Truth Barbeque in Houston is Indeed the Truth

Name: Truth Barbeque
Date: 1/7/22
Address: 110 S Heights Blvd, Houston, TX 77007
Order: Brisket, turkey, Carolina whole hog, pork ribs, house sausage link, brussel sprouts, green beans  (link)
Pricing: $$$

Speedy: I have a tradition whenever I travel. The first thing I do is text Monk, tell him where I’m going and ask, “Where should I grab some ‘cue?” On this day, while I was waiting to board in the Nashville airport, Monk responded almost before I even hit send, “Truth Barbeque.” So it was on.

Monk: While I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Truth yet, it received high praise when I recommended it to a friend of the blog a few years back. Not to mention it was #3 on Texas Monthly’s most recent Top 50 list from 2021. So I knew it was definitely going to be the place for Speedy and co. 

Speedy: Our party arrived at exactly 11:00 on a Saturday morning, which is exactly when they open. There was a sizable, but not daunting line out the door. We waited about 30 minutes until it was our turn to order at the cafeteria style counter.

Our group went with a pair of 2 meat plates and added a sausage link so we could try all the meats (save for the beef rib special) and ordered a variety of sides. After getting through the line and taking our pick of tables in the sizable dining room (we chose indoor seating, but outdoor is available), we were ready to eat.

Since this is a Texas joint, we have to start with the brisket. It’s good. Like really good. Peppery, tender, but *maybe* could be slightly more moist. We got the lean cut (we weren’t asked, but others did specify fatty and got that). Was this brisket as good as any I’ve had outside of Texas? Probably. But we’re in Texas, and the standard is different. So I can’t put it in my holy quadrumvirate (Franklin’s, La Barbecue, Pecan Lodge, Killen’s) but it was damn close. 

Monk: Damn, the fact that Speedy has been to enough Texas places to even have a quadrumvirate of Texas places of such high esteem is making me question my life choices. 

Speedy: The turkey, on the other hand, was the best I’ve had. Peppery, tender, moist, melt in your mouth deliciousness. I’ve gone on record lately expressing that turkey is the lost meat of barbecue, but at a place as highly lauded as Truth BBQ, I didn’t expect it to be my favorite part of the meal. But it was, and that’s not to take anything away from the other meats. It’s a must order, period.

Monk: I too am on the turkey train now and this sounds amazing. 

Speedy: The house sausage was also very solid. House-made, this sausage had good snap and nice garlic-y flavor. It had a little bit of grease, but was a solid effort. The pork ribs were also good, although ultimately my least favorite of the meats. The ribs were cooked and seasoned well, and had good flavor, but ultimately didn’t have anything outstanding or unique. 

The surprise of the meal was the Carolina whole hog (a Saturday special). Being in Texas, I didn’t expect much here, but when I bit into that hog and closed my eyes, I was transformed back to eastern NC, tasting delicious chopped pork with just the right coating of vinegar-y sauce. This was the best pork I’ve had outside of North Carolina. What a treat!

Monk: I know that Texas places will use whole hog as a differentiator to stand out from the pack, but glad to hear this was a successful version of it at Truth.

Speedy: Of the sides, I enjoyed the brussels most, but they were roasted and mushy instead of crispy (which I prefer). The mixed in brisket helped with the flavor, and I would order them again, but I don’t think I’d go out of my way for the sides. My party ordered the tater tot casserole and gave it high marks, so if you tolerate dairy, that’s probably the order.

One other thing worth talking about is the “Texas gut bomb,” or the tummy ache and sleepiness after any big Texas bbq meal. I did not feel this after Truth BBQ. I’m not sure if this was because of minimal grease, the high volume of turkey I ate, or some other reason, but my stomach was a happy camper all weekend. 

Monk: Aww, great to hear about your happy tum tum, Speedy! 

Speedy: Overall, as usual, Monk was correct…

Monk: …oh I like the sound of that!

Speedy: Truth BBQ is a truly great barbecue joint and definitely worth a visit. And do yourself a favor and order extra turkey!

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 4 hogs
Brisket – 4.5 hogs
Turkey – 5 hogs
Sausage – 4 hogs
Pork (Carolina whole hog) – 5 hogs
Pork ribs – 4 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 4.5 hogs

Linkdown: 2/1/23 – The Barbecue in a Bowl Edition

Featured

Monk: The second annual Carolina BBQ Festival is once again bringing some of the best and brightest pitmasters to the Queen City in early May. Lewis Donald has invited many of the same pitmasters from last year’s festival and added a few new faces: Jake Wood of Lawrence Barbecue, Keith Henning of Black Powder Smokehouse, Michael Letchworth of Sam Jones BBQ, and Tank Jackson of Holy City Hog.

The full list of pitmasters and chefs:

Tickets go on sale on Friday, February 10th. More information here.

Native News

Backyard BBQ Pit has received nearly $50,000 from its GoFundMe campaign and even got new kitchen appliances donated by an angel donor; now they are paying it forward to other local small businesses

It’s Brunswick stew season

In sad news, Clyde Cooper’s daughter Joyce recently passed but the occasion brought together is grandchildren and great grandchildren

Sweet’s Turkey BBQ is a Greensboro food truck serving chopped turkey barbecue, a healthier alternative to pork and beef

Midwood Smokehouse‘s Raleigh location has gotten their Oyler

Non-Native News

The James Beard semi-finalists were announced last week and pitmasters from Moo’s Craft Barbecue in LA, Heirloom Market BBQ in Atlanta, Tropical Smokehouse in West Palm Beach, Distant Relatives and KG BBQ in Austin, Goldee’s in Fort Worth, Curry Boys BBQ in San Antonio, Gatlin’s BBQ in Houston, and Burnt Bean in Seguin make the list

Charleston’s Swig & Swine BBQ is expanding to Myrtle Beach

Adrian Miller’s field guide to US barbecue

Bill Murray recently enjoyed a beef rib at Heritage Barbecue

30 pitmasters will be in Greenville, SC for Southern Roots: A BBQ Reunion on April 15

Episode 3 of Peacock’s “Poker Face” is brisket-focused and actually gets the specifics mostly right

Bubba’s Barbecue Has Reopened After 2+ Years Closure

Name: Bubba’s Barbecue
Date: 1/5/23
Address: 4400 Sunset Rd, Charlotte, NC 28216
Order: Chopped pork plate with slaw, green beans, hush puppies, and sweet tea (link to menu)
Pricing: $$

Monk: Remembering that Bubba’s Barbecue quietly reopened late last year (with an event quieter reopening in the summer), I recently made my way there for lunch on a weekday. This would be my first meal there in 9 years at the 37 year old restaurant.

After placing my order, I was greeted by a light lunch crowd of 3 other tables between the two large dining rooms. Before I could sit down from getting my drink, my food was brought out and placed on the yellow checked table cloth. While Bubba’s had these same table cloths the last time I visited in 2013, I always think of the recently departed Spoon’s Barbecue, which they of course share a lineage with.

Speaking of which, a quick detour for some Charlotte barbecue history. A barbecue restaurant first opened in 1963 as “Jackson and Spoon’s Barbecue” (later just “Spoon’s Barbecue”) on South Boulevard. In 1987, owner Ralph “Bubba” Miller purchased the restaurant and the original recipes. He later renamed the restaurant to “Bubba’s Barbecue” and a few years later moved it to it’s current location on Sunset Road, where it has been serving Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue since 1994. The Spoon family, meanwhile, opened “Bill Spoon’s Barbecue” on South Boulevard in the previous location for Bubba’s until they closed in fall 2020.

The pork was unfortunately just slightly above average. The texture was a bit stringy and it lacked any noticeable smoke. The branded table vinegar sauce did help, as did the addition of their slaw. This unique mustard-based slaw was another similarity between Bubba’s and Spoon’s.

The hush puppies were fresh but the green beans tasted out of a can.

While Bubba’s Barbecue will not become my go-to lunch barbecue spot, with most classic barbecue restaurants seem to be closing these days, it’s great to have one reopen. Give Bubba’s a try if you are in north Charlotte.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 3 hogs
Sides – 3 Hogs
Overall – 3 Hogs

Barbecue and Coffee at Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton, Texas

Monk: The Adventures of A+K are a couple who are living the van life but make often make stops at barbecue along the way. You may previously remember them from a couple of stops in the Carolinas in recent years (linked below), and in this video they stop at Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton, TX to try barbecue and a smokey “campfire latte” on the way back to Texas after 10 months on the road.