Sometimes, it feels like a place is just trying too hard – that’s my summary for this visit .
Today, we headed to Das BBQ, after seeing it featured in Atlanta Eats and then getting a confirming positive vote from a lunch mate, yesterday. In all the pre-opening press, owner Stephen Franklin talks about wanting to ” define Georgia barbecue”. I’m not sure how you accomplish that by trying to turn Underwood Hills into East Texas. The food is served on metal trays with brown butcher paper, like most Texas bbq joints. The pictures on the wall inside of are of Texas bbq places – Smitty’s and Lockhart’s and Franklin’s. According to what I’ve read, it is “named in honor of the German and Czech settlers who first brought smoked meats to central Texas.”
They have two smokers in the screened patio, next to this former Pizza Hut, modeled after those at Franklin Barbecue (in Austin, if you don’t know) – and named Pancho and Lefty (from the Townes Van Zandt song). The inspiration was definitely Texas. It looks like another Texas-style barbecue place. That’s fine – just name it and claim it.
Well, the prices were definitely Atlanta prices – $14.00 for a single meat plate. Maybe that’s one of the reasons that I found it odd that a ten year old was waiting on me. I’m not over-exaggerating the youthful appearance of the young lady. We asked – she was ten. When my beloved asked if she was being paid, she smiled and said, “Yes, with these,” pointing at the brownies.
Again, in the pre-open press, owner Stephen Franklin said,
“Our one-liner, mission statement is to reinvent the barbecue experience and to make it accessible for everybody. That includes women, children, and men, in that order.”
I get trying to make a place family friendly, but I need to be waited on by an adult. This isn’t east Texas – it’s the largest city in the South. She was assisted at the register by a younger girl – I called an adult (the two were alone at the register) from the serving area over when they couldn’t figure out how I wanted her to make change. But she did know her stuff on the brisket, asking if I wanted “moist, lean or mixed?”
Maybe this is part of the goal to appeal to women first (he refers to “threshold anxiety” in the article), but it didn’t work for my wife. She looked at me and said, “isn’t this illegal?”
They had a very nice patio out front, which would have been great, as it was the first warm day, in a while, but it was dog friendly. And there was at least one big one out there. And I was wandering around with a tray of meat. We ate inside.
We were sharing a four meat plate:
ribs, brisket, pulled pork and (spicy) sausage (basically, everything but the foul), with mac-n-cheese and elote creamed corn. The meats were all cooked perfectly (part of the uniformity comes from a process that starts meats on Pancho or Lefty and then moves them to a gas powered Southern Pride smoker), all initially smoked on hickory and pecan. The sausage (from Meyer’s Smokehouse, again, in Texas) was a little greasy, but very tasty with good spice. And, of the two sauces on the table, I really liked the “Georgia Yellow Peach”, which features pureed peaches and cane syrup that they grind and cook at their family farm in Stillmore. The creamed corn was very good and very spicy.
The smoke ring on the ribs was dead on,
and the ribs were tender, with a great charred bark. The bark on the brisket was just as charred and it broke like peanut brittle. The brisket was delicious. The food was actually very good.
“We want to be remembered for our people, our place, and then our products. ”
Sadly, of those three, the one that I liked the best is the one they place last.