If I told my dad I was going to a restaurant that is essentially a barbecue, he would ask me why I don't come home more often. The guy cooks a lot of barbecues — and is pretty proud of it — but he has a tendency to overcook a steak. So I didn't mention that I was going to Bluebonnet Barbecue. But as it turns out, it's something to write home about.
As you'd expect, everything is pretty simple here. Choose your meat and your sides, and it will all come out of a big silver tray. Eating straight off the butcher's paper is fine too. The menu varies each day depending on what the guys have got their hands on, but you can pretty much rely on the likes of smoked Berkshire pulled pork, brisket and Angus beef ribs. Maybe some pork belly and braised beef cheeks in there for good measure, too. One thing to watch out for is their house-made sausage of the day — I only hope you get there on a day when they're doing their beef, cheddar and jalapeno special.
And it's very unlikely they'd ever overcook any piece of meat at Bluebonnet. I know this because during our visit head chef Chris Terlikar checked the smoker intermittently — this stuff is cooked to the minute. And it shows. The beef cheek was so juicy you could almost stick a straw in it, and the brisket was tender, smoky and pull-apart perfect.
The sides are far from the main event, but they're as important as the meat — and just as good. We recommend ordering the Kipfler potato salad with artichoke, leek and horseradish aioli, the broccoli with whipped feta and smoked almonds and the apple and kohlrabi slaw to balance out the heaviness and stop your digestive system from going into overdrive. That, or a swig of American whiskey. And who knows, maybe a smoked maple and bacon ice cream sandwich might help too?
However you go about it — there is even a vegan barbecue option — Bluebonnet is a fun time for pretty much everybody. And it's a good place to take your dad.
Updated: April 22, 2016.