Wis-Tex BBQ (Stoughton WI)

2011/09/17 21:20:25
Man, I'm having some wicked writer's block trying to get this thread's literary engine started so I guess I'll go with the basics...
A couple of months ago the sign outside the former Bella Roma restaurant on Stoughton's west side changed to "Wis-Tex BBQ" (the hyphen is debatable) and was festooned with a "Coming Soon!" banner so I'd been keeping an eye on things, and when I read in last week's local paper that the doors had been flung open to welcome the public I made a mental note to stop by in the near future.  The near future was today.
It's a fairly large building and when I dined there in the past (both as Bella Roma and the back-in-downtown Marsala's Pizza) only about 50% was utilized so I hope the proprietor is getting a break on the lease, because without a big crowd there's a lot of empty/wasted space.  I happened to be passing by today a little after 1pm and even though I'd been thinking about stopping there for dinner tonight I figured that there was no time like the present, so I parked, entered, and asked to be seated at the bar.
The 4 "signature" meats are chopped brisket, chopped pork shoulder, ham, and turkey breast; I chose the 3-meat basket with brisket, pork, and turkey with red potato salad (brought home for Mrs. SC) and pinto beans as the sides.  Ribs are also on the menu and according to the newspaper article the owner considers ribs and brisket to be his 2 best meats, but they're listed only as a $4.00 option for the combo baskets.
My lunch arrived quickly but not knowing how the operation works and since I had inferred from overheard employee conversations that the owner might be on the premises it was tough to decide if the meats had been chopped (brisket, pork) and sliced (turkey) to order or merely plated from holding bins; I'll give the benefit of the doubt and opt for the former.
I ate a forkful of brisket.  And then a forkful of pork.  And then a slice of turkey.  And holy freakin' crap, I could taste the smoke in each and every one.  So then I moved on to the pinto beans, which looked suspiciously like baked beans.  "This won't be good", I thought.  And I thought wrong, because there wasn't the slightest hint of sugar or molasses.  OK, so I needed to add salt to please my palate but the lack of sweetness alone immediately moved them onto my A list.  On the down side, the Texas toast did need to be toasted a little more.
According to the newspaper story the owner is a Texan with barbecue experience in his home state but circumstances dictated he move to Wisconsin a decade or so ago, and he's been hoping to open his own place for a number of years.  Now I can't claim to be an expert on Texas barbecue outside of what I've read but I think he has a good idea with his basic menu, with a few Wisco-centric tweaks (chopped brisket instead of sliced, Friday fish fry) thrown in.  I hope he doesn't try to do too many things to please too many people, though, because that's almost always a recipe for failure.
the CA CWBY in WI
Junior Burger
Re:Wis-Tex BBQ (Stoughton WI) 2011/09/23 17:33:02
I am also from Stoughton and was waiting for it to open. I Posted a longer review on Urbanspoon.
Have eaten a lot of Brisket (and in most of Texas except east) and never ever had it served to me chopped so fine I could have eaten without teeth. Not what I would prefer. Yes it was smoked meat, but lacked the Texture I expect. Bland seemed to be theme for 3 of the sides: cole slaw, red potato sald, and pinto beans. We will go back & try the Turkey (Madison Dining says this was good) and Ribs. But I don't think they'll make it at this location (and feel bad for saying) it's way too much square footage for a BBQ place. They would have been better off leasing the old Taco Johns up the street.
Re:Wis-Tex BBQ (Stoughton WI) 2011/09/24 10:20:18
Howdy, neighbor.
If I had to guess I'd say that even though it's a larger building it might be more cost-efficient overall than the Taco John's building would've been, and I don't know who the TJ building owner is but it's possible that in a lease situation he/she/it might've been opposed to any major changes that might've been required.  Plus the Marsala's building already had a bar area.
For a smaller city like Stoughton where it's likely that not a whole lot of people are familiar with barbecue, the chopped brisket provides a more uniform product.  Can you imagine the looks on Ole's and Lena's faces when they're asked "fat or lean" or "point or flat"?  Hopefully at some point he'll offer an option for sliced brisket, though; I'd like to try it.  Plus Stoughton is loaded with senior citizens so chopped meats and less-seasoned sides are probably more attractive to them.
Yes, do try the turkey.  I'm always concerned that smoked chicken or turkey breast will be dry but that wasn't the case.
NC Cheesehead
Re:Wis-Tex BBQ (Stoughton WI) 2011/09/24 10:55:42
I am originally from Wi and have had bbq all around the nation.  This place has the best I ever had anywhere.  You know it's real when there are 10 cords of wood stacked out in the back and you can smell the smoke 3 blocks away.....
Re:Wis-Tex BBQ (Stoughton WI) 2011/09/24 10:59:54
Chicken Fried  Brats, Chili- Cheese Curds and BBQ  Fish Fries  that's what first comes to mind with the thread title  
Re:Wis-Tex BBQ (Stoughton WI) 2011/10/26 16:03:57
I've been back a couple of times since my first visit and so far things have been pretty good (the beans have definitely improved); I've stuck with the barbecue items and haven't tried the burgers or other things.  I like the ribs because they have a nice texture and chew to them and the seasoning's pretty simple, which lets the smoke come through.  The ham is sliced fairly thick and while it was good for dinner I really liked it as a sandwich the next day.  The only thing we really haven't cared for so far has been the corn, which is about half a cob and tasted like it'd been held in water too long.  Truthfully, I'd prefer places serve corn on the cob when it's in season and the frozen, off the cob version the rest of the year.

Brisket and pork.

Ham and turkey.


Fries, beans, and a little technical difficulty.

Re:Wis-Tex BBQ (Stoughton WI) 2011/10/26 17:07:29
The BBQ ribs look pretty good for Wisconsin. Although, not too sure about the other meats. Where's the BBQ'd Lutefisk? 
ann peeples
Re:Wis-Tex BBQ (Stoughton WI) 2011/10/26 20:16:38
Funny man, twinwillow!
Re:Wis-Tex BBQ (Stoughton WI) 2011/10/26 23:30:12
Well, that's what I get for watching Andrew Zimmern.