The food was generally good, but inconsistent including one significant problem: much of the brisket was too dry, including the interior of the moist brisket and most of the lean brisket. Nearly bone dry, which was disconcerting and not something that you would find at top barbecue place. Those pieces were not very enjoyable, even though had a pretty good and balanced smoke character from the oak, and eaten with a decent amount of their mild house-made sauce.
In contrast, the fatty exterior was excellent, but there just was not enough of it. That gives me hope for future visits, especially when eschewing an order of the lean brisket. The Central Texas-style sausage was solid, the pulled pork was decent, but without the flavor or most other local versions. The chile-spiked corn casserole was quite satisfying and not overly heavy. Alas, the bread was of the super-processed Mrs. Baird’s variety. I find it odd that barbecue joints take such care in their smoking and some now even the provenance of their beef and other ingredients, but then serve garbage chemical bread. Traditional, but stupid.
Though there is hope for the brisket given the tastiness of the bark and the attractively and appropriately rendered pink smoke rings on the brisket (even when overly dry), a couple of other things gave me pause about a quick return visit. Midtown Barbecue has a setup like a sports bar; it could be a very good place to catch a game. It’s a bar, and has a full bar, too. Given its location in Midtown, it is wise to serve the needs of the nighttime visitors to the area. But, that ensures that the focus is not entirely on the barbecue. Their website also has a prominent link to their merchandise, another quibble indicating to me that the restaurant’s attention might be divided.
I’ll be back at some point, as I’m rooting for places within walking distance. My co-worker – rightly smitten with Killen’s Barbecue and the top places in central Texas – said he won’t be returning anytime soon, though.