A discussion about steaks the other day reminded me of Joe Allen’s in Abilene, Texas. I may have posted about this in the past, but if so, it’s been a while. I don’t know if the place is still there, or if it is still in the same family. As a newcomer to Abilene (this is when I had my ROTC assignment), I was of course interested in the restaurants. Several people mentioned Joe Allen’s BBQ, but it wasn’t in the direct line of most places I drove through, although it isn’t as if it was much out of the way either. I did drive by one day and it was definitely what one would call ramshackle and not in a newer part of town. I put it on my “one of these days” list and several months later, a friend was startled I hadn’t been there yet.
We went and it was much the same on the inside as outside with wide plank floors and a large tin tub filled with ice and long-neck beers close to the buffet station. The station was actually the sides that came with their BBQ meals. Notwithstanding the name, they were equally known for their steaks. The thing was though it was one cut – boneless rib eye – cooked one way – grilled over mesquite. You could select from 1/2 inch to 4 inches thick and that’s how it was priced. Yes, I said 4 inches and in Texas you’ll always have some who can handle such a hunk of meat. Obviously, other restaurants served steaks and the two “nice steakhouse” our regular Friday night group went to did well. Hands down though no one made a better steak than Joe Allen. As much as I appreciate a hearty red, ice cold beer in long neck bottles was also the correct beverage choice. I do hope the place has passed to the next generation..