Pappas Delta Blues Smokehouse Brings Top Quality Barbecue to Clear Lake Area
Just in time to mark 50 years in the smoked meat business, Pappas Restaurants is stepping up its familiar barbecue offerings found all over the Greater Houston area. The longtime, family-owned restaurant group launched its new “high-end” concept, Pappas Delta Blues Smokehouse, on November 1. It’s located in a former Bone Daddy’s and anchored by two established Pappas restaurant concepts in Webster (Pappas Seafood House and Pappasito’s Cantina),
Bridging the gap between their regular barbecue restaurants, the short-lived Pappas Meat Co. casual steakhouse concept, and the swanky Pappas Bros. Steakhouse locations, Pappas Delta Blues Smokehouse offers barbecue selections from top-quality meat purveyors, grilled-to-order USDA Prime steaks, seafood and upscale southern comfort food favorites.
The barbecue menu is anchored by Central Texas-style black peppered USDA Prime brisket from Creekstone Farms, the prime Angus beef purveyor from Kansas that also supplies Texas Monthly Top 10 barbecue joints Franklin Barbecue and CorkScrew BBQ. Other meats available include smoked Berkshire pork belly, pulled pork, smoked turkey breast, smoked chicken, a big beef rib, meaty St. Louis style pork ribs, Czech-style beef sausage and a rustic jalapeño-cheddar sausage.
Meats are served by the plate with two sides as opposed to a la carte by the pound. Prices range from $12.95 for the jalapeño cheddar sausage plate to $29.95 for the Big Boy Beef Rib plate.
Prime ribeye steaks are also available, and range from $39.95 to $46.95, served with two sides. An 18-ounce long bone pork chop from Snake River Farms is $29.95. The Chicken-Fried Prime Ribeye with peppercorn cream gravy for $27.95 was tempting (and we’re looking forward to trying it on a future visit).
Appetizer options abound and it’s hard not to be drawn in by the Sunday’s Deviled Eggs with big hunks of smoked pork belly, housemade pickled onions, and Crystal hot sauce. (The generous amount of pork belly helps justify the $10.95 price tag.) Who can resist the appeal of Vicky’s Homemade Pimento Cheese, with grilled jalapeño cheddar sausage and East Texas crackers for $9.95 or Sticky Pork Belly Bites with cherry cola glaze at $13.95?
Tim’s Crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken, a mix of crispy white and dark meat, at $19.95 for a half-chicken, or $29.95 for a whole, was exceptional and hearkened back to every Sunday fried chicken served at Grandma’s table while growing up. A three-piece lunch portion with two sides was a reasonable $13.95.
The Delta Blues food menu is accompanied by a list of wine, craft beers, and an extensive American whiskey selection. Matt Tanner, formerly of cocktail bar Anvil Bar and Refuge, has led Pappas Restaurants’ beverage program for the past few years. So, expectedly for a Pappas restaurant (but unexpectedly for a barbecue joint), there’s a craft cocktail program as well. We tried the Smokin’ Ace, a cocktail with Rittenhouse 100 Bonded Rye as the base spirit and sweetened with Luxardo cherry liqueur, Tempus Fugit Vino Chinato (an aromatized wine) and Amaro Meletti. It arrived in dramatic fashion, with the glass filled with fragrant cinnamon smoke. It’s displaced somewhat when the drink is poured from a carafe and lends a wonderful scent to the air as it drifts away. It would make for an outstanding after-dinner drink, but we agree with Tanner that it, “goes well with brisket, too.”
A two-meat barbecue plate from the dinner menu costs $21.95. A three-meat plate is $24.95 and includes a choice of two sides from a dozen options. A two-meat plate from the lunch menu is $18.95. For comparison purposes, a two-meat plate with two sides at nearby Killen’s Barbecue is $17 and a three-meat plate is $21. Larger parties will want to opt for the Family Table “BBQ Feast” route, with selections that serve four to five for $89.95 or eight to ten for $169.95. It includes USDA Prime brisket, St. Louis style ribs, smoked chicken, smoked turkey, pulled pork and housemade jalapeño cheddar or beef sausage, and a choice of three bottomless sides, pickles, jalapenos and sweet onions.
While the price point will have some barbecue aficionados reeling, it isn’t appreciably different than what you would find at other Pappas Restaurant eateries with a similar service model. It isn’t barbecue that you order at a counter from a list of the day’s offerings written in marker on butcher paper. The concept strives to fuse the development of innovative smoked and grilled menu items with the high level of service Pappas is known for. The waitstaff at Pappas Delta Blues Smokehouse is knowledgeable and attentive, and already provides an exceptional experience for a sit-down barbecue eatery. Even barbecue snobs should appreciate being waited on occasionally.
We’re not always carnivorous barbarians.
Pappas Delta Blues Smokehouse, 19901 Gulf Freeway, Webster, TX 77598. (281) 332-0024.
Open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Link to dinner menu, lunch menu, gluten-free menu, and kid’s menu.
Costs for this opinion piece were entirely paid for by the author and/or Houston Food Finder.
Writer, blogger and photographer, KCBS Certified Barbecue Judge, and freelance Barbecue Columnist at Houston Food Finder. Sharing pictures and stories from my journey across Texas (and beyond) in search of quality barbecue, pitmasters, pitmakers, destinations, events, and related subject matter. Also found at TXPitQuest.com.