With all this barbeque reviewing it seemed unfair not to give some attention to some pretty good barbeque which is available right here in my own little town of Manor at Texas Traditional Barbeque. It’s located right on Highway 290 near the Manor stoplight, in the old red railroad shack which served fine barbeque for many years as Dusty’s Barbeque until Dusty retired a few years ago.
The new owner used to work at Southside Market in Elgin and when he decided to strike out on his own he moved a few miles down the road, brought his family with him, and set-up in a location already rich in barbeque tradition. Texas Traditional Barbeque is a true family operation with the kids working the counter a lot of the time. The building is small as can be. There’s barely room for a half-dozen tables inside, but there’s a drive-thru and you can get anything you want to go if there’s no room to sit down.
They offer all of the usual meats, but in addition to brisket, chicken, pork ribs and sausage, they also have some special items like baby-back ribs, pork steak and the recently added beef ribs. It’s a pretty impressive selection of meats for such a small place. Sides include beans, green beans, cole slaw, potato salad and corn. In addition to plates and meat by the pound you can get sliced or chopped brisket sandwiches, brisket wrapped in a tortilla and sausage wraps on bread or tortillas. There are lots of options and the prices are fairly reasonable.
What’s striking about Texas Traditional Barbeque is not that any particular item is outstanding or remarkable, but that all of their meats are so consistently above average. There is literally nothing they serve which isn’t pretty well done. At a lot of barbeque places there will be one or two items which are good and one or two which are unimpressive, but at TTBBQ you may not find your dream meal, but you’ll always be satisfied with what you get. One of the main reasons for their consistency of quality is a very solid rub which is used on most of the meats. It adheres well and has a good, strong flavor and seals in the smoke.
A sign on the front of the building advertises “Elgin Hot Sausage”, but although their sausage is made at Southwest Market, it’s made to their own recipe which has some significant differences from the Elgin standard. First off, the sausage is in short links like you find in Taylor rather than the long rings you find in Elgin. Second, it’s a bit hotter and a lot less greasy than sausage from Southside tends to be, while retaining the coarseness and solidity of a Southside sausage. The shorter length makes it perfect for wraps and the overall flavor is quite good. It does taste like a traditional Elgin sausage, but it’s just different enough to stand out.
There’s only so much I can say about the other meats. They’re all above average. The chicken can be a bit dry and sometimes the bisket has a slight sour aftertaste, but they’re both still quite good. I haven’t had a chance to try the beef ribs yet, but the baby back ribs are excellent. They’re tender and meaty and probably the best thing on the menu. The pork steak is a pork steak. I haven’t got much use for them, but at least the flavor of the ones at TTBBQ is pretty good, even if they’re typically gristly and dry. They must have something going for them because they often seem to be sold out.
I’m awfully glad that TTBBQ came to Manor and took over when Dusty retired. For someone who likes barbeque a lot, I find it enormously convenient to have barbeque of such consistent quality right in my own figurative back yard. If you’re on your way from Austin to Houston take a few minutes and stop here in Manor and give Texas Traditional Barbeque a try. You won’t be disappointed.