Buford Wiley’s Barbecue In Lubbock Texas

The abundance of mesquite in West Texas figures heavily in pit boss emeritus [and owner] Buford Wiley’s choice of wood for his old timey barbecue joint on Lubbock’s Northeast side.

On a recent visit we ran the table at Mr. Wiley’s little restaurant and came to the conclusion that his mesquite source is a good one as the signature raw, creosote flavor that’s normally associated with the wood was missing. Old mesquite can be good wood for a meat fire.

While Buford Wiley’s eponymous operation has only been open for 17 years his work in the field dates back even further to when he toiled part time as a pit man and worked full time as a school teacher at Dunbar High School.

One thing we noted during a busy lunch, the other patrons were almost all eating fried catfish platters and/or enormous hamburgers. Probably neighborhood regulars taking a break from the smoked meat we reckoned.

The brisket is overly tender and has a steamed quality that’s a bit off-putting. It’s blazing hot as though it’s seen the inside of microwave in the very recent past.

The pork spare rib is better. It’s at a normal temperature and has a bit of a chew to it. Mr Wiley explains that this is what Coach Knight gets on his frequent visits.

The building, in a nearly abandoned vintage plaza, is charming in a rough and tumble sort of way. It reminds us of old, 70’s era restaurants on the fringes of deep south towns like Atlanta or Birmingham.

We ate at a brace of barbecue restaurants in Lubbock recently and Wiley’s had the best barbecue pork rib of the lot. While it’s not worthy of a road trip from Austin just for the barbecue if you’re in the Lubbock area it’s a worthy option.

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