Old Tomball BBQ follow-up – Tomball

Not long ago I got a response from the owners of Old Tomball BBQ for a review I wrote about a year ago. They shared that they had appreciated the review and had made some adjustments. They invited me back to give them another try. I thought that was very classy. And being one to never want to turn down an offer to eat barbecue, I headed back to give it another go and see how things had changed/improved.

I got there early, just after they had opened. Sadly, the pork ribs weren’t ready yet, which was disappointing. So instead of ribs, I went with sausage in addition to the brisket. I asked for moist brisket, and it was really quite good. The fat could have been trimmed just a bit more (I like to trim mine to about a quarter inch), and there was one small area that seemed to have just a small bit of under-rendered fat. But the rest was very tasty. The bark was outstanding. The smoky flavor was very good. All-in-all, a very solid brisket! The sausage was also very good, with great flavor and good snap on the casing. I would say they have definitely upped their game and the barbecue is excellent; better than it was this time last year.

After we enjoyed our meal, we got to visit with the owner and pitmaster. Old Tomball BBQ is a family business. Fidel Cardozo, Sr. is head honcho. His son, Fidel Jr, is a very versatile member of the team. And I also got to meet Fidel Sr’s niece who was running the cash register.

My favorite part of the visit was a quick tour that I got of the pit room. Out back behind the restaurant is a nicely enclosed pit room. The centerpiece is a Southern Pride cabinet pit. They use only hickory and pecan wood. The rub consists of black pepper, seasoned salt and garlic. For their brisket, this dry rub goes on as-is, dry. For all the other meats they take the same dry rub and mix it with vegetable oil to make a wet rub/slather. Fidel really practices the barbecue manta of low-and-slow – he keeps the temperature in the pit at 200F, and the briskets enjoy a 13-14 hour smoke bath. He was so kind and gracious – I really appreciated the opportunity to talk with him. As we concluded the tour, he even shared a sample of some barky pieces from a brisket he had just pulled. SO DELICIOus! During our conversation, I also learned that on weekends they do pulled pork. That alone is worth a weekend run – and maybe I’ll finally get to try their pork ribs too.

If you are in the Tomball area, it is definitely worth a stop at Old Tomball BBQ to enjoy some well-smoked, handcrafted barbecue. And when you go, tell Fidel I said howdy.

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