Staying Paleo at a BBQ Joint?
OK, I know what you are thinking—Staying paleo at a BBQ restaurant is as easy as getting wet by falling into a lake. That’s because most people think paleo means eating all meat. While the paleo diet is a relatively high-protein and low-carb diet, it doesn’t mean you should eat all meat. According to Paul Jaminet, author of the “Perfect Health Diet,” the Paleolithic diet consisted of these macronutrient ratios:
- Carbohydrates: 13-20%
- Short-chain and medium chain fats: ~3%
- Other fats: ~60%
- Protein: ~15-25%
This is a restaurant review, so I won’t go into all of the details here, but check out Paleo Mag Online’s How to Avoid the Top 5 Paleo Traps & Sustain a Balanced Lifestyle for more details on why too much meat is bad for you.
Other than protein overload, there are three other big traps to avoid at BBQ restaurants.
- First, there is a lack of paleo side dishes at most BBQ restaurants. What do you think of when you think of BBQ side dishes? Potato salad and baked beans were my old go-tos. Both are no-nos for people on low-carb diets.
- Another big trap is most BBQ sauces are loaded with high-fructose corn syrup, and nearly all are too high in sugar.
- Finally, not all meat is created equally. Fresh, grass-fed, sustainably raised beef is the best, and it is tempting for BBQ restaurants to cut corners on meat because good meat is expensive.
Can you avoid the BBQ traps at Goode Company?
Why Goode is great
Goode Company BBQ was founded by Jim Goode and his uncle, Joe Dixie in 1977 at their Kirby location. Since then, they have opened two other BBQ Restaurants, two Seafood Restaurants, a taqueria, and a restaurant featuring live Texas music. All of their restaurants are known for using mesquite to cook their made-from-scratch dishes. For my money, Goode Company is the most consistently good BBQ in the city. Pre-paleo, I frequented the Kirby location on a regular basis enjoying their BBQ, home-made jalapeño bread, and the best pecan pie that didn’t come out of my grandma’s kitchen. Plus I always washed it all down with an ice-cold beer. But how does it rate from a paleo perspective?
Meet the meat
So, I just warned you about the dangers of overeating protein, why am I starting with meat? IT’S TEXAS BBQ! You gotta’ start with the meat or why even bother with a review. Rest assured, Goode Company has the meat under control. They use fresh, locally-sourced beef and slow-smoke it over Texas mesquite. In other words, the way it should be done. I assume that their beef is corn-fed because there is always a lot of marbling in the brisket and they do not specify that it is organic or grass-fed. I ordered the 2-meat combo with brisket and pork ribs because I can never choose between the two. As I said, Goode Company’s brisket is consistently great. I have never had brisket at Goode that was not smoked to perfection, and I am seriously critical of brisket. Their ribs are also always smoky, juicy, and fall off the bone tender. You can’t go wrong with any of their smoked meats, including their sausages, chicken and turkey. All are cooked right, although I do wish I knew a bit more about how the meat was sourced.
What about the BBQ traps?
Let’s start with the BBQ Sauce. Goode Company lists Karo syrup as it’s third ingredient just behind tomato sauce and water. While it’s not high-fructose corn syrup, it is still off the menu for me. For an article about how corn syrup differs from high-fructose corn syrup see Kitchn’s informative post. That’s not an issue because I am a purist when it comes to BBQ, and I feel like BBQ sauce ruins all that is great about BBQ. I feel like it overpowers all the wonderful tastes of the meat, seasoning, and glorious smoke in good BBQ, so I stay away from all BBQ sauce or use it very sparingly. Trap one solved: hold the sauce.
What about the sides? Well I used to love their Austin baked beans. If you have never had them, they are like regular baked beans with fresh bell pepper and granny-smith apples added. They are delicious, but they are moderately acceptable at best on the paleo diet. The good news is Goode Company’s coleslaw is fully paleo, and pairs nicely with the smoked meat. I just had them double up on the slaw for my two sides. Add in some pickled jalapeños, fresh onions, and pickles, and you get a relatively balanced meal.
The biggest trap to avoid though is passing up on Goode Company’s legendary pecan pie.
You just can’t go wrong with Goode Company BBQ. Just hold the sauce and go with their fresh coleslaw for your sides.