Pit nostalgia

pit.jpgWhen I see the Susanna Dickinson house in Brush Square, all derelict and roofless, I’m saddened by its state. The successor building that stands on its former location may be seen to the left in this image. The historic connection with an Alamo survivor is the reason that the old structure wasn’t just plain demolished to make way for the hotel. For many, though, the history it brings to mind is more recent. It stands as a sad reminder of vanished BBQ delights, consistent and worth every penny, for which no replacement has yet been discovered. It was better protected when it was part of The Pit, preserved in wood smoke. Then it had a roof, and that roof covered many, many happy noontime diners and evening takeout customers. When the BBQ craving is too strong to ignore, we most often resort to the Iron Works. The quality of the meat is fine, though there’s some sweetness detectable in the rub. Nobody wants shoeleather, but the Iron Works doesn’t seem to keep two briskets going for slicing, just the one, which may be done to a turn, or not. Two out of three times, it seems, it hasn’t been in the pit a sufficient period to render out enough of the fat to suit the taste of many. Those two times create a disappointment; the third time’s a bonanza. Maybe the majority doesn’t like BBQ as well done as it used to. It’s wonderful that the Iron Works is downtown, even with its inconsistencies, because it’s a delightful place in and of itself, no matter how long the brisket’s been in the pit on any given day. But I’ll never stop missing The Pit #3.

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