I was over by Nugget Market running some errands after work when I decided I’d grab a bite to eat. There are several options in this shopping center including burgers, Chinese and pizza. Having had some of the best BBQ I’ve ever eaten recently while in Austin and just this last weekend in Seattle (great BBQ in Seattle? I know, I’ll post about that later) I thought I’d see how Dickey’s Barbecue Pit compared. It’s nestled far in the back corner of the center and is easy to miss unless you’re getting some gourmet dog food next door at Ben’s Bark Ave Bistro.
Once inside, turn to the right and you’re faced with a big menu and some decisions. What kind of meat? Texas-style chopped beef brisket, sliced beef brisket, southern pulled pork, Virginia-style ham, tender turkey breast, marinated chicken breast, old recipe Polish sausage, spicy cheddar sausage or fall-off-the-bone pork ribs. What form factor would you like that meat in? You can get it in a small sandwich called The Lil’ Hoagie, a bigger sandwich called The Big Barbecue Sandwich, or their biggest, The Westerner, where you get a second meat choice. Make it a meal and add a couple sides? If you get it as a plate which automatically includes two. There’s a bunch of those to consider – barbecue beans, creamy coleslaw, caesar salad, jalapeno beans, green beans w/ bacon, creamy dill potato salad, mac & cheese, Baked potato casserole, fried onion tanglers, fried okra and waffle iron fries.
I asked the cashier for his recommendations. He said he liked the marinated chicken with baked potato casserole. An employee working in the kitchen was nearby and mentioned that he had just prepared sliced beef brisket which was very good. I decided to go with that in the Big Barbecue Sandwich size with potato casserole, green beans w/ bacon and a large soda. Both the regular and large drink cups are washable plastic ones that you can keep. A short conversation about Lost and Battlestar Galactica was sparked by my “Turn Wheel Move Island” shirt, and before I knew it my food was ready.
I grabbed a seat, filled up with Dr Pepper and got a small amount of each of Dickey’s barbecue sauces. The mostly empty dining room was smallish, and the walls decorated with bbq related signs and pictures. By the front door they have a free soft serve machine for customers dining in.
I was a little disappointed in the size of my sandwich, I was definitely expecting something a little bigger. I tried a bite of it with no sauce to get the full flavor of the beef brisket. It was decent, but definitely needed some moisture. I put the Dickey’s Original on and it was really good. The sauce is strong and has a bold sweet flavor with a tang at the end. A few more bites in and I put the Sweet sauce on. It has the same bold flavor, but kicks up the same sweetness a few notches. Finally I finished the sandwich off with the hot & spicy. This one was immediately more tangy, and then the heat came. It was quite a bit more than I was expecting, and it was great. If I had to choose a favorite sauce I think I’d go with the hot & spicy, but all three were very, very good. I never used to be into BBQ sauce, but more and more I’m realizing that BBQ is sometimes more about the sauce than the actual meat. This is the case here, as least with the sliced beef brisket. As I said, it was decent. Without their sauces I’m sure I probably wouldn’t order it again, but with it’s pretty good. I think the chopped brisket would be a lot juicier and more flavorful.
The green beens with bacon were, well, just green beans. There was not a hint of bacon flavor or a physical presence of any kind. They were pretty decent green beans, but when you tell a man he’s getting bacon, you had better deliver. Dickey’s did not, and I may never forgive them.
I think I must have looked at the line for the creamy dill potato salad when I picked this. Although I definitely ordered the casserole, I was expecting more of a potato salad. They could have just called it mashed potatoes, because that’s what is was. They were damn good mashed potatoes. The little bit of cheese, chives and bacon bits you see on top didn’t seem to actually add much flavor so much as make it look pretty. The potatoes themselves were delicious on their own. I would absolutely order this side again.
As I said above, I think the sauces are the reason to come here. The barbecue on its own is just okay, I would say it’s a small step above fast food by itself. Despite the green beans with bacon being misleading, both sides were quite good. I’d like to come back and try some of the other meat options and will probably go with a plate for a bigger potion size (I’m guessing) next time. Parents may find some use in their “Kids eat free on Sunday’s” promo (it’s actually everyday right now through February) for a cheap meal. I would assume Texas West or Back-Forty BBQ probably have some more flavorful meat but this is a decent, quick and cheaper alternative. I would give it a 3 of 5.