The Holy Grail Pub8240 Preston Rd- Ste 150
Plano, TX 75024
User Ratings and Reviews:UDSKing
June 26, 2011, 12:24 p.m.
Okay, so this isn't a BBQ joint, but the last two months they have had a "Smoke Out" event. I found out on Twitter that they were having their 2nd Smoke Out event on June 25th, so that got my interest. They mentioned that they were going to smoke brisket, hot dogs (made with sirloin and bacon), beer can chicken and cabrito, yes, cabrito!!!
I grew up in deep south Texas about 20 miles from the Mexican border, and cabrito and barbacoa is a true treat that can be found at many small mom and pop Mexican restaurants in the Rio Grande Valley, especially on the weekends. So, knowing that they had cabrito was enough for me to round up my wife and our 3 year old son.
My wife ordered the brisket plate that came with cole slaw and potato chips that had a magical drizzle on them. I need to give them a call to find out exactly what was drizzled on them as these were some of the best potato chips I have ever had. The cole slaw was very good as well, and I am not a huge cole slaw fan, but did like this one very much as it was a mayo based slaw.
Now on to the brisket: it had a very nice smoke ring and a great smoke flavor. I talked to the head chef and I asked him what type of wood they were using and he told me it was a mix of hickory and pecan. The brisket was very, very good and it had a great smoke flavor. I was surprised I liked it as much as I did because I don't care for "lean" brisket, but it had just a little bit of fat along the bottom of each slice that was very well rendered. It might have been just a bit on the dry side, but the fat that was on the bottom of each slice was the prefect mix of fat and lean. I was very impressed with the flavor of the brisket, and it had a very nice bark on it. I have smoked a lot of briskets in my lifetime, and I have never injected my briskets with anything. The reason I mention this is because one of the final steps of the brisket here was to inject it with warm bacon fat juice that had been heated before they injected the brisket. I don't know if it lent any flavor to the brisket, and as mentioned, I never inject my briskets, and I don't think this added much flavor and I don't think it helped in keeping the brisket moist. All in all, this brisket was very good and I was surprised that a joint that focuses on ales that are hard to find around here and a menu that consists of good sandwiches and some Irish fare as well. If you hear about their next Smoke Out event, get the brisket.
Now let's talk about the cabrito - the reason I wanted to check out this event in the first place. It was smoked in the same pit as the brisket, and I was able to take some photos of it on the pit and when they pulled them off of the smoker as well. In fact, in one of the photos I pulled, I managed to catch the juice that was dripping out of the cabrito in the photo, so that seemed to be a good sign. The special that I got was three cabrito tacos on corn tortillas, with a side of pico de gallo, some cilantro and some limes and some of the potato chips that came with the brisket and some cole slaw as well.
Well, I got my plate and there was no cilantro or limes to be found. If you are going to eat cabrito tacos, in my honest opinion, cilantro and limes are a must!!! So I asked our waitress for the cilantro and limes and she said she would be right back. When she got back she handed me a small bowl that had cilantro and lemons in it...I had to laugh a bit when I saw the lemons. I knew she was busy, and I didn't want to ask for limes again, so I used the lemons.
Before I dressed my tacos with the cilantro, the pico de gallo, the lemon and a little salt, I tasted the cabrito to get a true taste for it. Some of the small diced pieces had a little smoke ring, not huge, but at least you could see it. I thought it was a bit overcooked and some of the pieces were very chewy. I also had a piece of bone in one bite. When you do cabrito, you need to be sure that there are no bones in the meat - I only had one little piece of bone in all of the meat, so this wasn't a huge point of negativity.
I wasn't very impressed with the cabrito as there just wasn't a lot of flavor in it and there wasn't much smoke flavor at all. I would be very interested to find out what they rubbed the cabrito with, and I would also be very interested to find out what the internal temp of the cabrito was when they pulled it off of the smoker they rented for the day. I think if they get a more intense rub and let it cook to a lower internal temp, that it could be very good. I also think that they need to serve some more fatty pieces as well, as cabrito fat is delicious when it is rendered correctly, and I think that if I had had some of those fattier pieces, I would have been more positive about this review.
If they have another event like this, we will be back, and next time I will ask our server if I can get the fattier pieces of the cabrito. Paired with the cilantro, pico de gallo and the "limes" made for a very tasty taco - but I have no doubt it would have been an outstanding set of tacos if there had been some meat that was on the fatty side.
All in all, for a place that doesn't have Q on their everyday menu, the brisket was very solid and the cabrito was average. I enjoyed our lunch and really enjoyed talking to some of the staff that came out to tend the pit several times during our lunch. We sat on the patio outside and I made a point of getting the table the was closest to the smoker, and it was the only table that you could sit at that had a view of the smoker - truly a table with a view! We are looking forward to their next "Smoke Out" event, and maybe, just maybe, they will have their own pit finished by then so i can check it out instead of checking out the pit they rented....