Crossroads BBQ fails to deliver the goods
Good pulled pork and pecan smoke can’t rescue shop
The first time I showed up at Crossroads BBQ in Balcones Heights, all they had left was chopped barbecue. The second time? Just sausage, pulled pork, chopped barbecue. No brisket, no chicken, no ribs.
Brisket in 30 minutes, maybe. No word on chicken. Pork ribs in the afternoon, maybe.
I understand selling out, but this smelled more like poor planning, a smell as strong as the smoke hugging the building like Saharan desert dust. Where’s all that smoke going? Maybe it’s pouring into the live music that burns up the Facebook page for Crossroads, where live music cranks up from 7 to 11 p.m. Monday, Friday and Saturday.
Nevermind. A half-hour later I had everything but ribs and chicken in front of me. You go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had.
And you call ahead to see what the other side’s got.
Grand champion: With fat, greasy knobs of pork interwoven with crispy floss and peppery bark, the pulled pork
($11.99 a pound) put on the best show at Crossroads. Especially with a splash of the mustardbased “tangy” sauce that lived up to its name.
The trinity: You can’t win if you don’t show up ready to play, and two-thirds of a trinity is no trinity at all. But the snap-cased beef and pork sausage ($13.99 a pound) was pretty good, a strong conduit for the shop’s aromatic blend of pecan and oak smoke.
The brisket I waited around for? A split personality. It looked more like chopped beef, like it had been pulled off the fatty end by hand ($15.99 a pound for fatty, $16.99 lean). Some of the fat achieved that nice melting-butter stage, some of it was as white as Crisco. The shreds of lean were there to soak up the juice.
The common denominator: a sturdy cobblestone bark of salt and pepper
More from the pit: Remember when I said they were out of chicken? Not all the way. Turns out chicken is part of the “chopped barbecue” blend of chicken, sausage and beef on top of some good barbecue shop nachos.
That combo turned thick, home-style tortilla chips with ballpark queso and basic pintos into a full-size lunch. For $10.49, it should.
Sides: Given the shop’s casual relationship with its own menu, I wasn’t surprised to find school-cafeteria-grade pinto beans, mayo potato salad, cream corn and mac and cheese, overpriced in small cups at $3.10 each. Sauce: Besides that resounding tangy mustard sauce, the shop offers a sweet regular red and a dusky spicy version as flinty and hot as dried chiles. Mavericks: What barbecue joint fries its own potato chips? Crossroads uses a spiral slicer to form long chains of thin, crispy chips ($2.40) that curl like a golden crown around a barbecue sandwich.
Crossroads BBQ items (clockwise from top left): mac and cheese, brisket, tangy barbecue sauce, regular barbecue sauce, spicy barbecue sauce, pulled pork, peach cobbler, creamed corn, pinto beans, sausage, potato salad and house-fried potato chips.Crossroads BBQ