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Critic gazes into Buc-ee’s chopped beef sandwich, sees CenTex barbecue superiority

Dave Thomas

A Food & Wine writer went to the Buc-ee’s in New Braunfels and ordered the chopped beef sandwich. At first glance, his reaction seems obvious: “A pile of brisket stuffed into an average bun … isn't going to be winning the national awards any time soon.”

No, he didn’t love it. He just thinks it’s better than your terrible barbecue. 

We’re talking to you, Midwest. East Coast. Deep South. Pay attention, California. In a March 6 article titled “The Brisket at This Gas Station in Texas Is Probably Better Than the Barbecue Where You Live,” David Landsel bows down before the barbecue of Central Texas.

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His point is that the barbecue is so good between Llano and Lockhart that what passes for average fare here would, or at least could, take down other regional champs.

“This sandwich, and other sandwiches sold here at Bu-cee's, particularly the chopped smoked sausage sandwich,” Landsel writes, “are a taunt, a tease, a warning to arrogant pretenders in other places: We're so good at barbecue, even our basic gas station brisket could probably take yours out, at least on a good day.”

Presumably, he went to Buc-ee’s on a good day. I’ve had the chopped beef sandwich on at least a half-dozen road trips and it’s struggled to reach average. But then, when Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ is on your daily flight path and you can drop in anytime you see there’s not a line … maybe I’m spoiled.

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His homage to the Central Texas barbecue empire ends quickly. Landsel spends the rest of the article gawking at the selection of foods at Buc-ee’s — “... cups of deconstructed key lime pie, tubs of pimento cheese, tamales wrapped in corn husks, mini-buttermilk pies …” — something equally blasé to Central Texans.