October 4, 2008

Dickey's Barbecue Pit

By Jerry Ireland
4811 Pan American Freeway NE, Albuquerque, NM
Menu at: dickeys.com

The Food (taste/flavor/quality of food & drinks)
>>>>= a favorite, can count on it being good every time

The Atmosphere (environment, wait staff, comfortableness)
xxx= good but could be improved

Price (what to generally expect to pay per person per entree)
$$ = $10

Value (what you get for your money)
** = okay - overpriced for quality/taste

When I was eating at Dickey's Barbecue Pit in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I kept thinking about the line in Pulp Fiction, "It's the little differences. I mean, they got the same sh** over there that they got here, but it's just – it's just there it's a little different."

The reason: I used to frequent the original Dickey's in Dallas, Texas and it has always been one of my favorite barbeque joints. While the Albuquerque version has the same good food, some of its differences threw me a bit. But that’s what happens when you turn an original into a franchise, you loose a little of the charm and quality.

One of the things I like about the Dallas version is it is a down home cafeteria style restaurant. You get in line, get your food and get to business. In Albuquerque, it is a sit down restaurant. Also the motif of the restaurant was different. The Dallas Dickey's is essentially a dive and the Albuquerque smokehouse seemed like a cross between a TGIFriday's and the original. It lacked none of the dive quality that gives the original its charm. Now, I know this is a positive for some people, but I prefer the simplicity of the cafeteria and not having to wait for my food and refills on my drink.

In Albuquerque you have a more expansive menu. You can get starters like hot wings and nachos, several types of sandwiches (chicken hoagie, hamburgers, and ham and cheese) that you won't find at the original because a true Texas smokehouse would be embarrassed to carry these items. Also, the salad choices are much more diverse compared to the original. Again, some people may find this to be a positive, but to make room, they removed one of my favorite sides from the menu. The original has outstanding green beans, and that used to be a staple of my Dickey's experience. But when I ate in Albuquerque there were no green beans. This must be changed.

One thing that remained the same is the excellent barbecue. I ordered the beef brisket and sausage plate. The brisket perfectly melts in your mouth, which is how I like it. The sausage explodes with taste. The sauce is a bit sweet with a little tang too it. Of all the excellent Texas barbeque sauces, Dickey's sauce remains my favorite.

I tried the onion strings, which are essentially thin stringy onion rings and I liked them. I also had the Caesar salad and it is more than serviceable but nothing to write home about.

One other difference is the price. The Albuquerque smokehouse's prices were a couple of dollars extra. I assume that is because of the restaurant style seating.

These differences took away from my enjoyment of one of my favorite restaurants, but I would say that the Albuquerque restaurant is a cousin of one of the best BBQ restaurants in Texas and that makes it among the best in Albuquerque.


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