Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Eat at the Naked Rib

This last Friday, my youngest and I were the only ones in the family in close proximity to one another, and it was time to eat. She didn’t want Mexican food, I didn’t want Taco Bell (notice that they’re NOT the same thing) or Whataburger. We drove through downtown Alvin suggesting and dismissing, sometimes in unison (ex. Jack-In-the-Box). I turned on Highway 6 and we passed over several other establishments. The farther we got down 6, as anyone who has ever been there will know, the slimmer the possibilities became. We sailed through Manvel and I was just about to give up on what we wanted and settle for just not going to bed hungry. Give in to McDonald’s? Never.

It came to me in a flash, being so far out highway 6, that the Naked Rib was just down the road, only a couple of miles from 288. I offered the possibility to my passenger knowing that novelty and proximity would likely win her over.

It did. We rolled into the caliche parking lot with only a Manvel Police car and a couple of trucks, which were parked farther from the door. That indicated to me that they belonged to employees.

I was not put off by the lack of cars in the lot, Friday night is a funny night in restaurant terms, especially in towns that have a high stake in high school athletics. And this was right in the middle of game-time. We pretty much had the place to ourselves, except for the police officer and a female friend of his.

I walked in slowly, trying to take in the ambience of the place: the walls were screened, with the (thankfully) cool night air circulating with the help of ceiling fans and a large floor fan. There were many different icons, crafts and interesting items on the walls and ceiling, most of them having to do with pigs.

As we approached the counter, a friendly face, later introduced as Liz, greeted us from the door of the kitchen. We “Howdy-ed” in return and I asked what the procedure was, since there were numerous signs and a large blackboard filled with interesting and certainly delicious offerings. There was a dizzying plethora of choices. One sign in particular attracted my attention, and I inquired, “What IS a Brisket Pie?” Liz gladly recited the cast of characters; Fritos, chopped brisket, sour cream, cheese and a drink, all for only $6.50. At first I must admit, I didn’t know how to react. As I stood and ruminated on the ramifications of such a combination, my daughter chose the meat plate with two sides. The idea of a Frito pie with smoked brisket instead of chili began to intrigue me, and so I figured, “what the heck, I’ll be an adventurer”, and placed my order.

When we got our food and sat down, neither of us were disappointed. The brisket was perfect; tender, hickory smoky and delicious. Cole slaw and fried okra were her sides. The sauce was more tangy than sweet, which is a contrast to Joe’s, a welcome departure. My Brisket Pie was a delight, crunchy and smoky, a study in contrasts of flavor and texture. The coolness of the sour cream was a very refreshing addition.

After consuming my “pie”, I went up and talked to Liz for a bit about what I liked about the joint. She explained that the name “the Naked Rib” derived from the fact that the ribs were so good you could eat them naked…after which she paused, and added, “that means you can eat them without any sauce”. I was relieved to hear that. Up until that explanation, I wondered if that was why the police were there. “Uh, remind me NOT to order ribs when there are cop cars in the parking lot!”.

She also told me that she made the sauce from her Dad’s recipe, five gallons at a time, twice a week. More of her story was about how her Dad would collect and try as many different barbeque sauce recipes as he could. Wherever they were in the country, up North, out West, in South America or apparently many other places, he would educate the locals on the finer points of barbeque. And now, the smell of the sauce reminds her of him every time, too, and that’s right in line with the GeezerChron, as you well know. Liz proceeded to show me around a little: the giant Oyler Barbecue Pit, the Houston Chronicle restaurant review, and a little history of the Naked Rib, opened October 25, 2003.

I also got a bit of inside information, they have a special rub made up that they put on the ribs before they smoke them, and that the brisket goes in raw with no additional seasonings. The hickory works the magic on the meat. She said that when she goes home, she smells of hickory smoke. That’s not a bad scent to wear, and she didn’t seem to be complaining.

As we left, I promised myself that I would return and try the ribs sometime, fully clothed, or maybe just wearing a poncho made from napkins.


la femme geezzette said...

Good spelling. Lots of big adjectives — I'm impressed! And now you've done it — I'm hungry for barbeque and way too far away from the Naked Rib!

P.S. So if guys are geezers, what are ladies...leezers? One thing for sure, ladies don't wear mumus.

Howlsatmoon said...

Geezer? I Wholly take umbrage with that, since it "seems" I am your elder.

Welcome aboard. Once I figure how, I'm going to make a "Wolf Pack" blogroll.

Just too damm busy with the cubs right now to learn.

Pasadena Tx? Get the sitemeter, let's you know "roughly" where People are from.

the photoSmith said...

I'm not sure what's more exciting: the name of the restaurant, the fact that the ribs are so good you could eat them naked (clothing optional) or the fact that you took pictures of the inside of the place and captured a photo of Liz. The photojournalist in me was so excited to see that not only did you write a good story but you documented it with some photos! I tip my hat to you aA...

Anonymous said...

Just my opinion, (with a little inside knowledge). The Naked Rib simply is the BEST BBQ I have ever eaten, and yes...after eating their ribs, you usually do opt for no sauce! They are THAT GOOD!! However, the sauce is excellent! A perfect touch to the already delicious brisket. If you would like to know the REAL history of the restaurant and/or the history behind the recipies, you really should talk to one of the owners, Mary Hart or Maryellen Burch. It is a great story and they are great, very friendly people!!

Anonymous said...

You make me smile. I will be coming by often if you do not mind. I really like the photo time but I really like the mornings. My favorite time of the year is the fall too. :-)

A Real Man

Rob V. said...

Great blog & great pix, aA. Notify me whenever you decide to wear a napkin poncho. I'll be sure to get pix and share them with the world.

kittykat said...

Oh my gosh - I almost ate there once! My best friend and one of her work friends have a standing Thursday night appointment to "get naked" - and one night I was invited to join them but had to drive all the way from south campus to Manvel (where they both work)- needless to say they were done eating by the time I got there - but it smelled good.