Richard and I have eaten a lot of BBQ in our time. All those years living in the Carolinas translated into lots of pulled pork (and lots of arguments over which sauce is best: mustard-based? tomato-based? vinegar-based? We’ve even had some more obscure Cheerwine soda-based and root-beer based sauces on occasion).
We do love BBQ. And since we’re now living in Texas, we figured it was high time to try out some of the local variety. And that led us to this restaurant: The State Line right here in El Paso. It turns out that the State Line (which straddles both Texas and New Mexico) is part of the County Line BBQ chain that was founded in Austin in the mid-70s. I’m sometime hesitant about chain restaurants, but this is a small chain that did not disappoint.
The State Line is right down the road from where we live, and it’s also very close to Sunland Park Race Track & Casino. On the outside, The State Line has an interesting Spanish structure and some fantastic signage. On the inside, we found all manner of Western-style “stuff” adorning the ceiling and walls. We loved the casual, comfortable atmosphere.
We’d heard that this restaurant becomes very crowded at times, but when we arrived for a Saturday lunch we were seated right away in a comfortable booth with nice lighting. The restaurant remained busy but was never overly crowded or noisy. Service overall was good with one exception: the wait between finishing our meal and being asked about dessert was quite long (and anyone who knows me knows this…….when I’m ready for dessert, I am READY!).
But now, for the main reason for our visit to The State Line: the BBQ. We managed to resist the All You Can Stand meal highlighted on the menu (a BBQ extravaganza, for $27.99 per person), and ordered more dainty-sized offerings. Richard went with the in-reality none-too-dainty 5-Meat Smokehouse Combo Platter. He was in heaven when this plate-o’-meat came out, all heaped up with every type of BBQ protein product anyone could want. While he enjoyed the pork ribs, beef brisket, smoked peppered turkey breast (and some other tasty meat offering we can’t recall!), his fave was the sausage. Richard raved about this meal, stating that he’s now a Texas BBQ convert.
As for me, I went with the shredded beef sandwich with potato salad. The bun was excellent (quite possibly homemade), and I loved the sweet sauce that accompanied the beef. The potato salad was nicely seasoned and was a great contrast to the sandwich. This meal really hit the spot for me, and I didn’t leave a single bite.
I love a dessert tray, and The State Line brings out a tray that tempts the taste buds. I had a hard time choosing from that lovely array of desserts. The bread pudding with ice cream and the brownie with ice cream sure looked fantastic, and I have those in mind for future meals at The State Line. But I was in a cheesecake frame-of-mind and went with that. While I could have opted for strawberry topping, I (of course) opted for caramel and chocolate sauce instead. This was an excellent cheesecake – smooth and creamy, graham cracker crust, yum. Richard (the purist) went for Blue Bell vanilla bean ice cream and enjoyed that. Dessert-a-holic that I am, I noticed that fruit cobbler and several other Blue Bell ice cream flavors also were available for a grand finale to a big BBQ meal.
We really enjoyed our lunch at The State Line. Several diners seated around us ordered steak and prime rib rather than BBQ, and we may have to try those on future visits. But I also could have a hard time ordering anything besides the ‘Q (and one of those lovely desserts from the dessert tray).
State Line BBQ is located at 1222 Sunland Park Drive El Paso, TX 79922 (west side)