Four years ago, H-E-B opened its first stand-alone BBQ restaurant in Pleasanton. The challenge was connecting True Texas BBQ to customers.
“It’s really odd. You can buy great ingredients at the grocery store for your home meal,” Kristin Irvin said. “So why wouldn’t you think the restaurant would have great food?”
Kristin Irvin is the Director of Restaurants for H-E-B. She oversees their operation and marketing. Irvin said they continue to work on potential customers who may not see a grocery store restaurant as an option.
True Texas BBQ is both concept and brick and mortar. Ten H-E-B locations have a True Texas BBQ restaurant connected to the store. H-E-B’s four other eateries carry the same BBQ product as options on the menu.
“Central Texas style BBQ is kind of the gold standard for Texas. We need to be true to that style,” Irvin said.
According to Irvin, True Texas BBQ is a place where customers can take a break from the grocery store experience to enjoy smoked meats, scratch-made sides and desserts and grab a cold craft beer.
“The core of it is that we are smoking out meat on-site,” She said. “And we’re only doing all-natural meats.”
Chef Randy Evans who is H-E-B’s Director of Culinary Development said their focus is serving a great product.
“If you’re talking about Texas BBQ—brisket’s the king,” Evans said. “And it better be right and better be well.
He said they tested a variety of briskets until they settled on black Angus brisket. It’s cooked with simple seasoning over live post oak.
Evans said their St. Louis style spare ribs and smoked turkey get a sweet heat rub that includes brown sugar and spices.
They also serve sausage, chicken and a Carolina style pulled pork. The chef is very proud of their sides like the charro beans with burnt ends of brisket floating in the stock. The customer favorite, he said, is their macaroni and cheese. One of his personal favorites is their cobbler.
“Dessert is a side,” Evans joked.
H-E-B provided Neighborhood Eats with a huge sampler starting with their well-touted sides: Cream-style corn, green beans, charro beans, macaroni and cheese, and potato salad.
All the sides are tasty. There are some standouts. The corn is a creamy char roasted Mexican street. Love it.
Neighborhood Eats can’t get enough the white and yellow cheddar cheese macaroni and cheese. Fantastic!
They offer a variety of cobblers are good too. Our sample was blackberry cobbler. A scoop of ice cream would have put this at perfection.
The smoked protein is great! The ribs, smoked turkey, sausage and brisket were delicious!
Overall: True Texas BBQ (Bulverde Rd) is worth the stop. The BBQ isn’t cheap, but it isn’t overpriced either. The restaurant space is well-done. While customers can still see the grocery, once you begin eating you’ll probably forget where you are. Neighborhood Eats had the benefit of getting everything fresh off the grill. If this is the consistent product coming out to customers, H-E-B is really on their BBQ game. They even have a drive-thru.