Martin’s Place had been on my list for quite some time now, and after knocking out the famous burger joints in College Station last year, I thought it was high time to sample some cue’ in Aggieland. Martin’s place is an institution in Bryan, with continuous family ownership dating back to 1925. The original location was sold after surviving the Great Depression, and the family upgraded to the present brick location which dates back to 1939 and has since been registered a historical landmark. It’s a rare find to step into a building with this kind lineage and history oozes from the smoke tarnished walls. Countertops worn through from decades of diners plates scraping against the linoleum dot the horseshoe shaped bar, and I hurriedly straddled a stool like generations of hungry Texas before me.
After ordering up my usual three meat pile, I was crestfallen when my order arrived slathered in unsolicited sauce. The most heartbreaking aspect of this saucing was that I could tell this was extremely well prepared and lovingly smoked BBQ. The ribs were exceptional, cooked perfectly with a deep pinkish ring, and I managed to save one from the depths of red sauce. Brisket wasn’t so lucky, however. While I could tell it was smoked quite well from the texture, I just couldn’t get past the tangy sauce to get a full tasting. My last few morsels of brisket had quite literally been drown in sauce, and were beyond rescue.
Regardless of the sauce-tastrophe, I’d certainly like to hit Martin’s again and give it another shot with a dry order of meat. This is a place that does it right, as an inspection of the deeply charred smoke room quickly revealed. Pitmaster Steve warmly offered me a tour of these ancient brick pits, which have been chugging through post oak (with a touch of hickory) for over 71 years. Smoke and meat folks, there’s no big secret with proper BBQ, and I’ll be back for more.
If you’re looking for a touch of history and some fine smoked meat after your next Aggie game in College State, sidle on into Martin’s Place and plop down in a stool. Just ask them to hold the sauce….
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