I first heard about a new BBQ joint over in Cypress about a month or so ago called The Texas BBQ Lab. I finally got a chance to run over there today and give them a try, and I’m sure glad I did. I got to visit with the husband and wife team for a bit – Daniel and Kim Bailey are just some of the nicest folks you’ll ever get to know. They moved to the Cypress area from North Carolina not quite a year ago. And they’ve been running a food truck, but just recently occupied a great little kitchen space inside a convenience store at the southwest corner of Grant and Malcomson. They’ve been up and running at this location for a little over a month now, and it appears so far so good – in spite of the winter storm that wreaked havoc on so many businesses and people all over Texas last week. When I got there, I was a little surprised that they are housed inside a convenience store. But the lower overhead and built-in customer flow that comes from being part of a convenience store (think taco shops all over the place that are housed inside gas stations). I was happy to see that there are a few tables and space to sit and eat in if desired.
Coming from North Carolina, Daniel is a big fan of NC whole hog barbecue. But even though he may new to Texas barbecue, he has definitely adopted the Central Texas BBQ mentality. He’s running post oak and charcoal in his Lone Star Grillz cabinet pit out in the parking lot. And his brisket rub is nothing but salt and cracked black pepper. I loved chatting with this great couple. As much as I enjoyed talking with them, I also thoroughly enjoyed their brand of Texas barbecue. I got to try both the brisket and pork ribs. And I tried the smoked mac-n-cheese and their BBQ baked beans. I had Daniel get me a bit of both moist and lean – and I was very happy with both. The bark was dark and flavorful, and there was a nice smoke ring. The fat was well-rendered in both the lean and the moist and the smoky flavor overall was just what I would expect. The pork ribs were excellent as well. Daniel had shared that he was using a St Louis cut sparerib. But when I opened the box, what I found was more reminiscent of a full spare, which really made me very happy. I am just a sucker for all the moist and delicious flap meat that is all tangled up in the cartilage of a sparerib. The ribs were really nicely seasoned and beautifully cooked with a great bark and a great flavor. The meat pulled away from the bone with a tug. Daniel makes all his own barbecue sauce, which is a hybrid of a NC vinegar-base and a Texas sauce. I was a little apprehensive to try it. But that worry quickly subsided once I tried it – he has really done an outstanding job of merging the two regional styles, and the sauce complements both the brisket and the ribs. When it comes to the sides, I really enjoyed the mac-n-cheese and the baked beans. Though the mac-n-cheese was smoked, it was not too strong on the smoky flavor. And the addition of some pork rib meat into the baked beans made a very nice addition in terms of texture and flavor.
If you live anywhere near the Cypress area or even on the east side of the SH249 corridor, I’d definitely recommend giving The Texas BBQ Lab a try. Even being Texas newcomers, their brand of Texas barbecue is very respectable, and worth supporting some very good folks and their local small business. When you go, tell them Dave sent you.