Brisket, ribs and cilantro sausage from The Slow Bone. (Photo by Jim Rossman)

I stopped by The Slow Bone for lunch today and I was really happy with what I found on my tray. I started out with a two meat plate of moist brisket and ribs, but owner Jack Perkins told me he's been tweaking the recipe and grind of the cilantro sausage, so I adjusted to a three meat plate.

I have to say my first bite of brisket made me close my eyes, stop chewing and savor. The texture was right on and the fat was perfectly rendered. The combination of fat, meat and rub made for one of those perfect bites.

I've had really good brisket here before, but what I ate today was among the best I've eaten anywhere. Jack's brisket is ready to be in the conversation with the best joints in the state.

As he usually does, Jack stopped by my table to check on lunch. When I told him how much I enjoyed the brisket he sat down to tell me he's changed it up in the last week or so.

Jack attended the Texas Monthly pitmaster dinner at Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor last week and after talking to Wayne Mueller, he started thinking about the amount of smoke he was putting on his brisket.

The next day Jack tried brisket at John Mueller Meat Company, Mickelthwait Craft Meats and La Barbecue.
A common denominator was less smoke than he tasted in his own brisket. So Jack came back to Dallas and adjusted his smoke ratio.

"If the level of smoke on my briskets was at a 10 before, now it's about a 5 or 6," he said.

It's hard to judge based on one visit, so I'm going to have to make another trip or two to The Slow Bone over the next few weeks, but I'm not sure Jack has much room to improve on the brisket.

And in the name of completeness, the ribs were really well cooked, pulled away from the bone cleanly and were tender and moist. The cilantro sausage was much improved from my last try.

I have to admit I wasn't a fan when I tried it several months ago. It had a consistency of a boiled bratwurst instead of a smoked sausage. The latest version had a snappy casing, good feel when you chew and still had that cilantro bite.


11 years ago

Beg to differ: Have heard a lot of good comments about Slow Bone and this last Saturday decided on a whim to join the Saturday lunch crowd. Any BBQ joint worth it's salt has a line any day of the week at noon. I walked through the door straight to the order counter as if I was the only person in the world who had not heard that average BBQ was about to fall in their lap. Alas the sad fate of disappointment that is a part of the life of a BBQ snob, good BBQ is hard to find.
I agree with Jim that the brisket was cooked perfectly but there was no taste other than smoke and meat. As far as I could tell, no rub had touched this brisket - no slat, no pepper, nada anything. Frankly I enjoy a nice crispy, spicy rub but there was none to be found at Slow Bone.
The ribs were a total bust. I pulled a totally dry bone out the end of the rib and looked down the dry hole where it used to reside. Was it noon or the end of the day when the meats been sitting out too long. Any rub detected was average.
Last but least was the cilantro sausage which is not your average fair among the BBQ joints. As you can see from Jim's picture it was a coarse grind lacking in fat on the dry side - this was highlighted by a distinct vinegar taste. Would definitely steer clear of this item in the future. Snappy casing could not save this link.
I have to admit I am not a fan but will try again to see if this was an off day.

Red Glasses


11 years ago

"I'll eat those words faster than that 2nd rib."

True to my word I went back after a 6 day breather and was pleasantly surprised. 1st off the parking lot was packed and I did have a little wait to order. To be fair to Slow Bone, Riverfront is an industrial area and any joint has got to be geared up for the weekday lunch crowd. I saw fresh product being cut and a cozy, lively atmosphere to boot.
I'm not changing my mind on the sausage. While it did not have the vinegar taste of Saturday's I didn't like the flavor profile or the dry, coarseness of the link. Next time I'll try another type and there will be a next time because.....
The fatty brisket was cooked perfectly. Besides and a cute little smoke ring there was a nice blend of rub to flavor the meat that had a basic, no muss, no fuss, salt and pepper finish. Read here (sigh of relief). Jim is no amateur but after trying Slow Bone on his review I had my doubts. Like Jim I am now a fan because....
The ribs were fabo! It was a different type of rib that I had from the Saturday before and this sucker was a juicy, tender delight. I especially liked the rub which had some subtle undertones I could not place but which could have been sage? In all this read here (cooked perfectly). The ribs alone will keep me coming back.
On the recommendation of a fellow cyclist I tried a wonderful cauliflower/broccoli side which was something that is totally unique to Slow Bone. This not not look very good on the serving line but do not eat with your eyes. I also thought the greens were great too. For a perfect trifecta go with the hush puppy (superb).
I wish I could ask Daniel to drop Gatlin's or Cowpoke's off the TM50, Slow Bone is much more deserving of the spot.


Jim Rossman

11 years ago

BBQ is certainly subjective and we've all had meat from places having an off day. But Slow Bone's brisket and ribs have me won over.

It's my new go-to place for lunch. Still love Pecan Lodge and Lockhart Smokehouse, but the meat at Slow Bone is superb and you're not waiting an hour in line....yet.

I would expect you to be harshest on the sausage, RG, and I have to say I've tried all three of Slow Bone's sausages and I've yet to find one that I'd call a favorite. Several have been good, but not great.

Austin Top 5 plus Snow's

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