Carlsbad, New Mexico – Several years ago when I first got into cooking barbecue commercially, one of my heroes was Danny Gaulden, who at the time ran a combination barbecue joint and Dairy Queen. His Dairy Queen was one of the last DQ’s that wasn’t regulated under the franchise as to what foods he had to serve, in fact he had gotten in the food business long before Dairy Queen thought there was much of a profit in it. Through my beginning years in the barbecue we corresponded via email and I always promised if I was ever out that way I would stop in and give his barbecue a try.
We stopped in Carlsbad for a couple of days to go to Carlsbad Caverns and wound eating at Danny’s Place twice. These days Danny’s Place is just a regular restaurant that serves his famous barbecue as well as many other outstanding dishes. Gone is the Dairy Queen franchise and signs but it hasn’t affected the quality of his food or his customer base. He still packs the house most every night with both new and regular customers . During both of our visits there was a good number of customers in the restaurant.
The first time we went to Danny’s Place I ordered the brisket plate since that is one of his signature dishes. If you live in Texas, then brisket is just another fact of life, but further north into New Mexico not so much so. The brisket plate that Debra and I both ordered came with fries, coleslaw, pickles, peppers, onion slice and a couple of rolls. The serving of brisket on the plate was large, there had to be nearly 12 ounces of meat on the platter. When we bit into the brisket it was packed with flavor, it had the right amount of smoke without being bitter. There was a good smoke ring on it and a nice bit of bark on the outside edge. The texture of the meat was excellent in that it was tender and had the right amount of stretch to it. I have to hand it to Danny and his crew, they know their brisket cooking.
The second night we ate at Danny’s Place we both ordered the rib plate which consisted of a half of a rack of spareribs, two sides, the pickles, peppers, onion slice and a couple of rolls. For my two sides I got the coleslaw and fried okra and Debra go the mustard slaw and fries. The spareribs were meaty with a good bark on the outside and were smoked to perfection. The meat pulled loose from the rib bone with a slight tug and separated cleanly. We both enjoyed the ribs and thought they could rival the ribs sold at some of the best barbecue joints in Alabama.
I tried both visits to talk with Danny, but he was not there and I was told that he was not scheduled to come in any of the days we were in town. So I missed an opportunity to get to meet him in person, maybe next time.
|Smoked-Brisket:||(8.0 / 9)|
|Spare-ribs:||(8 / 9)|
|Slaw:||(7 / 9)|
|Sauce:||(7 / 9)|
|Hot Sauce:||(6 / 9)|
|Staff-Friendliness:||(7 / 9)|
|Atmosphere:||(7 / 9)|
|Cleanliness:||(7 / 9)|
|Value:||(7 / 9)|
Credit cards: Yes
Catering Service Available: Yes
Suggestions: Two meat Combo Plate
Service: Small town friendly
Vegetarian Friendly: Ugh, it’s a q-joint, you figure it out
Price Range: $$
Health Score: Unknown
Smoke Free: Yes
Soft Drink Brand: Coke