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Taste Test Thursday: Potato Salad

Potato salad is a sensitive subject. Not as sensitive as brisket, but more sensitive than greens and coleslaw. Folks really like their eggy, mustardy, mayoey salad. Or not. They hate it like that. Cold or hot, crunchy or mushy, smoky or sweet. This is a big deal in the South.

I went to four popular Dallas barbecue joints to get the mustard-based goods for a blind taste test.

THE CONTENDERS:
A: The Slow Bone
B: Sonny Bryan’s
C: Lockhart Smokehouse
D: Off the Bone BBQ

THE TASTERS:
Eight writers, designers, and interns who love some taters.

WHAT THEY SAID:

A: The Slow Bone

  • “Is there horseradish in here? I do believe I taste horseradish. I’d like to see a little more green stuff, something to add texture.”
  • “Has some really great spices going on. I can definitely taste the vinegar, but I don’t mind it.”
  • “Too much garlic, funny aftertaste.”
  • “Good mustard and tarragon. Potatoes are cooked well. Nice color.”
  • “HORSERADISH IS NOT FOR POTATO SALAD.”
  • “Nice texture, funny after-taste.”
  • “This one has the least amount of flavor.”
  • “Heavy on the mustard at first, then gives way to an herbal flavor, then…leaves a cardboard aftertaste? Weird.”

potato_salad_taste_test_1
B: Sonny Bryan’s

  • “Yeah, now you’re talking! Egg, red bell pepper, celery. This is a party in my mouth. Nice and peppery, too. A fine specimen of yellow-mustard-style potato salad.”
  • “This tastes pretty close to good ol’ traditional mustard-based potato salad. The old standard.”
  • “Really just mustard and potato.”
  • “First of all, YELLOW. Mustardy, gross.”
  • “A classic, mustardy potato salad. Not bad, but nothing special.”-“
  • “Classic, store-bought, large-tub style potato salad. Nothing wrong with that.”
  • “Traditional Dallas. On the nose.”
  • “Paltry color. Too much celery.”

C: Lockhart Smokehouse

  • “What’s happening here? Who put brisket in my potato salad? I have a friend. His name is Zac. He is a vegetarian. I would like to say, “Here, Zac, I brought you some potato salad,” and then watch him gag. It does, however, have a nice heat that builds as you plow through it.”
  • “BRISKET. Spicy cayenne too.”
  • “Very attractive and smoky. Flavor immediately disappears, though. Has meat, which is okay.”
  • “Nice twist with the brisket. Good smoky flavor and some kick.”
  • “Love the smoky flavor of this, with a slight mayo tinge. Perfect.”
  • “Kind of bland.”
  • “Pepper and BBQ – tasty!”
  • “Really different and smoky – too much smoke.”

potato_salad_taste_test_2
D: Off the Bone BBQ

  • “Bland. After eating B and C, this is like drinking a Bud Light after having just downed a Deep Ellum IPA.”
  • “Really gross.”
  • “Super plain, especially after C.”
  • “Bland, terrible, basically just yellow potatoes.”
  • “A step up from basic potato salad. A small step.”
  • “One word. Bland.”
  • “Weird texture and seems like there is a lot of dairy product in it, like sour cream or something. Strange.”
  • “Bland, not worth the calories.”

THE TALLY:
A: The Slow Bone – 3 votes
B: Sonny Bryan’s – 2 votes
C: Lockhart Smokehouse – 3 votes
D: Off the Bone BBQ – 0 votes

CONCLUSION:
Well, we didn’t narrow it down to one for you, but at least we took one out. The Slow Bone and Lockhart Smokehouse tied in our blind test, Sonny Bryan’s came in close second and Off the Bone BBQ got no love.

The Slow Bone’s version has horseradish, which really threw some of us off. But the spices, texture and herbs stood out. Then we got hit with that unfortunate aftertaste. But still, we liked this pretty well by comparison.
Sonny Bryan’s salad is very bright yellow without too much variety. Mostly it’s mustard and potato, but in that classic backyard barbecue kind of way.
Lockhart’s is pretty to look at. Very smoky, which is good for some but overwhelming for others. There is the brisket surprise as well. Greens, good texture, and a little kick made this the other winner.
The consensus of Off the Bone’s potato salad was that it’s bland and plain. There’s nothing wrong with simplicity, but it needed something interesting to help it hold its own against the other contenders. We’ll stick with OTB’s pecan smoked ribs.

If you’re looking for a classic, try Sonny Bryan’s. If you want something a little out of the ordinary, we suggest The Slow Bone’s horseradishy or Lockhart Smokehouse’s smoky renditions for your potato salad needs.

4 comments on “Taste Test Thursday: Potato Salad

  1. Best potato salad i’ve ever tried was at The Joint, a barbecue place in New Orleans. Had some egg salad mixed in and it was delicious.