The great Houston barbecue boom of 2015 has added Spring to its roster. CorkScrew BBQ joins newcomers Jackson Street BBQ, Gatlin's BBQ and Pappa Charlies Barbeque as the latest establishment that's raising the game for smoked meat.
The work that began in August to transform the former Hyde's Cafe into CorkScrew's new home finished when the restaurant opened to the public on October 1.
CorkScrew began life as a trailer that earned widespread acclaim — and a spot on Texas Monthly's prestigious list of the state's top 50 barbecue joints — thanks to pitmaster Will Buckman's flavorful, Central Texas-style barbecue and wife Nichole Buckman's first rate sides and customer service.
Like two of this fall's other new barbecue openings, Pappa Charlies and Gatlin's, CorkScrew's new location contains significantly more seating and production capacity, which should help alleviate sellouts.
The interior has been given the standard wood paneling and Edison bulb treatment that's popped up just about everywhere this summer; see Bramble's interior for one conspicuous example. Still, it feels appropriate for a barbecue joint, and the look gets a little added warmth from the liberal application of vintage license plates and family photos on the walls. Outside, the trailer's two covered pavilions have made the journey and provide some shade for picnic tables on the expansive lawn.
For the very first day in the new space, the food showed significant promise. Buckman's brisket had decent smoke and seasoning but lacked the bark that elevates good to great, and his pork ribs were a little overcooked. Expect him to get those issues resolved quickly.
Sides, including mac and cheese and cherry cobbler provided consistent with the old location and should improve thanks to the restaurant's upgraded equipment.
About 100 people greeted CorkScrew when the Buckmans opened the doors, and the crowds will only continue to grow. On Wednesday, the restaurant filmed an episode of the Travel Channel show Food Paradise. If that sort of attention keeps coming, the Spring trailer turned restaurant will rival Killen's for national notoriety.