We usually only frequent the small, independent BBQ joints since they invariably and handily beat the chains on BBQ quality. Plus they usually have 'character' as a bonus. But today (Sunday) Pappas on I-45 across from The Woodlands was the closest open BBQ place. and she wanted some BBQ right NOW. lol.
Service, like many BBQ joints, is cafeteria style. Very friendly and chatty servers. Big serve-yourself condiment island with all the trimmings possible.
She got the sliced brisket sandwich with a side of potato salad, and I got the 2-meat combo, choosing sliced brisket and pork ribs, with potato salad and beans. Like to get the basics when trying a BBQ place for the first time since that best reveals their style.
The meat portions were very generous, particularly the pork ribs. Which is my weakness anyway. Prices were average.
A big alert right up front here: DO NOT use their BBQ sauce... take your own, their's is that bad. Not kidding. The stuff is just awful. Extremely vinegary, with some unknown awful flavor. Never tasted such bad BBQ sauce. Fortunately we always ask for the sauce on the side so we can actually taste the brisket unadultereated.
The brisket had a nice smoke ring, tasted nice and smoky, a good flavor. But can't call it tender. Not tough, but not tender. Can't cut it with a fork. It was quite dry too, no moisture or fat at all. Pretty average brisket.
The pork ribs were very good, a great smoke flavor, and very generous. Not fall-off-the-bone tender, but tender enough. Above average ribs for a chain.
The beans tasted great, kinda spicy. A tad under-cooked though. But not enough to keep you from wanting to eat them.
The potato salad was GREAT! Why is it that most BBQ joints, even the mom & pops that make great BBQ, usually make very meek potato salad? This was very mustardy, lots of crunchy pickle and onion, and lumpy, not mushy like the pablum usualy served as potato salad. The real deal.
All in all, for a chain, this Pappas is slightly above average on food taste, but nowhere in the same league as, say, New Zion Baptist Church or Chop's or Burns. Probably would only return under similar circumstances... she wants BBQ quickly and is OK with where-ever!