A week of work travel and an abundance of meetings felt like an eternity in between our weekly foodie adventures. We were in desperate need of some family time and of course some good grub on a quaint, early Sunday afternoon.
via Messenger, previous evening
Trisha: Are you back already?
Gaby: I’m actually omw home. About to pass out in one of the waiting areas.
Trisha: Sounds like you’re in desperate need of a night of Netflix and Vino!
SIDE NOTE: As much as we had put it “out in the universe” that we were willing to do a weekly column of Netflix, wine and “take-out” reviews (look up last week’s article for a refresher), that idea was immediately shut down by higher powers with a, “Ha ha ha, NO!” We tried, dear readers, but we guess we'll just have to continue with our weekly struggle of eating delicious foods.
Gaby: I’d love that, but duty calls and we need to put something out for this week.
Trisha: So true, but we may have to do an early dinner. Mama Watts has lovingly summoned me for lunch.
Gaby: Once again, why can’t we review her food? lol
Trisha: Ha, ha. I wish! Now start thinking of ideas for dinner.
Ah! Thee dreaded task of thinking of a new place to congregate for weekly mass (eating). Luckily, there has been a string of new places popping up around the McAllen metro. Remember, we WILL travel for a good bite.
Sunday morning came and went all too quickly and we decided to check out the new Smokin’ Moon in Pharr, cornered by Cinemark and Wells Fargo on Hackberry. If the name reminds you of another local eatery, that’s because Smokin’ Moon stems from the business partners who also run Copper Moon. In an effort to bring the Upper Valley some tasty meats, Smokin’ Moon is tackling the challenge and bringing some good BBQ to the PSJA-McAllen-Mission-Edinburg area.
What was planned to be a small outing of two, quickly became an actual “fiesta” of seven. Five more folks to the table is by no means a problem for us; especially because that adds more possibilities of trying other menu items (you know, in the name of research, wink!). Our large party was no feat for the staff. As soon as you enter Smokin’ Moon you are greeted by a couple of smiles behind a large counter with various Points of Sale so that we could all order at once. Lots of hungry and demanding carnivores meant that the staff had to work twice as hard to get our orders prepared. Without a misstep or a break of sweat, our orders were out within minutes.
As we all waited, we tried to sneak in glimpses into what was behind the red door with the words, “Smokin’ Moon BBQ & Beer Garden; No Jokin’...We’re Smokin’.” There was a large possibility that “The Pit” was behind Door #1. Like we’ve heard from various BBQ sources and teams from the area, “The pit makes the meat.” Flash forward right after our almost coma inducing meal, and the two BBQ connoisseurs from our group, walk around the building, knock on the gated door and ask, “Can we see your pit?”
Besides a good piece of meat, The Pit is the Pitmaster’s pride and joy. While we did not meet the Pitmaster himself, we did come upon a young man helping to prepare the meat. With great pride, he let us in and we came face-to-face with two bright red Oyler Pits from J&R Manufacturing. He opened the pits and we could see the carousel of meats being paraded before our eyes. Could we possibly be hungry 5 minutes after our feast?!?! One could see the joy this brought to the young man who had been working since 4:00 a.m. It was now well past 3:00 p.m. and he claimed that he had just been volunteering the last few hours because, “I really love my job.”
That proclaimed love flows into the food. Our family feast consisted of: tender, smoked turkey breast; collectively, at least a couple of pounds of moist brisket; some spicy, delicious links of jalapeño and cheese sausage, with
a variety of sides. The Street Corn was toasted off the cob, buttered and topped with crumbles of queso fresco. It was phenomenally tasty! We also couldn't resist ordering some Mac n Cheese and creamy potato salad. Ah, that peach cobbler, though...yummy!
If you're feeling adventurous (or like having a heart attack, in a good way) make sure to try their Full Moon Smoked Potato filled with loaded chopped brisket, pork butt and beef sausage topped with creamy butter, cheddar cheese and sour cream or their melt-in-your-mouth Dinosaur Rib.
While we didn’t get to check out the beer garden (we know, shocking), we’re looking to go back to taste some of their drinks, and more than 25 beers on tap, while enjoying their outdoor area. Smokin’ Moon BBQ & Beer Garden is located at 1617 W. Polk Avenue, Pharr, TX. Their hours of operation are Monday through Thursday 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11:00 a.m.-12:00 a.m.; Sunday 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. For more information you can contact them at (956) 884-7709 or follow them on their various social media outlets.
Gaby Jones and Trisha Watts work hand-in-hand with the service industry. Jones is in charge of craft and imported beer for L&F Distributors-South Texas and Watts is a freelance writer specializing in the marketing of the service industry. Each week they will have a new adventure and provide an opinion on multiple locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley. They can be reached at email@example.com.