700 Silken Crossing
Midlothian, Texas 76065
They say when you're rating a restaurants food that you can only rate what is in front of you at that moment. With that being said, if I owned a BBQ restaurant, I'd bring out the cream of the crop, each and every serving. I am an "amateur" when it comes to rating BBQ, but I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to tell whether food is out of this world delicious or is ready to be poured in the slop trough out back.
I've wanted to visit Ellis County BBQ for some time now. I've heard mixed reviews on it, so as a BBQ lover, I decided to make my decision based on the Q.
The building is really nice and has 18 - 20 small, medium and large chairs in the dining room with really high ceilings. Being a non-smoker, this helps, let me tell you. On the other side of a wall, is a fully stocked bar and it will seat 10 - 12 folks comfortably.
I scan the menu looking for the holy trinity of Texas BBQ... Brisket, sausage and ribs. I opted for the "Daniel" plate which was two meats and two sides. I chose the brisket and ribs and slaw and fried okra.
When the large plate landed at my table, I immediately noticed the brisket looked dried out. I was right. It was from the lean end of the brisket and you could tell before the first bite it was overcooked, dry and left over from yesterday or the day before even. Sauce was on the table, but I wanted to see if I could tell what kind of wood was used to cook the meat. There was a small, 1/16" smoke ring on top of the slice and I peeled it off and tried it. I couldn't even get a smoky flavor at all. And to my suspicions, the meat was dry and crumbly. The overall flavor was more akin to roast beef than a slow-smoked brisket. I ate half of one slice and moved on to the ribs. (Let me apologize for the out of focus shot, I forgot my regular glasses today and had to resort to a pair of old reading glasses.)
The ribs looked wonderful. They had a great black, crust and appeared to be very juicy and tender. I was right. A bite through the meat sent my teeth straight to the bone and I was able to pull that bite away without yanking the whole piece of meat away. Great bite and tenderness, extremely juicy from the marbled fat that was a bit much, but nonetheless, a wonderful chew. Although the texture was spot on and nearly perfect, again, there was only a slight smoky flavor. I actually couldn't tell what kind of smoke it was, mesquite, oak, pecan or something else, I have no idea. The fat content was very high and it was almost gelatinous and gooey. Overall, the ribs were ok. Great on texture, short on flavor.
One of the sides I chose was the cole slaw. It was cold, fresh and very crisp, just the way I like it, but it was "dry", meaning there was none of the wonderful saucy goodness on the cabbage. The sauce was used very, very sparingly and almost like eating raw cabbage and carrots. I did notice a wonderful onion undertone that was fantastic. The flavor was good, but it needed that saucy goodness that reminds me of mama's good old cabbage slaw.
And to me, the best thing on the plate was the fried okra. It came to the plate, fresh from the fryer and very, very crunchy, JUST the way I likes it. It had a great okra flavor and I only needed to coax the flavor out with just a tiny sprinkle of salt. No matter, the okra was very, very good.
I decided not to get a dessert, because one, I'm trying to "cut back" and two, it's hard to beat my wife's baking and desserts, so I don't even bother. Plus, in my increasing age, the thought of sweets doesn't court my fancy much anymore.
Ellis County BBQ Rating - **
(no stars) - drop it in the slop trough
* - I'd really have to be hungry to eat here again.
** - just, ok...
*** - fairly decent food overall
****- Go out of your way to eat here
***** - Make room Aaron Franklin, here we come!
"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...