Monday, June 27, 2011

Southern Sandwich Co. - Texas Chopped Beef Brisket

It could have been the six Advil I took or the bottle of Pepsi I drank, but I prefer to think that it was the Southern Sandwich Co. Texas Chopped Beef Brisket sandwich which finally took away my raging headache. You know... the extra iron and all. One bite and my head pain was soon forgotten as I attempted to devour this gigantic creation. Saddle up, partner, because I am fixin' to tell you about one fine BBQ sandwich!

There was a mini gathering of food trucks during Sunday's concert at Stern Grove. This year marks the 74th year that the festival has been happening, and there was a solid crowd for the performance by Jazz Mafia Symphony. Southern Sandwich Co.'s characteristic big black truck was the first one I spotted, and I quickly salivated at the thought of their menu. I figured some nice Southern barbeque would be perfect for an afternoon picnic.

Southern Sandwich Co.'s menu consists of home-grown comfort foods, inspired by owners Brett and Nathan Niebergall's childhood road trips through the Southeastern states. Their menu isn't extensive, but what they do cook they cook well, and it highlights traditional dishes that are commonly referred to as barbeque throughout the South. They are not going for anything fancy here but instead focusing on taking a few simple ingredients and great quality meats and cooking them to perfection.

As I mentioned earlier I was battling a fierce headache all day since I first woke up, and up until lunch neither the Advil nor the caffeine really helped. So when I spotted the first menu item, the Texas Chopped Beef Brisket, there wasn't a question of anything else. I knew I needed the extra iron, and I started to crave beef something fierce. The family and I found a spot to lay our blanket in the meadow, and I came back to order our lunch. I chose the brisket and hubby got the special, limited quantity ribs.

Since we were at a festival I expected big crowds, but I think we beat the lunch rush and there wasn't even a queue to order. Order fulfillment was lightening fast, too—I barely had enough time to update my Facebook status to say that I was at the food trucks before they were calling my name. I love such speediness! My sandwich looked amazing, and as I took it and started to run off, the guys at Southern Sandwich reminded me about the selection of sauces.

One thing that immediately stood out to me and got major bonus points was the sauce, or lack thereof on my sandwich. Instead of slathering on their own quantity of sauce, which depending on the customer's taste could be too much or too little, they serve their sandwiches dry and let the customer decide. That actually speaks volumes to me. It shows me that they trust the quality of their food in its virgin form; they don't try to hide or disguise it under copious amounts of sauces. They have perfected their slow-cooking technique, and they left it to me for my own choice of embellishment. I chose to try the sauce that they recommended for beef, gave my sandwich a healthy dose of it and then rejoined my family on the blanket.

As the saying goes, "Everything is bigger in Texas," and this sandwich is huge. I mean, gigantic. The bun itself is oversized to begin with, but then it was piled high with chopped beef brisket. It was then topped with onions and large slices of pickles. Yup, even the pickles were bigger than normal size. There was so much beef it was spilling out over the sides. I actually needed a knife to cut it in two because when I tried lifting it whole it was just unmanageable. The beef sans BBQ sauce is smoky and tender, but I did find it a little on the dry side. Once I added the sauce, though, the flavors came together with a bang. The sauce was tangy, sweet and really enhanced the smokiness of the beef. It was on the mild side which I liked, but it would have been nice to also have a hotter sauce to try as well. I really liked the dill pickles, which stood out against the sweetness of the sauce; they were a great contrasting flavor. Next time I order this sandwich I am going to ask for extra pickles since I think they added something special.

As the saying goes, barbequed beef brisket is the National Dish of the Republic of Texas. If that's the case then I certainly want to grab my visa and take a food tour of Texas! It was the band Little Texas who pegged the song "God Blessed Texas." I think my song may very well be "God Blessed Beef Brisket." Yum!

Rating: 4.5/5 (ratings guide)

Southern Sandwich Co. (@SouthrnSandwich) $8.00 per sandwich

Does reading this make you want to try this vendor? Tell them that you saw them at I Left My Cart in San Francisco and support San Francisco street cuisine!

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