Saturday, November 9, 2013

Review: Hatfield's BBQ, the real McCoy?

I was in the Corpus Christi area on business and had the opportunity to go to Hatfield's BBQ in Rockport.

Hatfield's is located on Market St. in Rockport between Business 35 and Texas Hwy 35.  This BBQ joint is on the Texas Monthly top 50 list. 

Most of the time when I travel on business I am forced to eat alone.  Over the years I have become used to this and I usually read a book or newspaper when I eat.  Today was different as I met my friend David for lunch over BBQ.  David is one of those rare people in life that finds the positive in almost everything.  He has been a mentor and given me great encouragement during difficult times.  It was a real treat to get a chance to catch up, swap lies, share BBQ, and solve the world's problems. The only thing missing was his lovely bride Lois.

Hatfield's has great atmosphere for a BBQ joint.  Nothing fancy here, rustic décor and friendly service.  Hatfield's has a pit out back that had the name "Big Nasty" on it.  Best name so far in my travels for a pit.    You walk to the counter, order your meal, grab your drinks, and find a table.  It was almost noon when we ordered and we were alone in the restaurant.  However, it did start to fill up after we ordered.    The menu is fairly standard but did not have smoked turkey which is my standard go to for lean meat.  I chose the chicken and since David was helping me with my review today, I told him he was getting a 3 meat plate.  I chose green beans as my side and as usual got pickles, onions, and jalapeños as edible garnish.  David ordered moist brisket, ribs, and chicken.  His sides were baked potato salad, and green beans.  The menu had 1/2 BBQ chicken on it and that is what I ordered, however the 1/2 chickens were not ready yet and I had to settle for a leg quarter.  This was a little disappointing but I would rather them not serve yesterday's leftovers and settle for what they do have.  Those of you that like trying new BBQ joints know what I am talking about.  It is never the same as fresh.

Ok, now for the food.  Since I made David order the 3 meat plate, I will include that in this review since he was giving me samples from his plate.  The brisket had the perfect amount of pull and was very tender and moist.  The fat on the brisket was very well rendered.  This meat was cooked perfectly.  However, it lacked a smoke ring and did not have much smoke flavor at all.  It tasted more like roast beef than BBQ.  This is such a shame since it would literally melt in your mouth.  David gave me a rib and again, it was perfectly cooked, did not fall off the bone but was tender.  The ribs came with sauce on them which is not my preference but they were still good.  The ribs had more smoke flavor than the brisket, but still lacked that deep smoke flavor that you would expect.  Surprisingly, the chicken did have a smoky flavor and just like the other meats was cooked to juicy perfection.  The skin was tough and chewy but I normally do not eat the skin.  I tried it simply for texture.  As I typically do, I pulled the meat from the bone and made a half sandwich with a slice of bread. 


I dipped my sandwich in sweet sauce and it was a very good compliment with the chicken, onion, pickle, and jalapeño.  I also had the green beans.  They had a deep smoked bacon flavor and I would get them again.  I tried some of David's Baked potato salad and while I liked it, I prefer a potato salad with an opening twang and sweet finish.  This was like eating a baked potato with a ton of sour cream.
Overall, the food here is really good.  If the meat had more of a smoky flavor, I would give it an A, as the meat was cooked really well.  However since it lacked that smoky flavor I will give it a B.  This is only my second time to eat here and I believe most professional reviewers (Which I am not) would try a place 3 times before writing a full review.  The first time I was here I had the brisket and it was smoky but not as moist.  If you are in the Rockport/Corpus Christi area and are hungry for BBQ.  This is probably a good choice.

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