but the lack of smoke was evident and despite stating specifically no sauce on the ribs, the ribs came with sauce and was told that is how they are cooked (slow cooked in sauce for tenderness?) and no additional sauce was added

If possible the sides may have been the most disappointing. Neither my wife no I ate more than a bite or two of our sides.
My potato salad was not as good as the industrial potato salad at HEB that has a self life of 4 months.

The cole slaw had fresh, crunchy cabbage, but the dressing was runny and tasted terrible. The quality was as if........................McDonald's was starting a new cole slaw side that would soon be available across the nation.

It is possible that their homemade ice cream is amazing, but was unwilling to spend any more more on an unsatisfactory meal.

The beer was cold and the service was good, but I would be very hesistant to return

-----
County Line On the Lake
5204 Ranch Road 2222, Austin, TX 78731

Sep 30, 2009
Chefdavis in Austin

Caramel Apples

I am looking for a place to buy caramel apples (or slices even). I am not interested in candied apples. Would prefer a very firm, but not crunchy caramel

thanks

Sep 23, 2009
Chefdavis in Austin

Nau's Burger

This was my second visit to Nau's (the other one was almost 3 years ago). The first visit was good, but not outstanding.

This visit the burger was AMAZING.

I opted for the larger size burger. I was thoroughly seared (with a crisp exterior that was awesome) and seasoned. At best it was medium well, but it was still very juicy. The toppings were very fresh.

The combo of the fresh toppings and the juicy burger made a delightfully sloppy burger that made me fully open the wrapping paper with regret when I realized that the experience was over.

The Cherry Ice Cream Soda was more than satisfying.

I will return soon to hopefully recreate the experience. If Nau's had a fryer and great fries, I would eat there at least twice a month.

Sep 16, 2009
Chefdavis in Austin

Hard Hat Report Vol 3

LakeLBJ,

The Real New Orleans Style Restaurant is now open in Marble Falls. Their web site is not updated.

Now that it is closer, I am looking forward to the opportunity to try it out

thanks for the mention

Sep 05, 2009
Chefdavis in Austin

Breakfast Spots in Hot Springs, Arkansas

Interested in good breakfast spots in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Please no chains unless that truly is the best that Hot Springs has to offer

thanks

Aug 14, 2009
Chefdavis in Central South

Kosher Meal Delivery by UPS or Fed Ex

Both my friend and I live in Austin. We thought that since the HEB Deli is one of the few restaurants available that it would be the "go to" for most people and were looking for an alternative.

Goodhealthgourmet, do you know anything about the quality (taste) of aviglatt.com ?

Aug 10, 2009
Chefdavis in Kosher

Do Bulk Bins Ever Get Cleaned?

EWSflash,

I don't expect the world to be sterilized and shrink wrapped, but I do expect the food that I buy and consume to be as safe as possible. Having worked in the industry for almost twenty years, it is not unreasonable to expect food to be kept in a clean and sanitary manner.

One of my good friends has had a double organ transplant at age 32. As a result of the transplant, he is immunocompromised and can get sick easily if proper precautions are not taken. Should I tell him to get over it and just deal with it, because you think it is "sad". EWSflash please think about issues reasonably before you post.

Aug 09, 2009
Chefdavis in Features

Kosher Meal Delivery by UPS or Fed Ex

We have a friend (that keeps Kosher) that is having surgery and will be recuperating for several weeks. We are in Austin, TX and the Kosher selections are limited.

I was wondering if there was a company that delivered overnight (with dry ice or similar) Kosher meals that require limited preparation. As this forum is chowhound, tasty options only please.

In addition, if there is a company or companies that you recommend. Please mention specific entrees, etc that have been enjoyed.

Thanks

Aug 07, 2009
Chefdavis in Kosher

Relevant Austin and Central Texas BBQ information

someone felt that the information was better on the media board, but I am including a link to the information because it is very relevant to Austin and Central Texas

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/640743

Jul 30, 2009
Chefdavis in Austin

University of Texas BBQ research

Obviously some research is more equal than others.....

Here is the article about the book and research

http://www.utexas.edu/features/2009/0...

Jul 30, 2009
Chefdavis in Food Media & News