Schoepf’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que: Mixed Blessings in Belton

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In Texas Monthly’s last round-up of the Top 50 barbecue spots in the state, Schoepf’s scored big, earning a 4.5 rating out of 5. Schoepf’s definitely lacks the history of Texas’ better-known barbecue establishments. According to the counterman, Ronnie Schoepf, Sr. opened the restaurant just fifteen years ago. Ronnie, Sr. has since bequeathed the family restaurant to Ronnie, Jr. and Junior’s wife Staci. Schoepf’s didn’t live up to the 4.5, but it still deserves mention.

Barbecue Texas
We were compelled to follow the sign that read, “The good food’s in here.”

Barbecue Texas
Schoepf’s smoker was propped open, showcasing big metal bins mesquite smoked meats, including half chickens, pork chops and three kinds of sausage. Schoepf’s is a point, weight and tray spot.

Barbecue Texas
The three of us bought almost 4.5 pounds of meat for $46.49. That was an absurd amount of meat, especially considering we had three more meals to eat.

The brisket was cooked for eight hours, but had zero smoke ring and was dry and bland. Highly disappointing, especially considering any Texas barbecue spot is judged on its brisket. Thankfully, we found more success with the other meats.

Barbecue Texas
The half chicken was cooked for 2 hours, had a peppery crust and juicy meat, especially on the thigh and drumstick.

Barbecue Texas
Pork ribs were cooked for 2 hours and tasted similarly peppery, with nice lacquered skins.

Our pork chop was smoked for 45 minutes, with a similar consistency to the ribs. Sausages were available mild, medium or hot. We chose medium. The sausage was smoked for a paltry 30 minutes, and it showed. The meat was a little watery and the skin had no snap.

Cornbread Texas
With the meal, we were given a choice of roll, cornbread or jalapeno cornbread. We went for the latter two selections. The brick-sized slabs were semi-sweet and moist. Jalapeno added some good flavor, and not too much spice.

Barbecue Sauce Texas
We received massive containers of spicy, vinegar-based barbecue sauce, plus a vat of pinto beans, floating with whole chile peppers.

Barbecue Restaurant Texas
Inside at the counter, customers wait to get meats sliced, select sides, drinks and desserts. It’s a pay at the register operation. Taxidermied animal heads are mounted on the walls, including deer heads and this spiky-haired wild boar.

Barbecue Smokers Texas
Before leaving Schoepf’s, we investigated the smokers out back. The fire is stoked with that massive pile of mesquite.

It was only the first of the day’s four barbecue stops, and though we would find better down the road, the Schoepfs do a respectable job with pork and have a deft touch with chicken, but the brisket could use a lot of work.

Schoepf’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que: Mixed Blessings in Belton

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Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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