First Bite: Blood Bros. BBQ Serves Multicultural Innovation Alongside Texas Barbecue
The highly-anticipated brick and mortar location of Blood Bros. BBQ is now open in the Bellaire Triangle shopping center. Brothers Terry and Robin Wong and pit master Quy Hoang built a fan base over the past few years at pop-ups and events like the Houston Barbecue Festival before finally being able to open a storefront. In addition to tenets of Texas barbecue like brisket, ribs and sausage, some of the most innovative offerings are the periodic specials influenced by Asian, Cajun and Mexican cuisines. Recent examples include Smoked Brisket Fried Rice and Thai Green Curry Boudin. The Houston dining public seems to be responding positively to the diverse menu, as Blood Bros. Barbecue has sold out nearly every day, sometimes before 1 p.m.
According to the Wongs and Hoang, they all grew up in Houston’s multicultural Alief community and attended Hastings and Elsik High School together. Through the 1990s, they bonded over the mosaic of Asian, Latin, Texas and Cajun cultures and became lifelong friends. The trio started several joint business enterprises over the years, including Midtown pop-up spot Glitter Karaoke. In 2014, they set out on the path of what would eventually become Blood Bros. BBQ. The name came about because two of the partners are “true” brothers and the third is a “blood brother” or sworn brother.
The standard Texas barbecue fare on the menu includes lean and moist brisket available chopped or sliced; pork ribs; smoked turkey, and jalapeño cheese sausage links, all sold by the pound with no minimums. Customers order via counter service on a first-come, first-served basis and have a view of the staff slicing and weighing their orders. Brisket, turkey and sausage are also available as sandwiches. Flavorful sides are available in three sizes and include housemade spicy roasted jalapeño creamed corn, mac & cheese, pinto beans, potato salad and spicy jalapeño coleslaw.
The brisket and pork ribs both have good bark, a nice smoke ring, and are spicy, full of flavor and juicy. The turkey is peppery, smokey and tender. The jalapeño cheese sausage offers heat alongside smooth umami. Drink options include a selection of sodas, craft beer from local breweries such as Buffalo Bayou Brewing and Topo Chico.
Blood Bros.’ S.W.A.T. barbecue sauce is nearly as famous as the meat. The acronym stands for “sauce with a ‘tude,” and it is simultaneously sweet, hot, tangy, sour and smooth. Blood Bros. has been selling S.W.A.T. sauce at barbecue events for years and guests can now purchase it by the bottle along with other merchandise at the new location.
The interior reflects Texas barbecue tradition with humble and sturdy wooden chairs and tables, corrugated metal accents and polished concrete floors. The blood orange accents are a nod to the University of Texas while the black elements are reminiscent of barbecue pits and the bark on brisket and ribs. There are also flat screen TVs and custom art. Seating is limited during peak hours but diners are encouraged to follow another age-old dining tradition: share tables and make new friends.
Blood Bros. Texas Barbecue is located on the Bellaire Triangle at 5425 Bellaire. It is open
daily Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to sell-out or 3 p.m., whichever comes first.
Editor’s note: Corrected to note that Blood Bros. BBQ is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. We apologize to any readers who were inconvenienced by the error.