In a world that has been forever changed by a global pandemic, you are hearing more and more stories of folks who have left their daily grind for a more soul satisfying career. This is one such story featuring a former financial advisor and his move into the world of Texas style BBQ.
Our band of foodies visited Texas Smoke based on an invite from Sherman of @shermansfoodadventures. He is well known for his quest for the best barbecue in the Lower Mainland and the surrounding areas, and he is a legitimate, certified barbecue judge. Therefore, when he declared Texas Smoke was true to authentic Texas style BBQ, and he was willing to chauffeur us there to prove it, we had no excuse not to go.
Texas Smoke BBQ is a stationary food truck that sits locked at the threshold of Driediger Farm. The property and farm owner is also the chef and financial analyst turned BBQ pit master. Their red, white, and blue Texas (the state) shaped sign and the scent of smoked meat leads your way. We arrived at 2pm and were able to avoid lining up. But be warned, from what I hear and saw, it does get lengthy an is steady. But those in it today were happy to wait for the meat and the end of the line, as it were. Langley locals know and do declare them the ones to visit.
You can take their meats and sides to go; or do like we did: and feasted on one of their available picnic tables, under the dry covering of pitched tents. And because it is outdoors, no vaccine passport is required.
And since we were travelling from Vancouver to Langley for a food truck, we knew we had to do it big. Five out of the six available meats (they ran out of the pork ribs) and all 6 sides. They are as follows, spread across a most impressive platter. A platter on a literal platter. The full piece of wood was carved out, sanded down, and varnished by the owner himself. And it is the most impressive way to present his entire menu offerings. It certainly added some umph to our visit.
Their brisket is smoked for 15 hours in their onsite smoker, with its unique axe handles. It is simply seasoned with a light salt and pepper so that the time and quality comes through. Tender cuts of meat with fatty tissue and sinew made for a enjoyable mouth feel.
Their beef “dyno” ribs were impressive. Thickly sliced up chunks, still attached to and served on bone. Each with perfect medium pink centres. This was definitely the most flavourful meat option.
The pulled pork was tender and fluffy. But truth be told, I am not fan of eating it as is. It just doesn’t have the same depth and workmanship as biting into a rib. Maybe in the future they will consider featuring their pulled pork in between buttery burger buns, along side their creamy slaw (below). And maybe fries as a side will be in their future as well, as burgers are best enjoyed with French fries.
The half chicken was actually my favourite item. The rub on the skin was fantastic. I loved it on the dark pieces, but the flavour and juiciness also permeated through to the tender white breast meat as well. This could very well be the “patty” of another burger option. This time on toasted garlic bread (that you can have as is, as well) with slaw, and maybe a crispy fried egg to double down on the poultry quota.
The smoked sausage offered a nice change in texture and flavour with its firm links and crispy shell. It sweetness was a nice balance to the smokiness of the meat, and it parallel the honey barbecue sauce. The same tangy and sweet sauce that we so generously squeezed over everything.
Where the meat options were delicious, I felt the sides fell short, and could have used some work. The sweat corn bread was dry and crumbly. I wanted a moist cake-like textured, that easily came out of the pans that they were baked in. It would have also been nice to have a little kick to it by way of jalapeños or some cracked pepper. Something to make it more complimentary to everything else, and more than just a sweet cake.
Similarly, the slaw was a little basic. It did the job, but was essentially just course cut iceberg and purple lettuce drizzled in a cream, that was more liquid than solid. A little crumb or a dressing with some zip would have been nice here. A twist, a finesse, something to make this and each side their own. And I know it is possible because they have done that very thing with their meaty offerings above. Plainly put, the sides just didn’t measure up.
I was not a fan of their use of store bought pickles, but at the same time needed a tangy element to cut into the grease, in between mouthfuls, so ate them all. However, it would have been nice if they made their own pickles. Small batch, considering they are on a farm, within farm community. Or they could have found a brand that was a little more local and specialized. Something to actually compliment their food, and not distract like the banana pepper did.
I appreciated that the smoked baked beans came with pulled pork for a mixed texture. But it still felt lacking. You wanted a thicker bean mash that was more on the syrupy side, much like canned baked beans. And maybe have it topped with some diced tomatoes for freshness. Something to better contrast all the other texture above, and to help created a needed non-meaty break between bites.
In short this was a great meal. More than enough to feed 4, with leftovers that can be eaten across several days. I will definitely be back for new menu items, and if they offer a concert series with a liquor license in tow, as I suggested.
Texas Smoke BBQ
23788 72 Ave, Langley Twp, BC V1M 3K9