Friday, May 21, 2010

Zeke's Smokehouse

I've written about Zeke's a couple times before - I have been going there for many years and, on their best days, it is outstanding barbecue - so I will keep this relatively short. The other day I was running an errand with my brother and we were trying to decide where to go for lunch. We drove through Montrose, thinking about trying 3 Drunken Goats, but at the last moment we decided just to get some barbecue. (This is never a tough decision for us.)

I had not been to Zeke's in more than half a year. There are some new additions - or perhaps I hadn't noticed them before and they're only new to me. Either way, the feeling's the same. There is a small menu on each table called the "Dog Gone Hard Times Menu," featuring items like sliders and catfish bites. I love catfish but my brother is not much of a seafood fan, so we didn't get an order. (I will, however, be returning at some point with someone who is willing to split them with me.)

There is also a specialty beverage menu with drinks like Mexican Coke, Abita Root Beer (from my beloved Abita Brewing Co. in Louisiana, makers of Turbodog), and Original Dublin Dr Pepper. For those not familiar with that last item, it comes from Dublin, Texas and is the oldest Dr Pepper bottling plant in the world. It uses the original Dr Pepper formula - pure cane sugar - and is only supposed to be available in the Dublin area, although it is well known that people purchase it in the area and "bootleg" it out of state.

An item I had never seen before on the menu was called the "mixed rib sandwich." I inquired about it and was told it is meat taken off of pork and beef ribs, mixed with sauce and served on a bun. I immediately ordered it, with some kettle chips and cole slaw. My brother ordered a two item combo of dark meat chicken and a ham steak, with double fries.

The food was ready in only a few minutes. I have never liked the buns they use at Zeke's; I cannot understand why they serve barbecue that is often great on dense, stale buns. I have written before that if they used soft buns, or even plain white bread, their barbecue could be legendary. But the bun on my sandwich was, thankfully, very fresh. It made a big difference, and the meat was delicious. I was concerned the sauce would overpower the meat, but Zeke's sauce isn't too sweet. It would be better without the sauce, I'm sure, but it was still very good.

I did not try any of my brother's 'cue, but he cleaned his plate, so I'm sure he liked it.

As I wrote, I had not been to Zeke's in more than half a year. When I have been in the mood for barbecue recently, I have experimented with new places rather than going with the tried and true option of Zeke's. But I am going to go back at least once or twice soon to try some of these new items.

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