Take Me Out to the Brisket: An Englishman on BBQ Sandwiches at Rangers Ballpark

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Gavin Cleaver
Here's something -- I am a very big fan of baseball. I can't explain why. I guess it's like really fast cricket. Anyway, I used to watch it late at night on TV back in the U.K. quite obsessively. It's the only American sport I've ever managed to get on board with, American football being poorly named and like rugby only with pads and a lot more stopping, and basketball having a meaningless amount of points-scoring to a man brought up on 0-0 soccer matches in the biting winter cold.

Here's something else -- I'm a Rays fan. I know, I know. Theirs was the first baseball stadium I visited, on a holiday to Florida, and the idea of a baseball stadium being entirely indoors amused me no end. "What happens if the ball hits the roof?" I asked the guy next to me. "It happens sometimes," he shrugged, indifferent to the chaos that architects can wreak on sports. "Hey, are you Australian?"

As such, being 15 minutes' drive from a major league stadium, I find myself at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington a lot. Luckily, as with many major public attractions in Texas (especially the delights one can find at the State Fair), the cartoonish aspect of Texan stereotypes is played up to the nth degree. This is because Texas is fun, and doesn't take itself too seriously. No one in Britain would go to an over the top British-themed anything. I saw the version of Britain at Epcot and I vomited out my spleen in fury.

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Gavin Cleaver
That's $9.25 right there. Turns out that there is crying in baseball, once you add up the cost.
Getting a brisket sandwich on Dollar Hot Dog Night is akin to asking for a $50,000 car when someone just offered you a perfect serviceable one for $1,000, and I get some funny looks, even some questions like "Don't you want a hot dog?" I do not, no, unless it's a Longoria's brisket sausage, and given these prices I would not be prepared for that unless I sell not only everything I own, but everything I ever threw away or will own in the future. So, as if to antagonize the staff, I bought two brisket sandwiches. One Texas Rangers BBQ Smokehouse's own brand, and one Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce brisket sandwich. There was a 75-cent difference in price, with the Sweet Baby Ray's being cheaper at a still unbelievably hefty $8.50. Both were served with an anemic pickle and the most basic salted chips imaginable. Texas Rangers brand at least had the largest vat of barbecue sauce I had ever had. I would say it was Texas-sized if I didn't completely hate that expression. There's a dentist by my house who advertises "Smiles The Size Of Texas!" THAT WOULD BE FUCKING TERRIFYING.

Taking my haul back to my seat, where I had missed a home run, something that seems to happen every time I vacate my position, I unwrapped the Sweet Baby Ray's to be confronted by a basic hamburger bun with a stingy helping of brisket. At $8.50, I believe that works out to about $1 a bite, and that the brisket in that sandwich is worth more per pound than Elvis Andrus. It's also worth reporting that, at the same time, I got a chicken sandwich from the SBR's stand that was drier than licking the Sahara. Even my stepson couldn't manage it, and he will literally eat anything except peas, for some reason. We theorize he's scared of spherical foods. Anyway, as you can probably imagine, the SBR brisket sandwich was chewy, dry, in stale bread and generally awful. Not even a romanticized notion of ballpark food can save that one.

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Gavin Cleaver
Mmm. Sauce.
The Rangers' brand one was a lot better, even though at $9.25 for a sandwich and one quarter of a small pickle it should at the very least be limited edition, and Craig Gentry should have signed it "KITTENFACE." There was so much brisket in it that it spilled out everywhere, and the brisket actually felt like it had met a smoker once. It was relatively tender, and the sandwich had much better bread than the other one, but still it's nothing too memorable. I guess you can't expect much from mass-produced ballpark food, but this is really decent enough.

So, if you are at Rangers Ballpark and you need, nay you demand, brisket, get the BBQ Smokehouse one, not the Sweet Baby Ray's. Either way, do it on a night that's not Dollar Hot Dog Night. In fact, it's Nolan Ryan Duster Bobblehead day coming up soon, so try for that one. Oh, and the Rangers lost with the tying run at the plate in the ninth, Andrus striking out for the last out. I'm not one for superstition, but next time I'll get a hot dog.


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9 comments
G_David
G_David

Maybe they actually would have been better on a non-dollar hot dog night.  They probably pour all the man hours they can into satisfying everybody's need to shovel garbage down their throats, thereby neglecting the quality control on the brisket options.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

I went to blanket night with Yu on Tuesday.   We didnt get a blanket, I drank 8 beers had 2 hot dogs in the 7th for $10 and nearly shat myself in bed at 3 am.  Ill go for the turkey leg next time

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

You are permitted to bring your own food and non alcoholic beverages (no glass or metal). Saves money, you get better food, sometimes a prankster friend will dose or spike the fruit punch, and no waiting at the concession stand.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@CitizenKane here is a review...*Wilonsky voice*  its teeerrrrrribbbblle.  cold ass hot dogs nachos and flat sodas with a bunch of 8 y.o. brats running around sticking their fingers on everything

Nictacular
Nictacular

@ScottsMerkin We were there, too. No blankets when we arrived. Saw Yu scuffle and still manage to get a win. Thanks, bats.

Also drank two $9 PBRs from the same stand that sells the boomstick and some other monstrosity for $26. Right around the corner from $9 garlic fries. $9 FRIES!

JustSaying
JustSaying

@primi_timpano Sometimes a friend will dose OR spike your fruit punch? I'm all about sneaking in booze but its got to be hard to make it through 9 innings with a belly full of roofies.

Daniel
Daniel

@primi_timpano Last time I dosed at a baseball game, the pitcher morphed into Jerry Garcia and I became sore afraid.

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