Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Review: Clark's Outpost - Tioga, TX

Restaurant: Clark's Outpost

As soon as I read about this barbeque shrine out in middle-of-nowhere texas, about the helicopters that land in the opposite field, about the four-day pecan smoked brisket; I knew this was my kind of place.

Tioga, Texas is commonly known as Gene Autry's hometown. Home to around 200 families - there's not a lot going on here. Clark's is the town's main (only) draw.

The Outpost does a superior job of drawing attention away from the four or five bolted on steel buildings (presumably to deal with expansion and distribution of their mail-order business) with a weathered, charming front entrance and porch. The neatest looking barbeque place I have ever been to.

When I ordered a beer (everyone was drinking Grolsch) I was asked for my membership card. What? Apparently, Tioga is in a dry neighborhood, in order to sell me alcohol, I needed to join the private club. After filling out my name and address, I am now a card carrying member of the Clark's Outpost Restaurant and Club.

Fortunately, I'm not one to let a little bureaucracy ruin good barbeque. I ordered the beef and rib combo with some potato salad and "French Fried Corn". I finished that pretty quick and order the beef and sausage combo for desert. The waitress was in love.

Anyhow, the brisket is the main attraction - everything else was good, but not great - certainly benefitting from the character and atmosphere of the restaurant itself. The brisket was a game-changer. I think the thing that struck me the most about it was how uniform its consistency was. It wasn't dry in some places and moist in others; it didn't fall apart, but it wasn't tough at all. It was velvety - almost like eating a uniform processed product and the pecan smoke was perfect, not overpowering at all.

The accompanying sauce (also served in a Grolsch bottle which, according to the waitress, has lead to some pretty humorous disasters) was excellent. Between Clark's, Montgomery Inn, and Uncle Ed's (all available online) I will have to do a blind taste test...

Clark's opened in 1974 and if you're in the area and have the time, it's certainly worth a stop. The people are really friendly, the atmosphere is exquisite and the brisket is the real deal.

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