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“My New Favorite Place...Sortta”
Review of Cal-Bob's Smoke Shack - CLOSED

Cal-Bob's Smoke Shack
Cuisines: Barbecue
Dining options: Delivery, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Delivery, Reservations
Reviewed March 30, 2013

First things first... The menu. If Cal himself hadn't translated it for me, I wouldn't have understood. He said this was a "catering menu". I wondered how many people who walk in to order lunch are secretly wanting to cater an event? The place needs a menu that says Plates - One Meat, Two Meat, etc. with two sides = X price. Instead, I have to determine how many ounces of this or that I want and figure out what comes with what. Cal...it's just too complicated. Print up a catering menu for your catering people. This is Kerrville, TX, not Sedona...people like it simple.

I had the Prime Rib and it couldn't have been better. I'm glad to see a BBQ place have something a bit different. The potato salad...it was ok (barely), not near enough mustard for my taste - I'll pass next time, PLUS it's $2 for a scoop.

Cole Slaw - excellent, this ain't no normal cole slaw. Homerun.

Roasted Pepper Soup...incredible, but I found myself wanting "something to chew on". Maybe adding something with some body would help, even if it's just bits of the peppers themselves. Another Homerun.

Pork Butt - Another thing you don't see in BBQ places and again, glad to see something different. It was excellent. Tender and flavorful. Homerun.

The ribs...well, they were ok. These aren't your standard Texas pork ribs. They have a different look and while tasted pretty good, they aren't "brown and smoky" enough for my taste. Cal says he wraps them while cooking at 225 then unwraps for some time at the end. I like 'em better when they are cooked unwrapped the entire time. But maybe that's just me. Folks who don't like a lot of smoke flavor and like a more "sanitary" rib will like them.

Desserts - Had the Tootsie Cake and the Banana Pudding. They read better than they taste. Not bad, but I enjoyed reading about them more than I enjoyed eating them. The banana pudding (like the potato salad) just isn't southern style. Not that that's bad...just not my thing. The Tootsie cake...well, it's a coconut cake, nothing special. But then again, I don't look to BBQ places for dessert, so next time I'll just skip that part and get more meat!

Service - Exceptional, personal and friendly.

Location - Sucks. You have to be going there to get there...you won't just pass by and stop in.

Cal reports he has had BBQ places "all over the country" including Sedona, California and Idaho. I never got to ask how he came to Kerrville. But it is apparent from the offerings of the restaurant that his BBQ cooking style is rooted more in places outside of Texas. That's not meant to be a negative, just an observation.

I'm glad to have a BBQ place that does things a little different. And if one is careful with selections, it's easy to have a great meal...IF you can decipher the menu.

I'm looking forward to going again soon!

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1  Thank OilDog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (157)
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89 - 93 of 157 reviews

Reviewed March 29, 2013 via mobile

Well I had to try this place after all these great reviews. I was not disappointed. The red pepper smoked soup was out of this world. Also the prime rib was tender, juicy and full of smoked flavor. Desserts are ok but I would just fill up on the different meats. PS the cilantro cold slaw is also a must. I might have eaten the entire menu.

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1  Thank Koi777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2013

I have probably watched way too many episodes of Triple D with Guy gushing and drooling over the BBQ and am admittedly no BBQ expert but after the big build up by most of the reviews for Cal-Bob’s Smoke Shack, I was seriously disappointed in our meals here. I think their claim should possibly be revised to “The best BBQ in Kerrville next to the auto repair shop on Hwy 16”.

It is a charming little place (maybe 10 seats) in an unlikely location and I was still encouraged as the very pleasant cashier/waitress guided us through a very cryptic “menu” to what we still thought would be “melt-in –our-mouth perfection”. We each chose a chopped brisket sandwiches: 5 oz. @ $6.00. We had them prepared the Cal-Bob way with the meat being warmed on the griddle with the CB dipping sauce applied so as to caramelize the sauce a bit at the suggestion of the cashier. Still anticipating something terrific; right?

We added one side of cilantro coleslaw and one of potato salad to share and just to get a real good feel for the place (and hopefully in our bellies) we added 12 oz. of St. Louis style ribs @ $.77/oz.

OK; with two tap waters and tax, we’re talking $26.97 and here’s the rest of the story:

The brisket sandwiches were just OK; tender enough and not too stringy but nothing to rhapsodize over; quite a bit too much fat in the meat for my taste. Toasting the bun would have given it a bit of substance. We had noted from other reviews that they closed at 7PM and made it a point to arrive about 5:30. In the small room, you are part of everyone’s business and there were a few take-outs and a couple more dine-ins while we were there. Some locals and another totally confused Yankee like ourselves. They ran out of ribs just after our order and with perfect hindsight, I would have been happier if it had been just before our order. The ribs were totally pedestrian. They were not tough but a long way from being juicy and falling off the bone. The CB dipping sauce, when you could figure out how to apply it to the few available scraps of meat on the bone, added most of the flavor to the ribs as there was little evidence of the trip through the smoker.

I did overhear that Cal-Bob was not on duty this particular evening and just perhaps the hired help doesn’t quite have the magic touch yet. I will keep on looking for some really good BBQ if there is really such a thing besides on Triple D.

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Thank Terry L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
calvin a, Owner at Cal-Bob's Smoke Shack, responded to this reviewResponded March 30, 2013

thank you for your review it is patrons like yourself that helps me to maintain quality and each meal and its experience. You quaified your knowledge about bbq as soon as you started with your pen and your thoughts how bbq should be, I thank you for that and would like to invite you back to have sit down dinner with me and debate Texas culture and its Que.

.....there is 22 seats not 10 so.bring a friend ....dinner is on me......Calbob
PS please keep in mind if you should come to dinner that we slice our roast to order, lean or marbled are your choices for our Brisket, just let us know how you like it ,thus the 61 five star REVIEWS......CB

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 26, 2013

My wife and I were in Kerrville house hunting. We are hoping to make Kerrville our future home. Our realtor recommend Cal-Bob to us and it was fantastic. We plan to be regulars once we relocate. Get there early because they close at 7pm.

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Thank mikepeeples
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 24, 2013

I stumbled across Cal-bob's Smoke Shack while I was having my car repaired next door at Randal's Automotive. What a find. I had dinner and then lunch the next day. I got to sample many of the great meat smoked meats he had to offer. I think the sausage was my favorite.
If you are traveling interstate 10 through Kerrville it is a MUST stop.

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Thank bajabungalows
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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