Kickin’ Ash BBQ
21768 Eva Street in Montgomery, Tx 77356
Chain Size: 1
Service Type: Sit down
Date reviewed 4-7-2013 Brisket 83, Sausage 74
Date reviewed 5-11-2013 Brisket 80, Pork Ribs 90
This was our true destination on this day and unfortunately after each of us downing a two meat plate, we were unable to sample the variety we like. I will come back for a full review soon. I found the name by searching for good BBQ in Montgomery County. Kickin’ Ash is a relatively new business started by a group of folks who had competed in BBQ cook offs and decided to open a retail location. The location shares a building with Solomon Electric. The new building with paved driveway was the other end of the spectrum than the gravel parking lot and shack at Yo’ Mamma’s that we had just visited. But I learned a long time ago that you shouldn’t judge a BBQ joint by the building. One thing that can, but not always, indicate good food is how busy the place is. Kickin’ Ash is only open Friday-Sunday and closes at 3pm on Sunday but they seem to do plenty of volume during that time.
We arrived at 2pm and just missed the Sunday lunch special; a two meat plate with single side for $9. That was a good deal and we could have likely asked them to allow the purchase but we were planning on taking some home. The place was fully staffed and worked slightly different than most BBQ restaurants around – this was a sit down and order establishment. The staff was friendly and we were waited on in reasonable time. We didn’t have the ability to carry much on the bike so we just ordered a ½ pound of uncut brisket and a half pound of uncut regular sausage with intent to return and order a full meal.
When they brought our food the waitress said they gave us jalapeno cheese sausage by mistake. I told her we would eat is as I did want to try it. If I have to pick one type of sausage to judge I will choose plain, but if I have the opportunity I like to venture first to Jalapeno cheese and then to other varieties if available. We jumped on the bike and headed back home as we were too full to even sample the food at the table.
Less than thirty minutes later we opened up our two Styrofoam containers and inspected the contents. The brisket was moist, tender, and cooked just right. It began to fall apart as I sliced a small piece off but upon tasting it was slightly bland. This wasn’t as bad as the steamed brisket I’ve had at some dubious joints and was eons better than the previous day’s meal, but it lacked significant flavor. The crust was soft and looked to have some spice, but I couldn’t see or taste any salt or pepper. This wasn’t terrible brisket and was slightly above average, but I wouldn’t rate it as exceptional.
The sausage had large chunks of cheese with a small amount of jalapeno. The amount of Jalapeno was just right, but the cheese overwhelmed the internals. The casing had a nice snap but the insides were finely ground, packed tight, and did not carry much juice. This was a decent attempt at but fell short. I am hesitant to rate this day’s choices but I will anyway on the premise that we give it at least a second attempt.
Date Reviewed: May 11, 2013
Our second trip was similar to the first in regards to the brisket. Tender and moist, it lacked significant seasoning from rub and the fat was not fully rendered. This time the smoke ring was much smaller but the flavor was similar. I think that with some time they might improve the brisket and I think I’ll find time to stop in sometime in the future. I would really like to find a consistently good BBQ joint around Montgomery or Conroe as it’s such a nice area to ride in.
Rather than sausage we tried the pork ribs and were pleasantly surprised. They were tender to the point of almost, but not quite falling off the bone which is just about perfect. There should be the slightest resistance when pulling the meat off and this was spot on. They were very moist and flavor from the smoke permeated the meat well.
The sauce was thick and sweet with a hint of twang. I think honey was an ingredient here and Leslye felt like the apple cider vinegar was also part of the recipe. It was good and only needed sparingly.
The potato salad was a little disappointing. Visually you could see a number of ingredients but when taking a bite it was a little bland. It was the only item we didn’t finish off.
We chose the spicy pinto bean side and were pleased. Often a chef will overload the spiciness, usually with jalapeno and/or cayenne simply to make it spicy. Here there was a good balance, with what looked like peeled tomatoes and a few small jalapeno pieces adding just enough spice. Also spotted in the mix was bacon. I would definitely recommend the spicy beans as a side.
I’ll make another trip out here. I think they have potential and would like to try some of the other options on the menu.
Riding tips and day trips: Kickin Ash sits a little west of downtown Montgomery, Texas. This area is prime motorcycle country for riders in and around Houston as FM149 cuts through downtown Montgomery and passes through the Sam Houston National Forest before heading west into Richards, Texas. You can make this part of a nice loop if you take 249 out of Houston and turn left onto 149. Follow that into Montgomery, through the National Forest and then head south from Richards on FM2978. Stay on FM2978 until it ends at FM1774 then head south into Magnolia. In Magnolia jog right onto FM1488 then left onto FM1774 which turns into 249 and takes you back into Houston. There are other options depending on where you are coming from, such as following FM1488 down to Hempstead or heading the other direction and taking FM1488 east towards IH45.
After finishing our meal we headed north on FM149 through Montgomery and observed the old houses that look to have been there for many years along with newer sections such as along Lone Star Parkway. Montgomery is just East of Lake Conroe and it seems that the higher end housing is beginning to encroach into the small town of Montgomery.
Traveling on this stretch of FM149 you must be on the lookout for a number of potential hazards; the road is two lanes with no real shoulder. The Texas Ironman triathlon passes through here and cyclists may be training or just riding through. Speeding motorcyclists can overtake you or be nearing the line headed in the opposite direction, and inebriated motorcyclists may be riding through after consuming too many adult beverages. Trees also fall across the road, while usually quickly being moved off the pavement there can be remnants left behind. Finally be on the watch for police trying to manage some of the mayhem that can occur on a busy weekend. The speed limit is 55 from outside of Montgomery into Richards.
As the sun fell behind the pine trees of the forest we rode in the cool shadows left behind. We followed the twisting road and elevation changes past FM1375 as the road turned westward and unfortunately began riding directly into the sun. Being careful not to get temporarily blinded we cruised passed a closed Drifters Icehouse which normally is a popular biker stop.
Extra caution should be applied as one enters the city of Richards. Immediately after crossing railroad tracks there is a sharp left turn. From Richards you could stay on FM149 into the city of Anderson and onward on HWY 90 which intersects HWY 6 in Navasota but I generally turn left onto FM2978 and head towards HWY 105. This stretch of FM2978 opens up to 65mph and the curves lighten up a bit but it is still a nice ride. One more extra note of caution at the tiny town of Dacus, as the road makes a hard right bend and there can be gravel strewn across the curve.
Crossing HWY 105 continue following FM2978 until it ends at FM1774 just north of Magnolia. Turn left and head southeast into Magnolia. We take a right onto FM1488 and then a quick left onto FM1774 which turns into 249 to get us back into the Tomball area. This is one of my favorite rides out of Houston, and it can be easily combined with stops on Lake Conroe and Drifter’s Icehouse to make a full day trip.