Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Pearson's Texas Barbecue

Jackson Heights, NY

Review by dieFledermaus

A fellow Wookieehut-ite told me about this place, and told me that it's the only place she's been to anywhere in this area of the country with authentic barbecue. I doubted her; I'm a barbecue aficionado, and I've tried many and they've all pretty much sucked. Still, she normally has pretty good taste, so I figured I'd try it out, even though it's in the middle of an outer borough and a real pain to find! It's wedged between an Animal Hospital and a Halal Fishmarket, and located in the back of the Legend Sports Bar. Why are they hiding?

I'm nervous about having dinner in a bar, since these places usually are greasy spoons, and the food is usually pretty bad. It's designed to help the customers absorb alcohol, usually, and the cook is normally untrained and untalented. But I made myself walk in. I thought I'd be okay when I saw the stuffed raccoon mounted over the bar, wearing a football helmet ...

New York has made smoking inside a restaurant illegal, so the front of the bar was crowded with smokers. But once you get inside, the place is well-lit and really clean. You know how bars tend to be kind of greasy and not wiped down properly? This place was not slippery or sticky in texture, always a good sign! The bathroom was clean, too, as was the serving area. Now that's a big improvement from down home.

There was only one waitress, but there are only 7 tables, and the place was full. I opted to sit in the bar area, and the waitress showed up promptly, took the order and brought everything quickly and efficiently. Wanting a sampling of dishes, I ordered Barbecued Brisket, Beef Ribs, and Pork Ribs. They don't have tons of stuff, the menu fits on half a sheet of paper. Available by the pound or as sandwiches are:
  • Barbecued Brisket
  • Barbecued Kielbasa
  • Barbecued Hot Links (spicy Italian sausages)
  • Barbecued Pork Shoulder (also called Boston Butt where I come from)
  • Barbecued Pulled Beef
  • Barbecued Pulled Chicken
  • Barbecued Chicken
  • Barbecued Chopped Pork
  • Barbecued North Carolina Pork, with sweet and sour vinegar based sauce
  • Barbecued Pork Ribs
  • Barbecued Beef Short Ribs
  • Barbecued Beef Ribs (on special today)
  • Barbecued Yankee Chili
  • Barbecued Pork Beans
Have to say that the word "barbecue" is badly misused up north. What you all do is grilling, which is basically searing meat on a grill to make marks on the meat. Real barbecue entails smoking food, usually with hickory wood smoke, and a sauce to be put on at the end of cooking or after the meat is pulled off the fire. Cooking tends to be slow, and real quality barbecue is not normally done at home since it takes a lot of time and requires talent. I have to admit, I was afraid this would simply be another "grilled place masquerading poorly as barbecue."

But I smelled the smoke, and I saw the sauce in dispensers off to the side. That's good, it means at least they know about hickory wood and not to sauce the meat as it's cooked. The food didn't come out on plates, but on paper trays with little paper napkins, styrofoam plates and plastic cutlery. Presentation is good! The food all had that telltale rim of pinkness indicating it had been smoked -- the carbon monoxide from incomplete combustion causes the hemoglobin to go that color. Or so one of the 'Hut-ites with a degree in chemistry told me. All I know is that it means real smoke, not liquid smoke "seasoning"!

The taste was authentic, the meat was tender. The beef meat stuck to the bones, forcing me to gnaw on them to get every bit. The pork came off the meat easily. Both are absolutely perfect textures, and the flavors were exquisite! I was transported, it was so good! Almost orgasmically good! The "medium" and "madness" sauces worked best with each of the meats (the other two sauces were called "mild" and "mean," and though spicy, it didn't harm you).

There are sidedishes, too. I got the cornbread and potato salad. The cornbread was moist and dense and flavored with jalopeño bits, and twice the size of the slab you get elsewhere. The potato salad was skippable. It had that "bought from the deli" taste, and I'd rather waste my calories on more of that wonderful smoked meat! Other side dishes available:
  • Cole Slaw
  • Potatoe Salad
  • Barbecue Sauce (mild, medium, madness, mean)
  • French Fried
  • Onion Rings
  • Cornbread
  • Portuguese Roll
But the main attraction was the meat, and I will never doubt my fellow Hut-ite again. I still say it's hard to find authentic barbecue up here, but at least I know it exists in the form of Pearson's Texas Barbecue!

Disclaimer: The opinions and observations noted are the property of the author. Neither Wookieehut nor any associates makes any claims or lucre from the posting of this report or review. This webpage is presented by Wookieehut.com. Enjoy!