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An Aggie Tradition

The Brisket House on Woodway serves up a College Station classic.

I still remember trying to tell a college professor from New Jersey what was so special about brisket, a term she'd never heard before moving to Texas. Yes, it's that fat cap and the way it flavors and moistens the meat below it, but it's also the smoking process of the meat itself. And although The Brisket House uses a Southern Pride gas smoker (a contentious choice among serious 'cue hounds), the oak and pecan used in the cooker infuse the brisket with a woodsy, slightly sweet flavor that recalls campfires and backyard barbecues.

Kammerl responds knowingly to the condescending attitude that can emerge when discussing Southern Pride cookers: "These pits do the most incredible job of smoking the meat," he says. "So they can call it cheating, but I call it being able to go home at night and get some sleep knowing that my meat is being cooked correctly."

The wood even does a good job making normally boring, dry cuts — I'm looking at you, turkey — into a tender, juicy mess of meat. I'll confess, however, that my favorite way to enjoy the turkey here is chopped up and deposited into a loaded baked potato. If the meat does happen to be a little dry in the evenings, those soft, buttery baked potatoes are the way to go — it's the ultimate way to use barbecue leftovers outside of the classic day-after sandwich.
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The Aggie Special — we mean, Brisket House Special — takes alumni back.
Troy Fields
The Aggie Special — we mean, Brisket House Special — takes alumni back.

Location Info

Map

The Brisket House

5775 Woodway Drive
Houston, TX 77057

Category: Restaurant > Barbecue

Region: Galleria

Details

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
• Six-ounce special (one meat): $7.50
• One-pound special (four meats): $18
• BBQ plate (one meat): $8.50
• BBQ plate (two meats): $10
• BBQ sandwich: $5.75
• Stuffed baked potato: $7
• Slice of pie: $3


READ MORE:
• SLIDESHOW: Barbecue Done Right at The Brisket House
• BLOG POST: The Brisket House: A Barbecue Tradition


The Brisket House
5775 Woodway, 281-888-0331.

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What should be appreciated on their own, however, are the chicken and the pork ribs. A three-meat plate of chicken, ribs and brisket is the holy trifecta here — even with my respect for the awesome Aggie Special intact — and not just because it also comes with three sides.

Over a recent lunch with my mother, I ordered a plate of chicken and ribs for her, eager to see her reaction to my favorites. Teamed with my step­father, the woman had just come off a ninth-place win out of 127 entries at a local barbecue cookoff for her chicken recipe and was feeling rightfully cocky.

"So, what do you think?" I grinned as she picked the slick skin and flesh apart with her fingers, wolfing it down in the most ladylike manner possible.

"I think it's the best barbecue chicken I've ever had," she responded. No hesitation. The meat slid apart from the bone with almost no effort, the gloriously buttery taste of chicken fat melding with the sweet taste of pecan wood in the slightly crispy skin.

Sides are another area in which The Brisket House trounces the competition. It's almost a universal law that if a joint's barbecue is great, the sides will be ghastly. And vice versa: If the sides are good, forget about the 'cue. But both The Brisket House and another favorite, Gatlin's, put that rumor to rest. All of the sides here are made fresh each day; no Costco tubs here, just lovingly made dirty rice with livery bits or mashed sweet potatoes with a hint of cinnamon.

The best sides, however, are that baked potato salad and the coleslaw. The coleslaw is unlike any other coleslaw I've had in Houston: crunchy strips of cabbage just barely coated with mayonnaise that's been spiked with vinegar and caraway seeds. And the baked potato salad with fat shavings of Parmesan cheese, toothsome bacon bits and a generous binder of tangy sour cream is so good that the other sides here, while good, seem like a mere afterthought. If you're that starry-eyed optimist who's on the eternal hunt for a barbecue restaurant with sides as good as its barbecue, add the coleslaw and the baked potato salad to your three-meat trifecta of chicken, ribs and brisket; your hunt is over.

Kammerl himself seems stunned by the crowds that the little restaurant has drawn in just one year of operation: "Being in the restaurant business for 22 years, I've never had so many customers take a such a heartfelt interest in my food or in talking to me about the restaurant," he says, adding with a laugh, "Usually, when a customer wants to talk to you at a restaurant, it's not good."

"I've even had some old Aggies say it feels like a little piece of Texas A&M in Houston. It's great that they recognize it that way."

Although this might not be the type of barbecue joint that tends its old-fashioned, smoke-encrusted pits all night long, The Brisket House stands out from the crowd for its ability to make sides as good as its 'cue, and to serve them all on one plate with a friendly smile. This place will make a believer out of anyone who thought a strip mall off Woodway couldn't turn out some wicked Texas barbecue.

katharine.shilcutt@houstonpress.com

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16 comments
Carlos Closinhtown
Carlos Closinhtown

Seriously guys, the Brisket house is mediocre at best. It's edible, but definitely not worthy of the high praise you guys gave it. Good bbq is getting harder and harder to find here in Houston these days.

Ray Guy
Ray Guy

Poooor butthurt Gary:( whooooooooooooooooop! The Brisket House is the tits!

AggieGirl97
AggieGirl97

No Aggie special should come with a fork - just a knife - but I'm dying to try it.

yahoo-6XOC7JC6GUH7XCUNMAT4SHHNZM
yahoo-6XOC7JC6GUH7XCUNMAT4SHHNZM

You want to know what's bound to come... :)?

How about the fact that the Wizard of Westbury can't pass up the chance to take a shot at A&M while you just blatantly suck up to Aggies in a restaurant review?

I was an undergraduate in College Station when the original Tom's ruled Texas Avenue and I'm familiar with its downfall. I've looked for a substitute since 1993.

Brisket House might be the soul of Tom's original locations. I'll check it out.

And then I'll tell Wayne that "This looks good but Rich Connelly says anything related to A&M is an abomination to civilized people. Gotta go!"

Don't be hypocrites. And tell Rich to focus on press releases supporting his wife "acceleration" problem.

Rob Hays
Rob Hays

I knew there was a reason I loved Brisket House.

Tom's was on its last legs when I got to College Station in 1999, but I definitely had an Aggie Special more than once. Glad to know that Kammerl's doing well here.

Hunter
Hunter

Waa -waa-waaaaaaa. The first of the BBQ snobs has arrived. Guess what? I used to say the same thing until I tried Brisket House. Their meat is superb. Sorry Gary, but you're wrong.

Augustus
Augustus

Nice review Katharine, I'm look forward to getting an Aggie Special again...

Gary
Gary

The bbq at the Brisket House is terrible. I would not call meat cooked in an oven pit barbeque. If you want the real deal go around the corner to Baker's Ribs....

Elijah Wolford
Elijah Wolford

Correct, there's no fantastic bbq in houston. Hinzes down 59 south is damm good. I am embarrassed that there is not one, for god sake its Houston !

Augustus
Augustus

Went today, do away with the plastic knife and bring back the real one and we're good to go...Place filled up quick too, I'm sure Katharine helped spike their business with the review...

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

LOL! Well, considering it's now "The Brisket House Special," I suppose a few concessions are in order.

Jamie Schultea
Jamie Schultea

Yes the orignally location was on Texas Avenue, then was moved to S. College Avenue, along with 2nd location on Tx Avenue & Hollemann.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

"Blatantly suck up to Aggies?" Hmm. That's a new complaint. But nicer than the others usually are, so I'll take it.

Aside from the place serving great barbecue in and of itself, I was surprised to see an old Aggie tradition crop up like this in Houston and thought it was pretty cool. And that, as Paul Harvey would have said, is the rest of the story. Or, rather, the entire story in a nutshell.

craig
craig

Considering A&M wishes it were located in Houston. It kills them their world class school in in hickvill USA.

Had my first Tom's BBQ in 1988 and it was great. My wife and I make this at home all the time and always talk about Tom's.

 
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