Victoria’s renowned barbecue spot, Mumphord’s Place, was named one of the 50 Best Barbecue Joints by Texas Monthly magazine not long ago. Alerted to this distinction, the Victoria Advocate sent in its own newspaper taste-test team to sample the ‘cue themselves.
Naturally, the staff at the CVB figured we needed to do the same so I gladly volunteered for the assignment, declaring I had bona fide barbecue credentials. I grew up in this area and since my grandpa owned what was once Mr. Bar-B-Q in Edna, I’ve had my fair share of solid barbecue meals.
On first arrival, Mumphord’s has the look of what you might expect of one of those hole-in-the-wall barbecue joints. Driving up you’ll notice the red and white brick/stone façade and wooden-posted front porch. Near the back of the small parking is a large wood stack and the dark, smoky pit area. Any barbecue aficionado can tell that when you spot those two landmarks, it’s a good omen for the quality of your forthcoming meal. When you walk inside you are greeted with a bit of a hodgepodge of decorations. The walls are lined with a mix of items ranging from old athletic jerseys and mounted deer heads, to family photos and a proclamation to the Mumphord family from former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin. An interesting touch for a barbecue joint was the large screen TV in the middle of one wall playing a rerun of “Bones” on TNT.
The staff was pretty friendly and had no problem joking around with guests. I was glad to know that I wasn’t the only first-timer to this seller of smoked meats; I ended up seated by a trio of ladies enjoying chopped beef sandwiches on their first lunch break to Mumphord’s. For this task I was only a team of one, so I couldn’t exactly take on the full spread of meats and sides they had to offer and elected for a three meat and 2 side combo. For meats I chose your South Texas staples: brisket, sausage, and pork ribs. Never being a big fan of coleslaw or potato salad, I tried to order the green beans and pinto beans. Emphasis on “tried”. Word to the wise, at Mumphord’s when they say “double bean” it doesn’t mean one of each type of bean. I ended up with a pretty good heaping of pinto beans on my plate. At first I was disappointed in my error, but after I got a quick bite of the beans I figured I was ok. They were pretty flavorful and had that good texture; not mushy, but not crunchy and undercooked either. Sorry for the tangent, I’m sure what you really want to know about is the barbecue…
I started with the pork ribs, and while I found them to be a little more rib than rib meat, they still had a good smoky flavor. As for the sausage, I grew up in the Moulton area, about an hour north of Victoria in pretty much the heart of the Czech-German area in South Central Texas (Hallettsville, Schulenburg, Shiner, etc.). The kind of sausage I grew up eating usually has a little more pepper in it and is a bit coarser and meatier. Still, I really enjoyed Mumphord’s offerings in this category as it had a rich, even flavor and was pretty tender which was a nice change.
My favorite part hands down was the brisket. Quite honestly, I’ve never understood the whole “melt in your mouth” thing people on Food Network and what not gush about in reference to meat. Meat shouldn’t “melt” in your mouth; that’s not natural. Mumphord’s brisket was flavorful and tender but with enough texture to feel like I was eating the actual brisket meat and not some brisket/fat concoction.
The sauce happened to also be one of my favorite parts of the meal. It was a light blend that didn’t run all over the place, and at first bite had a sweet taste that by the time you were done chewing had a tangy zing to it. And to top it all off, the sweet tea was pretty good too.
All in all I have to say that I definitely saw why Mumphord’s is considered by some as one of Texas’s top BBQ spots. But rather than just take my word for it, be sure to taste for yourself some time!
Mumphord’s Place is located at 1202 E. Juan Linn St. and is open Monday-Thursday 11am-7pm, Friday 11am-9pm, and Saturday 11am-6pm. For more information call 361-485-1112.