Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rudy’s BBQ – San Antonio, TX

My nephew the DeliveryBoy said Rudy’s was one of those places that everyone talked about having fantastic BBQ. Add that to the recommendation I got from my friend KingDavid form Minneapolis about Rudy’s, and I thought we’d better go there, after a quick dip in the pool. We pulled up to the place and the sign said it was the worst BBQ in Texas. Those places always are the best – it’s trickery, you see…

This place is REALLY confusing. There’s a set of doors to go into that’s for the carryout stuff. Apparently, that’s not where you can order food. We went around and saw another place where people were bringing orders out to picnic tables in the blazing sun and then other people eating inside the gas station it happens to be next to. I was concerned about eating in the sun, since my sunburn was starting to put the serious hurt on my range of motion. We finally figured out the ordering place and went and got in line. There’s a huge set of troughs at the back of the line – the troughs are filled with ice and beverages: beers of various kinds, and awesome sodas. If you are unfamiliar with “Frostie” soda, find a way to get your hands on it. It’s delicious. I grabbed a couple of Frostie blue cream sodas and an orange for DeliveryBoy.

When we got to the counter, we told the guy working we’d never been here before and he broke it down for us. The guy would get our sides for us, then slide us down the counter to order our meats and pay. We got some coleslaw and potato salad and some pinto beans for us all. When we slid down, the guys behind the cash register asked us what we wanted, then the guys cutting meats behind them yelled up to us and asked us what we wanted. Apparently, you just shout out your own order here and someone will cut it up for you. You can order ribs and whole/half chickens, but you can also order sliced meats by the pound and shredded meats by the pound (or half/quarter pound as well). VERY weird set up and flow at this place. I’m assuming once you’ve been there a time or two, it all makes perfect sense, but not for noobs.

I got a half slab of baby back ribs, DeliveryBoy and Amanda Hugginkiss got some sliced peppered turkey and brisket, and coach got what’s called “shredded moist” – it’s a combination of shredded pork, turkey, and beef with BBQ sauce in it. They told us the BBQ sauce was on the table and condiments and things were out the door in the outside dining area. This place uses blue plastic Pepsi 2-liter palettes as trays, so we grabbed our food, wrapped in waxed paper on the large blue trays and headed inside.

We grabbed a picnic table in the gas station – I TOLD you this was a weird set up, and got situated. We had random guy take our photo, so you could see what the whole thing was like. We had to have the guy try like 5 times to take our picture because he couldn’t figure the camera out. He wasn’t holding the button long enough and it wasn’t taking the photo. All of his friends were making fun of him and we were laughing to, so it’s all good.

We dove right into the food, after everyone got their own respective pieces of waxed paper. If you don’t like picnicking, this isn’t the place for you to go, at all. But the food was really amazing. The ribs are dry rubbed, without sauce. I always try them without sauce first just to get a feel for it. They were tough like a lot of ribs without sauce, so I immediately thought of Low-Vee back home and our Rib Quest 2009. She loves the ribs dry and tough – these were definitely for her. I liked the flavor of the meat, but I needed some sauce with them to add some zing. The sauce (or “sause” as they call it) is really vinegar-ey, so be prepared for that. Just tasting it plain is more vinegar than I usually like, but on the ribs, it was really fantastic. I liked these ribs a lot. The pinto beans were also really good. Not exactly baked beans like a lot of places, so they were a welcome change. I personally would have loved to have seen some bacon or other kinds of meat in with the beans, but they were really good the way they were. And of course, everything comes with slices of plain white bread, as nature intended.

I had a bite of Coach’s shredded moist and his was probably the best thing on the table. The vinegar taste had been cooked out of the sauce and it was simply incredible. I would recommend this over ribs, and I generally don’t do that. I had a bite of Amanda’s peppered turkey and it was awesome too, but I was really half-tempted to go back and get some of the shredded moist that Coach got. Wow. Wow. Wow.

I asked Amanda Hugginkiss about the coleslaw and potato salad, and she claimed they were just “alright.” Nothin’ fancy and she’d probably skip the sides next time and get everything to go, so she could bring everything home and be all fancy and use a plate and metal utensils… She’s classy like that.

We finished up and got our own places cleaned up. There are signs that say “Your mother isn’t here. Clean up after yourself.” We looked around and saw a lot of people eating with mothers at their table, so I’m not sure that was the best phrasing for the sign. Amusing, but maybe they could have gone with something different.

Since the gas station we were in sold Frostie sodas, we picked up a couple more for the road since they are delicious, and I also grabbed a bottle of the sause for KingDavid. He asked me to, but he didn’t tell me it only comes in giant bottles, not a table-sized (or luggage-appropriate) bottles. Oh well, he’s worth it.

We went back out into the blazing sun and got stupid in front of the sign for a photoshoot.

I will go back here for sure the next time I’m in San Antonio, and I’ll recommend the heck out of it to anyone I know that’s headed there. It truly is the worst (best) BBQ in Texas.

Top 5 things about Rudy’s BBQ
1. Shredded Moist – hands down
2. Baby Back Ribs
3. Frostie Blue Cream Soda
4. Sliced Peppered Turkey
5. Pinto Beans

Bottom 5 things
1. I always think of Gerd when I eat good food. I guess it’s not a bad thing, but I sometimes feel guilty enjoying delicious food and not having her with me to watch her eyes light up after the first bite of something awesome
2. Super confusing layout
3. Yelling your order to various people
4. If you want plates, this isn’t your place
5. Outside seating must be excruciating

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