At noon on a Saturday in late May, 2022, Ms. Karen, Neighbor Roy, and I went to Holy Smokin’ Butts for lunch. This place is way out East so normally we would not have ventured that far from home except two friends, Patty of Oro Valley and Sally of Sonoita highly recommended it.
The day before, I had made a reservation for the three of us, so we walked in and were immediately seated in a booth. The first thing I noticed was the very hard, wooden seats. Not at all comfortable. If we had been given a table instead of a booth, we would have been sitting on a cushioned chair. Oh well!
Sally had warned that they would be crowded on a Saturday, but they weren’t. At least not while we were there. But their take-out counter was fairly busy. And the servers were always busy scurrying around between customers.
Roy ordered hot tea, which of course they did not have. This is Texas BBQ after all. He opted for root beer. Roy’s chuckled that this would cost them one saguaro in his rating.
Ms. Karen ordered the Pulled Pork Plate, which is Smoked Pulled Pork Plate, with Lemonade served with your choice of two sides, bread and your choice of BBQ sauce ($15).
Roy ordered the Brisket Plate, Sliced Smoked Angus Brisket Plate served with your choice of two sides and bread. Available in Lean, Cross Cut and Moist ($15.50). He ordered his “lean” with French fries. There is some irony in that. They gave him a military discount and so deducted $5.15.
I ordered the Brisket Plate with Potato Salad and Smoked Baked Beans ($15.50). I ordered mine “moist”. Along with a margarita.
I’ll let Roy tell you about his experience.
“This week Jim, his wife Karen, and I visited a Texas BBQ restaurant in a shopping center at Kolb and Broadway. It is located in an old Chinese buffet site, which apparently did not last through the pandemic. The inside had been transformed from the Chinese format to one somewhat more Western, Our server was prompt, took our drink items. No hot tea, but at least she offered to warm a cup of iced tea. I took a root beer instead. I ordered a brisket and fries, with toast. Our orders arrived promptly. There were four slices of brisket, a packet of fries, and a buttered piece of bread. There were 6 or 8 ketchup bottles on the table–for individual choice of condiments. The meat was tender, and appropriately cooked, the fries were o.k.–never did touch the bread.
Overall, I was disappointed –not that the meal was bad, it was not, servings were adequate–but nothing special–it could benefit from mixing the flavors while cooking to better blend the tastes. The restaurant needs some decorator help–it has all the charm of a Jack in the Box. I would only give it an average grade of 3 saguaros.”
Here’s Karen’s take on Holy Smokin’ Butts.
“Texas BBQ has never been one of our favorites, but in the many years that we have been in Tucson, we have never come across a real Texas BBQ or anything close to it.
I have been in Texas many times for work, and even lived there for a short time. Each time I would visit, my colleagues would want to take me to a Texas BBQ, the best in town, they would say. So I learned a lot about Texas BBQ. Lesson #1. Nothing green.
So, when friend Patty told us that Holy Smoking’ Butts on the far east side of town was a winner, we decided to go, despite the fact that in my mind, it was halfway to Benson, or at least Vail.
Amazingly they took our reservations. Reservations? Texas BBQ? Okay. Whatever. We arrived promptly at noon on a Saturday. It was busy but not that busy. Take out was hoppin’ though. We were seated in a booth and presented with a single-page menu, front and back. Yep, typical Texas BBQ menu. The sit-down and get-served was a treat for a Texas BBQ. I ordered a lemonade and the pulled pork plate. You can also order a Sandwich or meat by the pound with sides of potato salad, macaroni and cheese, beans, or cole slaw. You can also order French fries which I was unaware was Texan. I had the beans and cole slaw as the sides. There was a green salad as a meal that one could order, but no side salad. Typical. Nothing green.
The pulled pork was abundant and awesome, actually spicy without any encouragement from the sauces that were offered on the table. My preference was the sweet sauce. The beans were good, novel even. And the cole slaw was as boring as cole slaw gets, also typical of my Texas BBQ experiences. I think that is what serves as veggie in Texas. The sides were served in, what looked to be a 1/4 cup dish, also typical of Texas BBQ. Lots of meat, minimal sides. Overall, I rate Holy Smokin’ Butts at three and a half Saguaros. It might should rate higher in Tucson, since it was the best I have found so far. We welcome anyone’s suggestions.”
The meat, beans, and potato salad on my Brisket Plate were all very good. The toast however was boring. My margarita was dull. I should have anticipated that when it came with a lemon wedge instead of lime. I’ll go with Karen’s rating and give Holy Smokin’ Butts three and a half saguaros. The interior could use some enhancements, as well. Like cushions for the booths, and some longhorn steer horns?
Holy Smokin’ Butts
6940 E. Broadway