By NICK CAITO, Special To The Courant
The Hartford Courant
June 13, 2013
Barbecue is sort of like football. Some people just like it across the board, but diehard fans have a favorite home brand they stick with through thick and thin. Connecticut has no home team, and while barbecue debates may not get as heated as Jets versus Patriots, adherents know where to find kindred spirits.
Enter Flaggstead Smokehouse, with San Antonio area native Richard Flagg coaching. But with Texas barbecue there's no pigskin. Flagg brings the beef.
THE VIBE: Approach and breathe deep the smell of smoked meats. The dining area inside is smaller and, with a few Texas centric tchotchkes on the walls. Order at the counter and eat off a plastic tray- this is barbecue, not some snooty Yankee rabbit food.
The side patio is built around a massive maple tree, which gives nice shade during the warmer months. It's also set back far enough from Route 4 that traffic is noticeable, but not disturbingly so.
THE FOOD: Beef brisket is the Texas barbecue meat of choice. Flagg says his brisket is dry rubbed for 4 days and smoked a minimum of 13 hours. The result is a thick ring of color and flavor around the outside of the meat.
The brisket comes in a filling sandwich ($7.99) in a platter ($8.99) or by the pound ($13.99). It's served with sauce to appease Northern tastes, but ask for it without sauce for the authentic smokehouse flavor, and if you want add sauce later. A bottle sits at each table.
The smoked meat loaf is a true winner with rich and smokey, melt-in-your-mouth flavor.
BBQ Tacos ($7.99 for one or $11.99 for two) are unique and tasty twist, with pulled rib meat, lettuce tomato and cheese and a healthy blast of sour cream and barbecue sauce on an 8 inch tortilla. The BBQ nachos ($7.99 small, $10.99 large) work off the same concept, but layered over corn chips.
THE BILL: Two people can comfortably eat here for $15 to $20.
Sandwiches, already filling on their own, can be upgraded with a drink and side, such as beans, corn bread, or mac and cheese, for $2.
If bread isn't your thing, opt for a platter. One meat and two sides goes for $8.99, or order for two meats and two sides for $14.99.
THE PARTICULARS: Flaggstead Smokehouse is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Look for the bold red house on Route 4, with the street-side sign bearing a big Texas star.
Beer is served, but not included in a meal order. Cash and credit cards are accepted.
THE VERDICT: Flaggstead Smokehouse scores a touchdown for delicious meats that will make you want to go for an instant replay.
Copyright © 2013, The Hartford Courant