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Rusty Star is a little red barn near Lake Waco that I've often driven by but never stopped in. Today was the day. We walked in and were struck by the overwhelming redneck kitsch of the place. Camouflage tablecloths, deer heads, metal stars, American flags, and signed pictures of George W. Bush. There was even a shrine to far-right obnoxious crazy person and gun nut, Ted Nugent, who presumably is a patron. In short, this is not the type of place I would normally spend my money.
I ordered from the camouflage-clad employees: large brisket plate ($9.25) with jalapeno potato salad and deviled eggs. I requested a moist cut of brisket, and the employee retrieved a new brisket from the warming unit and cut my portion from the middle - I appreciated this. I became less appreciative when I saw that a "large plate" only contains of about 3 or 4 slices of brisket - not a good value.
I dug into the brisket. It was tender with a thin black bark, but the meat did not have much smoke. That fat in the meat hung there like a yellow gelatin and didn't provide any additional flavor. It wasn't horrible, but I was not impressed. It was a tender version of roast beef. I didn't try the sausage, but my companion was not enamored with it. The BBQ sauce was a thick molasses variety and tasted very generic - I would not have been surprised if it had come out of a 300 oz jug from Sam's Club.
The sides inspired some debate at the table. The potato salad is a white variety, pureed into a dense mashed potato-like consistency and interspersed with a few picked peppers. My companion loved it. I found the flavor to be too sour for my preference and the consistency was off-putting. To each his own, I suppose. I will admit however, the deviled eggs were good.
I know there are few good options for BBQ in Waco, and especially at the dinner hour, but I will seek my smoked meat elsewhere. This place is a bust.
A little out of the way, but very good.
Since my daily commute takes me by the Rusty Star I have stopped for a quick lunch many times. They have the usual BBQ selections, but it is all very good and the price is very reasonable! However the jalapeno-potato salad is my favorite! If you make the trip you need to try it! I only gave it four stars because the table cloths alternate between Longhorns and Aggies and it hurts my delicate Bear pride.
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