My weekend had started with plans for Austin, I had a Franklin preorder, Stiles Switch and Val’s on my list, but Mother Nature had other plans. The thought of 35 between DFW and Austin is a bad one to begin with, but add torrential rain to the mix and it’s a big no thank you. Luckily for me earlier in the week Daniel Vaughn had tweeted pics from a new place in Plano, TX by the name of Winner’s BBQ. I went to their website and saw the following quote on their main page “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the ONLY thing. Our mission is to combine an exciting, fun and motivational atmosphere with excellent Texas BBQ.” I’m already motivated by this time. I go into the About Me section and see “Every day of our lives we’re trying to find a different way to provide better BBQ, better ourselves and the community. Prepare for Glory!” Now I’m really pumped!! As I continue to read I see Pitmaster and owner Deandre Jackson played football for Iowa State where he was Big 12 all conference. From speaking with him it is obvious the competitive juices still flow and BBQ is his outlet. Every day he strives to be better than the day before. I like this, speaking with DeAndre it’s obvious failure is not an option and he will do whatever it takes to make Winner’s BBQ a success.
So with most restaurants success starts with the food so let’s talk about that. I ordered my usual, Texas Trinity of brisket, ribs and sausage. My wife came along on this trip and got the 2 meat plate of brisket and pulled pork. Normally I start off with brisket, but what attracted me to Winner’s was the unique rub pictured in Daniel Vaughn’s tweet. The rub was thick and complex and it really caught my eye so I was anxious to give it a try. As I bit in, the flavor was intense but not overpowering and extremely savory. I wish my palate could separate spices so I could attempt to explain what made up the rub, but I just can’t. I can say it was one of the best tasting ribs I’ve ever had. The texture of the rib (baby backs) gave a hard tug indicating undercooked, but as I’ve noted before I’m ok with that, but others might not be. Either way I wouldn’t pass up on these as they are some of the best I’ve tried. Next up was the brisket. Winners has counter service, but the meat is cut behind closed doors and it didn’t even cross my mind to request lean or fatty. I was given lean and the slices had an excellent bark, similar rub to the ribs and a light oak smoke flavor, but while the ribs were under cooked the brisket seems to have been overcooked. The slices were cut thick so the meat wouldn’t fall apart, but it didn’t take much pull apart when picked up. As for the sausage, I would compare it to what you can buy at the grocery store, nothing spectacular, but good.
I’m a fan of Winners because in a time when most places opening up are going Central Texas style Winner’s unique complex rub stands out in a good way. I’m already craving their ribs. I have little doubt they will overcome the doneness issue, it’s no easy task transferring from cooking perfect BBQ for friends and family to cooking for the masses. They are in the process of installing a bar and they already have TVs covering every section of the dining room. This will make a great place to watch the game and eat some fantastic BBQ, so go give them a visit soon!