Tag Archives: restaurant reviews

Buy Local Spotlight: Eating out at Stomp’s Burger Joint in Bacliff, Texas

In an effort to promote local products and places, The Complete Package and I ventured out last Sunday in search of the perfect hamburger. There’s an urban myth in the Houston area that Stomp’s Burger Joint in Bacliff, Texas has not only developed near perfect hamburgers, but has also mastered the art of onion rings. We knew it would be a sacrifice, but we were willing to take one for the team to find out if the rumors were true. With our stretchy pants on and our camera in hand, we set out on the hour-long drive to Bacliff on Highway 146 along Galveston Bay, a few minutes south of Kemah.

Inside seating at Stomp's is limited, so go early or be prepared to wait.

We knew we had arrived when we saw a brown wooden structure with STOMP’S painted on the roof. As expected, the place was crowded and we found ourselves pulling into an over-flow parking lot adjacent to the restaurant. When you get there, it’s “seat yourself” and be forewarned, inside tables are hard to come by. If you insist on air-conditioning you may very well have to wait, but if you’re willing to brave the heat, Stomp’s has a screened patio with extra outdoor seating. Once you find a table, a busy waitress will greet you promptly and get to work on your drink order. Choices include tea (sweet & unsweetened), soft drinks and beer. We went for a Dr Pepper and a Shiner. This is Texas, after all.

The Yippee Ki Yay burger at Stomp's - it's a good one.

When it comes to burgers, there is something for everyone at Stomp’s. Like them plain? Got it. Prefer your burger with double meat, gooey cheese and chopped jalapenos? Done. Marinated in wine? Yep. Marinated in ranch? You betcha. Smothered in chili, salsa, mushrooms or refried beans? They do that, too. I chose the Hog Wild burger, which featured a single, hand-packed meat patty with smokey bacon mixed in. I topped mine with cheese, tomatoes, onion and avocado with a little mayo. TCP ordered the Yippee Ki Yay burger that included a single meat patty marinated in ranch and topped with BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, and all the fixin’s. Both burgers were tasty. The meat is freshly ground and hand shaped, so there’s no fear of getting a frozen, pre-shaped patty. No mass-produced burgers here, folks. These things were fresh and homemade and lovely. They were crisp and smokey on the outside, and juicy on the inside.

The key to those big, gorgeous rings? Order them double-dipped.

Our next choice was fries or onion rings. Reviews we’d seen on the internet warned that the fries were of the generic frozen variety and should be skipped. Instead, we went for the hand-battered rings. We ordered one batch of rings the regular way and one “double dipped”, as suggested in one review. When they arrived, however, both orders came out double-dipped. Once we tried them, we were thankful for the mix-up. The double-dipped onion rings came out so thick and crunchy, they were hard to resist. We were also thankful we’d each ordered a plate, since both of us decided we didn’t want to share. A standard order of onion rings comes with 5-7 thick sliced rings. We agree with other reviewers: skip the fries and order the onion rings; double-dipped is the way to go.

Overall, we consumed two juicy, flavor-packed burgers, two orders of double-dipped onion rings, a big glass of Dr. Pepper and a frosty Shiner beer. Our total bill was $28 including the tip. So now the big question is, “Was it worth it?” Yes. I wouldn’t say it was worth driving 2 hours round-trip just to visit Stomp’s, but if we’re ever in the Galveston Bay area and we’re craving a burger & rings, we would definitely stop in again. So, it appears the rumors are mostly true. Stomp’s does make a great burger and they have definitely mastered the art of onion rings, especially if you go for double-dipped deliciousness. But best burger ever? I’m not willing to make that leap. I’d put them in our Top 5 in the Houston area. Maybe even Top 3, and that’s not bad. Not bad at all.

The Stomp’s website is sparse, with only a restaurant logo and a scanned copy of the menu to choose from, but thanks to YELP, you can get a map and read reviews posted by those who’ve gone before you. There are also a few photos to browse. I’ll admit, I read the reviews before we went and it paid off. We would never have known that you could order your onion rings “double dipped” without those reviews. Now, if only Stomp’s would switch to hand-cut fries…

For what it’s worth, you can find the Stomp’s website at: http://www.stompsburgerjoint.com/

To read what others are saying about Stomp’s, try YELP.com at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/stomps-burger-joint-bacliff

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Brisket at Black’s in Lockhart, Texas: OMG doesn’t begin to describe it!

Listen up, kids. We have serious business to discuss. Brisket business. And in Texas, that’s as serious as it gets besides football. This weekend, on our way to Austin for the big race, The Complete Package and I took a side trip to Lockhart, Texas for a barbecue lunch. What makes Lockhart unique is the sheer volume of BBQ heavy-hitters within one square mile of each other. Four of the best barbecue places in Texas can be found in Lockhart, and that’s bold talk for a tiny town. Barbecue is the main event here and trust me – these people aren’t playing around. Today, we’re following the big yellow arrow to Black’s Barbecue, just off the main square. Strap on your fat pants, people. It’s about to get tasty.

Sure there's a line. This place is a meat palace. Suck it up, mister!

Don’t let the line fool you. It moves pretty quickly, and in our case it wasn’t because it was crowded inside, it was because you go through a slow-moving lunch platter assembly line of home crafted pleasure. Once you get to the head of the line, you’ll have the opportunity to fill your plate with homemade sides from pickles to potato salad to mac & cheese and chili beans or candied yams.

You'll get misty eyed when you see all the sides. Stay focused. Eyes on the prize!

They even have banana pudding, cobbler and pie on that line. But be warned: you do NOT want to fill up on the sides and miss the main event. And once you try the meat, you’ll be sorry you wasted precious plate space on what will forever be thought of as useless filler. Delicious, homemade filler for sure, but still…meat is the headliner here. Because this was our first visit and I got side-tracked, I tried the chili beans and pickles with a yeast roll. TCP sampled the potato salad, coleslaw and mac & cheese. As for meat, we both went with what they’re known for – the “wet” brisket and homemade jalapeno cheese sausage.

A typical plate at Black's. Wait...there's nothing typical about the food at Black's!

Okay, here’s where we explore the “brutally honest” portion of this review. I cannot tell a lie. I love jalapeno cheese sausage, but I didn’t love it here. It wasn’t even in my Top 10. I saw the flecks of jalapeno and little blobs of cheese, but I couldn’t taste any of it. It was bland, and that’s not good for a sausage that’s designed to pack a punch. I’m sorry, sausage lovers, but the texture and taste of this one left me disappointed. That said, however, the brisket more than made up for it. Oh, that brisket! That gorgeous, fatty, smoke infused, blackened hunk of beefy perfection! I can hardly contain myself. It’s like buttuh, I tell ya’.

That smoke ring...that black crust...that layer of fat. I just want MORE!

Let’s just bottom line it, shall we? This is the best brisket I’ve ever eaten in my entire life. Bar none. Hands down. No competition even remotely close. Seriously. And no, my maiden name is not Black. I’ve sung the praises of the Salt Lick in Driftwood. I’ve dined on the picnic tables at Kreuz Market in Lockhart. But this one….this one is different. This brisket fell from heaven, carried by angels who obviously love their purebred Texas cattle. This one belongs in the record books. There are very few foods in the world that I could binge on until I feel nauseous, but this is one of them. I could eat it every day. I would surely die of a coronary, but I would argue that it might just be worth it. Like totally.

Come for the brisket, but stick around for the charming atmosphere.

The interior of Black’s is decorated in circa 1958 “Grandad’s Fishing Cabin” which adds to the charm. I didn’t even notice the dead animals on the wall until most of my lunch had been consumed. Yup, this place has charm. The clientele is as varied as the sides. You’ll find yourself in line with tour groups, couples, families and bikers. And that just makes it better. At Black’s Barbecue, people from every walk of life come together to celebrate smoky meat. And when it comes to brisket, Black’s is definitely worth celebrating.

Take Me Back to Blacks. YES, PLEASE!

To learn more about Black’s BBQ, you can go to http://www.blacksbbq.com/

Disclaimer: NanaBread is not related to or compensated by the Black family or anyone else associated with Black’s BBQ in Lockhart, Texas. She is just an outspoken, meat-eating, BBQ loving Texan seeking smokey perfection wherever she can find it. And there’s nothing wrong with sharing the gospel of brisket.

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