Cross­roads BBQ fails to de­liver the goods

Good pulled pork and pecan smoke can’t res­cue shop

San Antonio Express-News (Sunday) - - Taste - By Mike Sut­ter STAFF WRITER

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.

Mike Sut­ter / Staff

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

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