Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Rudy's Country Store and Bar-B-Q

CROSSROAD CUISINE - My quest to find great local food when I'm on the road.

One of my favorite things about Texas is the food. There is so much great regional food like barbecue, chili and Tex-Mex. You could write an entire blog just talking about great places to eat in Texas. Today I want to talk about Bar-B-Q and in Texas that means beef brisket.

Normally I don't eat at chain restaurants. But I really don't consider Rudy's a chain. There are only a handful of locations. 18 in all of Texas and that's a pretty big state. Outside of Texas there is one in Oklahoma and one in New Mexico. So if you spot a Rudy's it's likely the only one around.

I went to the one in Brownville TX which is near the Rio Grande Premium Outlets (if you're flying out of Harlingen or Brownsville TX). There is also one in Round Rock TX near the Round Rock Premium Outlets. You can also find one in Houston, El Paso and San Antonio if you are visiting those outlet centers.

If it looks like a filling station.....that's because it is.

You have to trust me on this one. I normally don't eat where I can pump gas, but this is different. Inside you go up to the counter and place your order. You order your meat by the 1/2 pound or you can get a sandwich. Then you pick out your sides.

You can also pick up one of many ice cold beers they have conveniently next to where you wait in line to order.

If you are eating here they have some fun casual picnic tables where you can eat.

Each table has a caddy with BBQ sauces as well as hot sauces.

This is real Texas BBQ so it doesn't come with sauce on it, but your welcome to add it yourself. They have Rudy's house sauce which is a great slightly spicy sauce. Or they have a mild sauce which they appropriately named Sissy Sause. (Yes that's how they spell it)

OK now lets order. If you have never been here or had Texas BBQ then you have to get the beef brisket. You can get it one of 3 ways: Moist, Extra Lean or Cutters Choice. Shown here is extra lean, but I also like the moist (it has more fat). You can save a little money if you get Cutters Choice, it's cheaper. All meats are served with large helpings of white bread so you can make your own sandwiches if you want. You can also pick up all the pickles, onion, or hot peppers you want at no extra charge.

Now before I continue let me clarify something. On this trip I was in Texas for three days. I didn't eat all this in one meal. In fact I ate at Rudys three days in a row. (It's that good and there is plenty of variety).

Texans will brand me a heretic but my favorite thing here is the smoked turkey breast. It is very moist and delicious with a mild smoky flavor and it is coated with a great black pepper seasoning.

Another great meat choice is their whole link sausage.  Shown her is the regular sausage but they also serve Jalapeno Sausage which I have had on prior visits. Both are good.

Other meat choices that are not shown are Pork Loin, Chopped Beef, Pork Ribs, Baby Back Ribs, Half Chicken, or Pulled Pork. I'm going to have to keep going back to try all of these.

The meat is great but one of my favorite reasons to go to Rudys is for their amazing side dishes. The best is the Sweet Cream Corn. Seriously if you don't get any other side dish you have to try this. It's excellent.

I tried the Green Chile Stew for the first time on this trip. I would definitely get it again. It has a great green chile flavor. It has bits of BBQ in it which gives it just the right amount of smoky flavor. It's filled with potatoes, tomatoes, celery and carrots and the spice nicely warms your mouth while you eat it.

And of course what would Texas BBQ be without beans. Like the Green Chile Stew the Pinto Beans have bits of BBQ in them which give it a great flavor.

Other sides available are Three Bean Salad, Corn on the Cob, Potato Salad, Cole Slaw, New Potatoes or a Jumbo Smoked Potato.

I was always too filled for dessert but they do have Pecan Pie, Buttermilk Pie, Peach Cobbler, Banana Pudding, Chocolate Pudding and Rice Krispy Treats if you still have room.

For other great places to eat when your on the road, check out these prior posts:

Grimaldi's Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria

Al's #1 Italian Beef

The 5-8 Club, Home of the Juicy Lucy

Barley Creek Brewing Company

If you liked this post then you have to get this book:

500 Things to Eat Before Its Too Late

Mark Libell


  1. Mark - Great profile on Rudy's. If you're gonna stray a bit from the typical outlet business, this is the way to do it!
    I did 10 years in TX and they were one of my favorites. Unfortunately after salivating over these pictures, I need now need to find the best local substitute since the closest one is over 1000 miles away!
    Keep the food posts coming. ...after all, it is part of the shopping experience.

  2. Thanks for the positive feedback Seth. After traveling to outlet centers in 43 states for over 13 years you get a little bored with fast food, Applebees and room service. I love to pass along great local places I have found to eat while on the road visiting the outlet centers.

    They are always tied to an outlet I have visited so I think it relates.

    I'm always on the look out for new places so if anyone has any please let me know.