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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Counter service

Wed–Fri 11:00am–6:30pm
Sat 11:00am–5:30pm

Bar None
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx


Northwest Houston
5535 N. Gessner Rd.
Houston, TX
(713) 466-6525
The friendlies here manage to nail brisket, ribs, and sausage

Some blame Houston’s clean-air laws (we have those?) as the reason why the city’s barbecue doesn’t stack up to that of the Hill Country. Aside from the Chinese version, of which we can be enormously proud, our city’s self-proclaimed barbecue barons dish up mushy brisket and meats with nary a hint of smoke. However, on the outskirts, in its modest little house, Virgie’s nails it. This may be a bold statement, but the brisket will back us up, aggressively smoked as it is and tearing apart with ease. Pork ribs have a vigorous pepper coating, mild smoke flavor, and are moderately tender without being mealy. The sausage is a surprise here, juicy and delectable, and of the loose-packed style from Central Texas, as opposed to the finely ground, yammy stuff we find out here.

Sides are harmless, but they don’t stand out either, and the sauce is much too sweet; we prefer the sweetness of the welcoming staff, anyhow. There are some quirks: apparently, sometimes meat’s zapped in the micro for a sec to reheat it for off-hours visitors, and everything’s served in styrofoam, whether you’re dining in or not. But even a cardinal barbecue sin like nuking doesn’t reveal itself in the flavor or texture somehow. Who struck this devil’s deal?

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