Sunday, January 23, 2011
The "Worst" Bar-B-Q in Texas
Just a few days ago, an article in the Toronto Star said of Texas barbecue, “Try Rudy’s … is a must-do multiple times.” We agree.
While Frommer’s says there are more than 90 barbecue restaurants in the greater San Antonio area, you’ll want to head several miles north to Leon Springs, at the edge of the Hill Country, where you can fill up your gas tank, pick up a gallon of milk and find some of the best beef brisket and pork ribs for miles.
Even if the people at Rudy’s say it’s the “Worst Bar-B-Q in Texas.”
It is hard to believe that this place only has been serving barbecue since 1989. The environment at Rudy’s “Country Store” has a nostalgic feel about it, from the hot, freshly hand-sliced meat served simply on brown paper placed inside soda delivery trays to the large ice buckets that keep the beer and sodas cold.
Thankfully, the nutritionists haven’t led Rudy’s to trim the blackened fat from the meat, which is so tender that it melts in your mouth. My grandfather wouldn’t have needed his dentures to eat here.
A plaque near the entrance tells the story of founder Mack “Doc” Holiday, who died in 2007.
“Doc put his own unique touch into an existing neighborhood general store and gas station called ‘Rudolph’s’ and helped to create a true ‘Barbecue Joint’ like the roadside barbecue stands he used to frequent as a kid,” the plaque reads.
“Through the years and with the growth of additional locations, Doc continued to put his unique touch on everything, including our team members and guests that have been and continue to be a part of Rudy’s,” it continues.
“He believed that good barbecue is a celebration, especially when it is shared with family and friends. Doc always had a smile for everyone and his hospitality served as a role model for all of us. Doc will be missed but not forgotten by all those he touched through his words and barbecue.”
It is obvious that the people carrying on Doc’s legacy have taken these words to heart. I asked someone why they serve the “worst” barbecue and not the best. I was told that everyone else says they serve the best barbecue, but at Rudy’s they never give up on trying to make it better.
A sign near the fire pit says, “Don’t tell us how good it is. Just come back with your friends and family.” I wish I could more often.
Be sure to try their creamed corn, which is made according to their own recipe, as well as their sausage. They use fresh peaches in their cobbler.
There are now nearly 30 Rudy’s locations across Texas and in Colorado, Oklahoma and New Mexico (learn more at http://www.rudys.com/). I can’t vouch for any of the other locations, but if they’re half as good as the original, they’re worth stopping for.