Like Scott I travel pretty often for a living. BBQ is not the only thing I look for but it ranks up there near the top. I like a unique experience with local food. BBQ is done differently all over the country so it fits that bill. I always wonder if certain places are successful because of where they are or what they serve.
Places like Interstate BBQ serve fantastic food but also happen to be very convenient to said interstate. Other places are so far out that you can't even see "the sticks" if you had a step ladder. Even still the people are there. If you cook it they will come, I guess.
Rick's Smoke House probably falls somewhere in the middle. Garland is a bit of a suburban wasteland bordering on converted cattle country outside of Dallas. It also happens to be home to a really really big international defense contractor. I was working there again for a week. While I was getting my papers and badge done I saw a pretty steady stream of employees wandering across the street to and from the food to the hive. I called my customer and said I'd be in after I grabbed some lunch and headed off.
They weren't too busy in the parking lot for a lunch hour but most people were walking in. I got inside and asked someone in line what he liked and was told "most anything but the chicken". That was good because chicken is meant to be fried, baked, broiled, or grilled but rarely smoked for BBQ in my opinion. There were a lot of choices so I got a rib sandwich which is no switch for me. This was especially good with the ribs on Texas Toast.
The ribs were good. Definitely not the best I had but they had good texture and flavor. Probably the best thing about the meal was the toast. The worst thing about it was the German chocolate cake. I don't know what my deal is with dessert, but it's a mixed bag. I seriously considered putting the sauce on the cake. It would have been an improvement.
I got the plate with two sides: cheddar potatoes and soup beans. The potatoes were so-so. The beans were awesome. Instead of baked beans they had white soup beans. Good stuff.
All in all, I have had worse BBQ in Dallas. Maybe I haven't found the world famous stuff yet, but for a town that prides itself on brisket, these pork ribs were pretty darn good. Sonny Bryan's is supposed to be top notch, but I found that it is just an average local chain now. Someday I'll get back to Angelo's in Ft. Worth -- I hear that is pretty good too. But for now if I'm at a certain government contractor, I may go there again.