After a reboot, Ross Avenue barbecue restaurant Back Home BBQ is back, with a sit-down dining room, grand patio in front, and a legitimate smoker. They'll celebrate with a grand reopening on November 14, selling barbecue, beer, and an airing of the Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm UFC fight.
The restaurant first opened in the former Yin's Wok space in February 2015. The owners, who also own Company Cafe, envisioned it as a place where workers could stop on their way home and pick up barbecue to go. But then in August, their restaurant on the Katy Trail closed, and suddenly they had the smoker from that branch at their disposal.
"We had this amazing resource and decided to move it to Back Home," says spokesman Jeff Wells. "It snowballed from that to, 'Let's have a patio.' Then it was, 'Let's get a designer and talk about the space.' Now what we've got going on is a lot more polished."
The patio was added to the front, which gives the building a festive, welcoming attitude. They streamlined the drive-through window process, then revisited the menu, including a lengthy consideration of what makes brisket good.
"You can isolate it down to a couple of characteristics," he says. "You have to have that bark on the outside to get the charred, caramelized goodness. Then you have to have a smoke ring. The last thing is texture. It has to have such a succulent juiciness that you grab for a second bite."
They also added a selection of fried foods to the menu, including hand-cut fries, onion rings, fried pickles, and chicken fingers. Sides include bacon-cheddar mashed potatoes — "like a loaded baked potato, but mashed up," he says — and barbecue beans they make from scratch, including soaking and cooking the beans themselves. There are collard greens, shells and cheese, slaw, and potato salad.
"Coming from a restaurant perspective makes us more diligent about the sides," Wells says. "Some barbecue places put their attention on the meat and neglect the sides. For us, both are equally important."
Basically, they went on a quest. "I've eaten so much coleslaw," he says. "But it gave us a chance to explore and to consider what we really liked. We examined every layer."