Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sometimes Foodie Dreams DO Come True!

Dear Readers, I have some wonderful news for those of you who live in the Bryan and College Station area.  We now have a Kreuz Market all our own!  Yes, just like the one in Lockhart. I have no idea what we, as human beings, have done to be so well-rewarded, but thank you all that is good and holy in the food world!

For those of you who don't know, Kreuz Market is a foodie destination and major landmark on the Texas BBQ map, located in what many consider to be the capital of Texas BBQ: Lockhart. Yes, this is not something everyone agrees upon, as everyone has their own opinion of what Texas BBQ is and who does it best. Kreuz is often featured among the top BBQ restaurants in the US on the Food Network, Travel Channel,  Cooking Channel, CNN, and numerous publications including Men's Fitness, Washington Post, and National Geographic.

Really good prices.  All by volume or weight. If you're ordering the meat by the pound you can get any smaller increment, such as a single pork or beef rib or a quarter, third, half, etc pound of brisket.
As soon as I was able to get a free lunchtime away from the Day Job I headed over to Kreuz with The Lovely Spouse and a long-time friend to check them out. The friend has never been to the Lockhart location. The Lovely Spouse and I are regulars, or as much as someone can be living 2 hours away.

Eating at Kreuz means 2 things: no forks and no sauce. There are plenty of paper towels to go around. 
The restaurant is similar to but different from the Lockhart location.  The wonderful smokey smell is the same. The business cards even smelled like smoke. Unlike the Lockhart location, the Bryan one has a bar currently serving craft beer.

Ordering is a bit different than the Lockhart location and easier for first time visitors.  If you want a Coke, pull one from the tub at the front.  The fountain has iced tea (sweet and not) and an Austin brand of fountain sodas.  Coke is available in bottles.

The available fountain sodas. All, except the diet one, made with cane sugar.

Sorry, vegans, not a lot of options for you.  There's mac and cheese for vegetarians.  The friend that joined us on this trip said it was delicious. 

If you want sides, pull the cold ones from the case and request the hot ones at the counter, then ask for the weight of meat you would like. I ordered a single pork rib and a single sausage link with a quart of German potato salad to share. The Lovely Spouse got (I don't know how much) prime rib and sauerkraut.  Bread is available on request.  If you're really ambitious, they also have desserts.

There were also mini-pies at the bar. 
How was the food?  All of it was fantastic. I normally don't like ribs because of the weird texture most have, but I thoroughly enjoy them at Kreuz's.  The sausage is an unusual, flavorful spice combination that just works.  I haven't had anything like it anywhere else.  The sausage tends to be greasier than anything else owing to the necessity to put quite a bit of fat in it.  Non-fatty sausage is dry and not tasty.  The prime rib is melt-in-your mouth tender and very flavorful.  All of this was too much to eat and we took food home.

Too much food for one sitting. All of it was absolutely delicious. 

This was even too much for The Lovely Spouse. And he has a very healthy appetite.
And, yes, you eat everything with your hands, except the sides. How were those?  Fantastic. The German potato salad is spiced with carroway seeds and flavored with brisket.  The sauerkraut has a pickly-sour flavor but is quite mild and served warm.

German potato salad with chunks of potatoes and brisket.

There's a window where you see where the magic happens.

Will we be back?  Most definitely.  Most likely next week.  In the meantime we've got leftovers. 

Epilogue:  While doing research for this blog post I found a lovely blog post from Texas Monthly BBQ featuring the opening of the Bryan location. It involves an interesting family tradition of transferring coals from the smokers.  If there's one thing that Aggies love, it's a tradition. 

Post-Script: I've been asked how Kreuz's stacks up to the other BBQ places in Bryan and College Station.This is just my opinion, but here's my ranking of the places solely serving BBQ (no steakhouses included on the list).

1. Kruez Market. Sorry, everyone else.  They're that good.

2. Lew's BBQ food truck. They are at this place on the list for 2 items that I absolutely adore: pepper pork tenderloin and smoked pineapple. Add in the coleslaw and you've got a delicious meal.

3. Martin's Place in Bryan. They've been at it forever in the same location and building and it's still consistently good. I'm amazed at the number of people who have lived here for decades who have never tried Martin's. It's worth the trip.

4. (tie) Rudy's BBQ. A Texas chain that makes the meat and sandwiches well.  The green chili stew is also good. Great breakfast tacos.  Their catering is a wee bit expensive.

4. (tie) C&J's BBQ (warning: website autoplays music - why????). A Bryan and College Station chain that is pretty good with the meats but also has good sides.  Their catering is great.

5. Fargo's Pit BBQ. Yes, I know Food Network has been there and they're on everybody's best of Texas list. I find them inconsistent and seem to mostly visit them on bad days.

Bryan and College Station is shaping up to be its own BBQ destination.  And this is an awesome thing for the residents.

Update: It's been pointed out to me that I didn't include Dickie's on the list above. That's right, I didn't.  They're overpriced and not up to par with anything on the list.

It's also been pointed out to me that I didn't give the location of Kreuz Market.  It's along the north-bound Highway 6 feeder/access road between the Briarcrest and William J Bryan exits.  Turn right on Austin's Colony Pkwy and then turn left to the driveway to IHOP, Kreuz's and the Best Western.  The address is 768 North Earl Rudder Freeway, Bryan, TX 77802.

Another person asked how Tom's BBQ ranks with the above. They closed before I moved to College Station and I haven't been to the Brisket House in Houston, where the pitmaster currently works.

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