You can't go see a baseball game without indulging in the great American cuisine that is ballpark food. First of all, the game lasts 3+ hours, gotta eat.  Second of all, ballparks in the new millennium have some of the most diverse, and it most cases quality, food you'll find in any sport, or maybe venue in the city.  The ballpark food renaissance began in the 1990s, and now there is even a Major League Baseball Foodfest for who has the most imaginative cuisine representing their area.

For barbecue, you might think a close competition might be between Texas and Kansas City.  Memphis would be in the mix if they had a Major League Team.  But since the construction of Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 1992, Big Boogs BBQ has been a staple near Eutaw Street, inspired by and named after 1970 American League Most Valuable Player Boog Powell, the Orioles slugging great of the 1960s and 70s.

For Texas, Houston BBQ, known for it's East Texas style (there are actual multiple styles of BBQ in Texas, yes, the state is that big) has been surging to match that of the more nationally renowned Central Texas style.  Jackson Street Barbecue, with a location just a block from Minute Maid Park, has moved inside the stadium to delight local and out of town guests with some of the best BBQ in Houston.

So which is better?  As former boxing referee Miles Lane might say "LET'S GET IT ON!!!!"

Tale of the Tape
Boog's BBQ
Founded: 1992
Big Boog's $15.75 (with chips)
Boog's Beans: $2.75
Beer Pairing: Yuengling (can 18 oz.) $9.25

Jackson Street BBQ
Founded: 2015
Chopped BBQ Sandwich: $13.50 (with chips)
Beer Pairing: St. Arnold Amber (draft 20 oz.) $12.50

The Battle:

Big Boogs is Big Flavor
Boog's BBQ brings it strong with meat piled upon meat on the "Big Boog".  A smaller version exists
(Boog's Sandwich), however if you get chips with the sandwich, it's essentially free to upgrade to the Big Boog.  And if you know Boog Powell, he is big.  So it makes sense.  The Big Boog (or Boog's Sandwich) can feature beef, pork or turkey, but how can you not go with the beef?  My only complaint is that the meat to bread ratio is so high, the bread melts under the juiciness of the meat and becomes irrelevant.  By the end of the sandwich, I was unabashedly shoving huge chunks of tasty meat in my mouth by hand, no bread.  I needed a second stomach to finish it along with the chips (didn't get finished) and beans (shouldn't have ordered...not because they are bad but because, again, only one stomach).  For mid-Atlantic BBQ, the meat was tender and tasty.  It did not have the smoke flavor I have become accustomed to in Texas.  Plus points for the chips flavored with crab seasoning, a nice regional touch to complement a great, albeit huge, dinner.  The beer pairing didn't add as much to it, but Yuengling is a versatile lager that goes with most so it was a decent add.

Jackson Street Chopped Sandwich brings the smoky flavor
Jackson Street BBQ began selling sandwiches at Minute Maid Park in 2016, just a small stand only on weekends.  Two persons operated it, they literally walked the meat down the street from the restaurant, cut and serve.  As I became a regular, the server would recognize me and mention he had some off the menu items (like ribs).  Flash forward to 2019, it's a full stand behind home plate (first base side) with a broader menu and army of workers, open all home games.  While several meat/plate options exist, I go with the chopped beef (staple).  Sauce comes on the side, and you dress to your flavor (whole other blog about whether or not BBQ sauce belongs on meat at all).  The meat has a great smoke flavor, some of the best in the entire city.  It's a bit fatty, which gives it juice but could be just as good a little leaner.  I sometimes wish they would just slice the beef instead of chopping, I'll put that in the suggestion box.  The bread was also plus, very fresh and the meat to bread ratio was ideal.  The sauce is not my favorite in the city (so many to choose from) so was used sparingly.  The chips were right down the middle, but it does pair well with St. Arnold Amber that complements the flavor of the meat in a way only available in Houston.

The Verdict:

Tenderness: Jax
Flavor: Jax
Cut: Boog
Portion: Boog

Bread: Jax

Chips: Boog

Value: Boog
Flavor: Jax
Pairing: Jax

In a best of nine series, Jackson Street BBQ nudges Boog 5-4.  Neither is a bad choice and both are worthy of a stop at the ballpark!

  1. SirRon August 9, 2019 at 12:17 PM  

    I insist you edit the beer value category with a CPMMO!!1!