Category Archives: Barbecue

Mac’s offers Frito pie without the bag, with more flavor

My mother insisted that the tiny, foil bag would hold it. It might look like it’s all going to fall out, but it’s necessary that every bite — which she assured was tastier than it looked — land in the mouth and not on the cement ground beneath me.

It was hot in Santa Fe, N.M., on that summer day that was at least eight years ago. For some reason, before last week, that was the last time I had even tasted a Frito pie, and the bites of Frito, chili, cheese and onion all came on a plastic fork out of that Frito bag.

The Frito pie at Mac’s is served with beans, Frito corn chips, chopped beef and cheese with a side of barbecue sauce. Photo by TAYLOR ADAMS

Years have passed since then, and my return to the greasy meal came on a plate this time, served from behind the counter at Mac’s Bar-B-Que.

As we stood in a slow-moving line, leaning against the wood-paneled wall, I considered how to get the best of all the tastes here, and almost went for the easy way out of the meat plate. I was assured, however, that the best choice would be the Frito pie.

Aside from the meal filled with packaged chips, I was at first bothered because I thought the chili had beans. I was wrong. The beans didn’t have chili.

Still, I was promised I wouldn’t be disappointed.

My turn finally came, and I told the man behind the counter I’d I have the Frito pie. He gave the order to the woman behind the register and got to chopping the beef with an oversized knife.

The plate was larger than I needed, but after a few bites, I realized it was as large as I wanted. I still didn’t consume all that was on it, but that’s because my lunch break is only so long.

I didn’t really miss the chili, as the beans were a bold flavor underneath the meal, and the generous heap of chopped beef was the perfect foundation for melting cheddar cheese.

I went ahead and used the side serving of barbecue sauce to darken the meal further and give it a sweet kick. Had this “pie” been a disappointment, I could have had that sauce in the place of a meal.

Maybe some time I’ll return to Mac’s for that meat plate. But I do know that fewer than 10 years will pass until I have another Frito pie this time.

Mac’s Bar-B-Que
Location: 3933 Main St. in Dallas, 75226, 214-823-0731
Hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
Price: $
Ambiance: The room without music stays active with conversation of the restaurant’s usual customers. Casual spot that inevitably provides comfortable conversation.
Attire: casual
Payment information: major credit cards accepted
Alcohol: none served

Special thanks to Tom Benning, who recommended Mac’s to me.

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Why the line at Mike Anderson’s is worth the wait

A baked potato loaded with cheese, chives, chopped beef and sauce is more than enough to leave you satisfied. Photo by MICHAEL DANSER

The line of seven people out the door at 12:01 p.m. on a July day in Dallas is usually a good sign. You can feel even more confident about the wait ahead of you as the smell of smoked meat tells you it’s worth it.

Mike Anderson’s BBQ already has a decent reputation within the medical district: at least half the people in line with you will be wearing their scrubs.

Once you make your way through the glass door, past the menu hanging on the wall and to the beginning of the buffet line, you might be scrambling to place your fork and knife on your plastic tray.

The most important matter comes first: a sturdy man with a knife asking what kind of meat you want for lunch.

Mike Anderson’s menu has the typical offerings of meat plates, sandwiches and oversized baked potatoes.

When a potato this size is piled with cheese, chives, chopped beef and sauce, you have more than enough for a meal with each fork delivering a smooth, melted bite.

On my last visit, I went for the “bbq dinner plate.” When I asked for brisket, I wasn’t asked for how fatty I like it (a treatment I’m used to at Lockhart Smokehouse). I normally wouldn’t have minded too much, except my luck of my place in line had what was left of that hunk of brisket.

The BBQ dinner plate gets you two sides and three meats of your choice. Photo by TAYLOR ADAMS

The smoke ring looked fine, though the rest of the grey meat lacked real flavor and it really needed… sauce. Luckily, the sauce here is more than acceptable. It’s smoky and not overly sweet. Other visits have proved that good, more flavorful brisket can be served here.

The sausage—or hot links as they go here—is good, the meat is creamy, as much as meat can be, though the casing could use some extra crispness.

The real focus of this meal from the beginning should have been the ribs.  These are smooth and smoky, with flavor throughout—no sauce needed.

Down the buffet lines are various, expected side dishes. The cheesy corn bake with Poblano and onion is a velvety mash of a side, with a bit of spice and plenty of cheese. It outdoes many of the other, traditional options.

The coleslaw is laced with plenty of garlic, which combats the flavor of barbecue sauce if you happen to have the two in the same lunch.

The potato salad is more of creamed potatoes packed with the salad flavor. The barbecue beans and sausage are fine, but not up to par with other options in town. Photo by TAYLOR ADAMS

The side item listed as Mama’s Dill Tater Salad actually makes for a cup of flavorful creamed potatoes. This side bowl will be empty by the end of your meal.

The barbecue beans and sausage side is savory, though it comes out more of a soup than it should be.

If you’re looking for a more reasonably sized lunch, go for the sandwich—any chopped meat with a bit of sauce is sandwiched in a well-buttered bun.

Just before noon, the sun beats down on the side of the building where the line forms. Every so often, this meal is worth  this wait in the heat.

Mike Anderson’s BBQ
Location: 5410 Harry Hines Blvd. in Dallas, 75235, 214-630-0735, mikeandersonsbbq.com
Hours: 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday
Price: $$
Ambiance: A local dive with crowded booths and tables throughout the lunch hours
Attire: Casual
Payment information: Major credit cards accepted
Alcohol: BYOB

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