Thorndale Meat Market has been on my radar a while. When Victoria and I go to Bryan, we take US-79 and pass it each time. I like visiting small town meat markets and I always wanted to stop. It always seemed like the timing was never right when we passed by. Either we had a full day in Bryan planned, so having a bunch of meat in a hot car wasn’t a good idea. If we were heading back to Austin, it was usually too late and they were closed.
Well the perfect timing came when I took my Texas Jerky Run. I was able to get there right when when they opened.
It was a good sign when I saw a feed store next door. I’m sure the feed store serves local farmers and ranchers who in turn serve a place like Thorndale Meat Market.
On the door it said, “Craft BBQ.” Another good sign!
You could get all your grocery shopping done here. They had all the essentials and it felt like a one stop shop.
The meat cases made my mouth water a bit.
In addition to the meat market\grocery store, Thorndale Meat Market is also a BBQ restaurant. There’s some tables to sit and eat your BBQ.
One of the things I have learned is when I start walking around and taking pictures, people get suspicious. This happened on my Canadian Pepperette Quest for their style of beef sticks. When I was at Tim’s Meats in Thunder Bay the lady behind the counter thought I was casing the joint and asked me what I was doing (they had actually been robbed a few days prior). I explained what I was doing and Tim, the owner was actually there. Upon hearing that, he warmly greeted me and showed me around. I now make it a point to proactively point out what I’m doing. I started talking with the people behind the counter and ultimately ended up talking to Frank Felton III. “Call me Trey” he said. When I mentioned my blog he told me he knew who I was and he had actually been following my blog since I blogged about Readfield Meats in Bryan. This really made my day and was absolutely awesome! I love talking to people who follow this blog and it was such great timing that I ran into Trey on this random road trip I had conceived only a few days prior. We started talking about blogging a bit. I found out Trey has his own blog where he blog about things like BBQ and trips he’s taken. He handed me a card for the blog and a few stickers for the meat shop.
Later on I read one blog entry of his called, “Aggieland and Italian Meats.” He has visited some of places that I have including Koppe Bridge and Readfield Meats. He provided a lot more background on the places than I did so it was definitely an interesting read. I then told him about my the jerky road trip I was taking. I was told that they don’t make their own jerky, but get it from Klemke’s in Slayton, Texas. Their signature meat was their smoked sausage, which was hanging above the counter we were talking at.
Trey asked me my t-shirt size and before I knew it, he gave me two t-shirts and a bunch of meat to try, including some BBQ. He really wanted me to see what Thorndale Meat Market had to offer!
I took the BBQ over to the table and gave everything a try.
The brisket was fatty and juicy. The ribs were very moist. The sausage was nice and chewy. Everything had a smooth smoke taste to it. All-in-all it was pretty good BBQ! I also tried the BBQ sauce.
The sauce was a bit thinner. It had the same thickness as what Southside Market has. Unlike Southside Market, who had sauce that tasted like a Bloody Mary, this sauce was slightly sweet. With sweetness you can go overboard and it can feel like your teeth are going to rot. That’s kind of how I felt after eating BBQ in Arkansas. This sauce had the right balance of sweetness and that sweetness added a bunch of flavor to the meat without making me want to go to the dentist. In many ways, I see the way this sauce is made as the gold standard if you want to go to sweet route. With me hitting up so many meat places, I was stuffed and I saved a lot of the food to try later at home. It was so good that I didn’t want anything to go to waste. A while after I got home and was hungry again, I tried the jerky and dried sausage.
The jerky had a more neutral taste to it with a good smokey aftertaste. It was slightly moist and tender and the texture was good overall. The next thing I tried blew me away!
Trey wasn’t lying about the dried sausage being one of Thondale Meat Market’s signature foods. It was downright amazing! I often find dried sausage to be horrible. It seems like the meat is greasy on the outside and then dry on the inside with what feels to be clumps of lard scattered throughout. This dried sausage had none of this. It was slightly moist and I didn’t taste any clumps of fat in it. I have no clue what sort of spices they were putting in the sausage beforehand but those spices and the way it was smoked makes for an explosion of flavor! I can say this is the best dried sausage I have had so far! Thorndale Meat Market is the quintessential small town meat market. In many ways, it feels like living history. After digging a bit on their website, it is living history! Their roots go back multiple generations and they’re keeping the Texas tradition of BBQ alive right on US-79 in Thorndale. Knowing that the dried sausage has a good shelf life, I no longer have to worry about it going bad on our trips to Bryan. I’m sure I’ll be back many more times, especially for that dried sausage! If you want to read about the storied history (and how that feed store next door ties into everything), you can visit Thorndale Meat Market’s website at: https://frankfelton.com/ Trey’s blog has a lot of interesting articles to read. You can visit it at: https://frankfelton.com/rogue-trippin All I can say is keep up the good work and keep making that great dried sausage!