The place that taught me Texas Barbecue…and has always been there when I needed them.
The third in our series of reviews for great places just in case you decide to travel outside of Southern California, just to give you taste of what else is out there.
When it comes to Southeast Texas, and more to the point, Houston…there was only one name when it comes to Barbecue in town: Gatlin’s.
Gatlin’s (I’m sure) is a fine, fine Barbecue Joint in a City full of at least better-than-decent Barbecue Joints.
I’m “sure” because…well…I haven’t been there.
No seriously, tried twice…burned by Gatlin’s twice.
Gatlin’s has two distinct disadvantages for someone actually…you know…interested in purchasing their Barbecue. One is their hours…which are limited to say the least. There can be long waits, and assuming of course, you get there they hopefully haven’t run out of Barbecue for the day.
Which is what happened to me.
It is the operating philosophy of this site that you should only have to go through so much to get a good meal. Granted, there are phenomenal chefs out there, preparing amazing food…amazing food that’s hard to get, but…there’s only so much crap you should have put up with.
Which is why, instead of Gatlin’s, I am focusing on a Barbecue Joint that is always there for me, that is open at decent hours, that never runs out of Barbecue.
I’m focusing on Goode Company.
My first trip back to Houston, I’m still mourning the death of my Mother a bit. One of the things I’m missing is her cooking of course, and the loss of a taste and a flavor I’ll never experience again. Believe it or not, my first trip to Goode’s I got a little of it back. It was in that moment, I learned what Texas Barbecue was about…and that I’d been eating it all my life (Thanks Mom!).
Goode’s…ain’t pretty. It’s literally a Barn sitting in the middle of the West University District of Houston (given that both Rice University and the University of St. Thomas as not that far away. The interior (what interior there is) is a collection of memorabilia of every Texas Stereotype you can think of.
Still, it’s a nice place to sit and eat. Goode Company works it Cafeteria style. You saunter up to the back of the line. You grab some silverware. You maybe grab a Beer or a Drink, then you order your meat. The Staff will dice it up, slice it up for you. You get your sides, you get some sauce (and this is my favorite sauce in Barbecue-dom), and pay your way.
Truth be told, you can’t be okay or decent at Barbecue and expect to survive in Houston. In fact I have been told, that Los Angeles’ supposed finest Barbecue Joint, Bludso’s Bar N’ Cue, as good as it is, would not last in Houston. That’s okay, believe it or not. Barbecue is a religion in Texas, not as much in Los Angeles.
I have nothing bad to say about Gatlin’s. I have nothing at all to say about Gatlin’s until I complete a successful visit there, and I’m wondering when that’s going to happen. But Goode has always been there for me. It has always welcomed me. It has always given me a damn good meal, and has never let me down.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Well, simply put…you should get the Texas Trinity in some form or another.
The Texas Trinity is a term I cooked up (I think). It refers to the three main meats that are a part of every Texas Barbecue Plate: Your Brisket, Your Ribs and Your Sausage.
How much you get is up to you and your stomach. There are plates available that can handle all three, as well as a by-the-pound option. Your main choice is going to between the Spicy Sausage and the Czech Sausage. The Spicy Sausage is seriously, seriously spicy. If you can roll with that, roll with that. But when you’re in Texas, and they say “spicy”, they mean spicy. No lie.
Another choice is whether or not to get the Jalapeño Bread. Again, this is Texas and I’ve already told you that spicy means spicy. For the uninitiated, proceed with caution.
Oh, and you might want to get yourself a Pecan Pie while you’re at it. (See Parking, below)
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Well, go in knowing that there is PLENTY of places to sit if you’re not Taking your grub home. Thing is, it’s all going to depend what the temperature is like. If it’s Thanksgiving (when it can get cold and rainy) or Summer (when it’s not just hot, but TEXAS HOT), going indoors might be your best option, and there ain’t a lot of room in that Texas Memorabilia room. There is a LOT of seating out by the take out window. It’s covered, and in cold weather will be sealed up by that…roll down plastic stuff that the outdoorsy folks us.
The Sauce is available for sale in bottle form, but trust me. It’s a night and day difference between what you get from a bottle and what you get served up in a little plastic tin fresh from the counter. Always go with the counter for your BBQ Sauce needs.
PARKING: Pretty damn good. Right alongside where the outdoor eating is (see: roll down plastic stuff above) is a line of nine or so parking spots.
They’ll be filled.
But there’s a bigger lot out behind the Restaurant, that should be okay. The only time I’ve ever seen it filled was around the Holiday, when everybody, and I mean EV-ERY-BODY is going there to get a Pecan Pies for the occasion.
Goode Company (Kirby Location No. 1)
5109 Kirby Dr
Houston, TX 77098
Tel: (713) 522-2530
Monday-Sunday 11 am – 10 pm