When I was a kid, in the fall my dad would load up the Country Squire and we'd head to Louisiana to catch our fill of blue crab. Catching them was as easy as lowering a chicken neck on a string into a roadside canal and pulling it up quickly as soon as the line jiggled. We could fill a 54-quart Coleman cooler in about an hour on the same pier where local families were filling black lawn and leaf bags -- they lived close enough that they didn't need to put the crabs on ice. Before we'd drive home to suburban Dallas, we'd stop for a crawdad boil or bowls of red beans and rice (which I picked around in favor of the spicy Cajun sausage) at some small-town restaurant -- but barbecue was never on the agenda. These days, my quest for slow-smoked flavor in the metro area has my radar dialed in to St. Louis, Memphis, Texas and South Carolina, so a little joint like Brooks Smokehouse and Catering
had escaped my notice -- until the aroma of Ronald Brooks's cooking caught my attention at a local brewery.
See also: Aloha Hawaiian Barbecue: Hello and Goodbye to Thornton