Pot Luck

The Brisket House: A Barbecue Tradition

The Brisket House -- the subject of this week's cafe review -- may only be a year old, but it brings with it years of barbecue tradition in the form of owner and pitmaster Wayne Kammerl. A&M grads or fans of Central Texas barbecue may remember Kammerl as one of the men behind the now-closed Tom's Barbecue, home of The Aggie Special.

The Aggie Special was a half-pound knot of barbecue served on a sheet of white butcher paper along with a hunk of Cheddar cheese, half a white onion and a whole pickle. It was the stuff of legend, until new owners took Tom's over and ran it quickly into the ground.

Now rechristened by Kammerl as The Brisket House Special, it's being served up at The Brisket House, the only place in Houston -- and maybe the only place in Texas -- that's still serving this old tradition.

Aside from The Brisket House Special, though, the barbecue joint serves up a wonderful menu of favorites that's made all the more fascinating by its location: an upscale, Tanglewood-area strip mall (although the reasonable prices don't reflect its location). And even more impressively, the sides here are every bit as good as the barbecue. It's almost a home run, save for the occasional dry cuts of brisket that come out of Kammerl's Southern Pride smoker.

It's also open at night, rare for a barbecue restaurant, but the food is truly enjoyed when it's at its freshest during the day. My idea of a nearly perfect lunch is The Brisket House's three-meat plate with fatty brisket, tender ribs and smoked chicken, a scoop of baked potato salad and tart coleslaw rounding out the meal.

If this has piqued your 'cue interests, head over to our review this week to read more about Kammerl and his barbecue background. And check out our slideshow to see some of the juiciest meat porn we've featured in quite a while.

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Katharine Shilcutt