100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 27, Brisket and Turkey at CorkScrew BBQ

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Photos by Katharine Shilcutt
This year leading up to our annual Best of Houston® issue, we're counting down our 100 favorite dishes in Houston. This list comprises our favorite dishes from the last year, dishes that are essential to Houston's cultural landscape and/or dishes that any visitor (or resident) should try at least once.

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The red oak smoke on the barbecue at CorkScrew BBQ is what sets its pit apart from so many others in town. Although it's located just off a busy road south of The Woodlands, CorkScrew BBQ is a legit roadside 'cue stand: There's no indoor seating, just a few scattered picnic tables, and the massive pit is on full display with a scent that permeates your clothes and hair for hours.

There in Spring, in a gravel lot off a quiet side road, Will and Nichole Buckman have set up a simple shop with only a smoker, a trailer for order-taking and a few scattered picnic tables. But even though it's tucked away, the CorkScrew caravan is hard to miss thanks to its black and bright-pink paint job.

The first time I went to CorkScrew, I tried to order the smoked chicken. Although it was early in the day, the chicken was already sold out -- Nichole explained that it's one of their most popular items -- and so I reluctantly settled for the turkey instead. I shouldn't have been hesitant to try it: The normally dry bird is kept moist and juicy by CorkScrew's smoker and emerges infused with a woodsy aroma and remarkably tender.

The fatty, soft brisket was the star of the afternoon, however, with a wonderfully charred exterior and smoke ring that spoke to hours spent in the hot confines of CorkScrew's big, black smoker. It had a flavor that I couldn't quite place, though -- a sweet smokiness that was entirely unlike the mesquite- or hickory- or even pecan-smoked 'cues you find so often in Texas. I think that red oak will ultimately set CorkScrew apart and -- I predict -- draw serious 'cue hounds to the spot as more people learn of the Buckmans' talent at the smoker.

The list so far:

No. 100: Chili cheese mac at Jus' Mac
No. 99: Texas turkey sandwich at Spec's
No. 98: Custard at Petite Sweets
No. 97: Caprichos mixtos at Taqueria Monterrey Chiquito
No. 96: Pineapple-wasabi burger at Lankford Grocery
No. 95: Farmer's MKT Pizza at Phoenicia's MKT Bar
No. 94: Potatoes at Money Cat Brunch
No. 93: Breakfast tacos at Sunrise Taquito
No. 92: Hot dog at Tacos D.F.
No. 91: Avocado gelato at Frozen Cafe
No. 90: Chicken sandwich at JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers
No. 89: Beer-battered asparagus at Hearsay
No. 88: Honey Badger omelet at Kraftsmen Cafe
No. 87: Pastelitos de carne at El Jalapeño
No. 86: Pancakes at Union Kitchen
No. 85: Wild boar and crab pizza at Boheme
No. 84: Breakfast croissant at BB Donuts
No. 83: Pretzel at Anvil Bar & Refuge
No. 82: Short rib sandwich at Shepherd Park Draught House
No. 81: Grilled shrimp po-boy at Pappadeaux
No. 80: Dahi puri at Shiv Sagar
No. 79: Aporreado at Los Corrales
No. 78: Oxtail francobolli at Aldo's Cucina Italiana
No. 77: Tonkotsu at Cafe Kubo's
No. 76: Spinach danish from Angela's Oven
No. 75: Pupusas at El Petate
No. 74: Pheasant dog at Sammy's Wild Game Grill
No. 73: X-Tudo burger at Friends Pizzeria
No. 72: Esparragos gratinados at Tintos
No. 71: Gua bao at Yummy Kitchen
No. 70: Geisha dog at Happy Endings
No. 69: Oyster po-boy and gumbo at Goode Co. Seafood
No. 68: Ceviche at Sirena Seafood
No. 67: Caldo de mariscos at Taqueria Arandas
No. 66: Banana pudding at Pizzitola's
No. 65: Fried catfish and gumbo at Cafe-A-La
No. 64: Soft-shell crabs at Banana Leaf
No. 63: Macaroni and cheese at Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse
No. 62: Torta burger at El Gran Malo
No. 61: Black bean burger at Ziggy's
No. 60: Parillada at Pampa Grill
No. 59: Peanut butter and jalapeño jelly burger at Wicked Whisk
No. 58: Eggplant involtini at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino
No. 57: Lone Star dog at James Coney Island
No. 56: Sushi at Sushi Miyagi
No. 55: Palestinian chicken at Al Aseel
No. 54: Roast beef sandwich at Local Foods
No. 53: Mexico City plate at Molina's Cantina
No. 52: Tacos at Brothers Taco House
No. 51: Branzino at Lucio's BYOB
No. 50: Beef sweetbreads at Feast
No. 49: Golden Doomba Special at the Rice Box Truck
No. 48: Malted waffle at City Cafe
No. 47: Banh mi bo kho at Cafe TH
No. 46: Chicken fried steak at Triple A
No. 45: Larissa plate at Harry's
No. 44: Spaghetti carbonara at Coppa Ristorante Italiano
No. 43: Wings and grits at The Breakfast Klub
No. 42: Frito pie at C&D Burger Shoppe
No. 41: Pollo con mole at El Gallo de Jalisco
No. 40: Fried avocado taco at H-Town StrEATs
No. 39: Rigatoni in bolognese sauce at Paulie's
No. 38: Chorizo kolaches at Peña's Donut Heaven
No. 37: Sashimi at Dadami
No. 36: Half-pound burger at benjy's
No. 35: Fried chicken at Haven
No. 34: Whole-fried speckled trout at Liberty Kitchen
No. 33: Moules congolaise at Jeannine's Bistro
No. 32: Pancakes at Fountain View Cafe
No. 31: Pineapple with chile en polvo at Canino's
No. 30: Fried chicken at Barbecue Inn
No. 29: Dirty Burque at Green Seed Vegan
No. 28: Egusi at Finger Licking Bukateria



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Location Info

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CorkScrew BBQ

24930 Budde Road, Spring, TX

Category: Restaurant

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3 comments
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Nate
Nate

Again the fascination with oak.  Oak is the wood of choice for central texas type smoking.  This is not out of the ordinary at all...

helliemaes
helliemaes

@EatingOurWords I grew up in Spring (or Spraaang, as we called it). If only @corkscrewBBQ had been there back then.

beer_chris
beer_chris

@EatingOurWords just recently discovered @corkscrewbbq, in lurve.

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