Pitmaster Clyde Biggins was the subject of a Dallas News story by Sarah Mervosh earlier this month. âTold the tale of the successful restaurateur who got involved with a drug ring, got caught, paid his debt to society with 16 years in prison and is looking to make a new start in life â" back at the pit.
Mervosh made the barbecue sound so darned good that I asked if there were a way to try it. Because Biggins doesnât have a commercial kitchen, permits, etc., what he does for now is âcook for friendsâ informally from time to time. Those who attend may choose to make a contribution to cover his costs.
So today Sig O and I moseyed down to South Dallas, where Biggins and his daughter had set up a few chairs and tables (some folks brought their own) in a shady spot next to his rolling pit station. Each table had its own loaf of white bread and hot sauce. Word went out, table to table, that Biggins had been smoking some of the âcue since Thursday.
We sat with a couple of fellows from North Dallas and Farmers Branch who, like us, had read Mervoshâs story. Members from the newsroom showed up, including BBQ Posse wrangler Gary Jacobson himself, who has let rip some awesome prose about the stateâs most revered protein. (Sorry, steak-lovers, but âcue unleashes tsunamis more loyalty and passion than your sad little slabs.) One diminutive barbecue enthusiast, who couldnât have been over 4 years old, went after the ribs like they were corn on the cob. Not surprisingly, his dad is a barbecue nerd who chases âcue all over the state.
We waited. And waited a little longer. We were on âcue time, after all. When it was ready, we each took up a Styrofoam container of brisket, sausage and ribs heaped in a sauce mainly of drippings â" more like barbecue gravy â" and sided with home-style savory potato salad and baked beans.
The âcue was worth waiting for â" deeply smoky and juicy all around. The ribs had a fine crust, and every so often youâd hit an especially sweet, tender pocket of meat. I was surprised at the juiciness of the sausage beneath its crackling casing â" surprised that I liked so much, too, not being a big sausage fan. The brisket had some odd places where the muscles met â" this was just the cut â" but the flavor was excellent, and even better if you allowed yourself to indulge in a bit of the silky fat. Iâd have only wished for more of crustiness to the edge. But there was so much to like (made even better by the company and cool, welcoming autumn weather), Iâm not complaining.
How do you find out where Biggins is firing up his pit-mobile next? Ask to be put on an email list that goes out before each gig (email@example.com). Hereâs hoping that an enterprising entrepreneur lifts Biggins from the underground circuit to his own bricks-and-mortar barbecue pit soon.
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