So Good You'll Slap Yo Mama: Woody's Texas Bar-B-Q Will Bring Out the Sadist in You

American food is all about “dude food”. Forget about finesse—you need to get your hands (and face) dirty. What could possibly be a better example than the burger, which smudges your fingers with dripping sauces and stretches your mouth in ways you could never have imagined? Barbecue brings out the same inner beast—how else would you explain that irresistible desire to bite, gnaw, and suck? Yes, American food is always better manhandled—when it comes to this, we’re all gastronomic sadists.

Or maybe not. Maybe you’re the type of person who forks his wings, or knifes his burger. But at Woody’s Texas Bar-B-Q in Makati, all notions of utensils and dinnerware are immaterial—you’ll just want to dig into your food in any way possible. Woody’s takes the place of the original Chihuahua Mexican Grill and assumes a new identity: a watering hole serving up Texas comfort food. The barbecue joint takes pride in making authentic Texan ribs, brisket, and smoked sausages—all prepared, smoked, and cooked in-house. Husband and wife Elian Habayeb and Ines Cabarrus-Habayeb team up with Chef Christian Vecin (Vask) to give diners the best Texas barbecue feast they could ever have.
Elian Habayeb (left) and Chef Christian Vecin (right) 
The cozy dive not only induces a relaxing mood but also rouses the appetite with its open kitchen and food-themed decors, including a hot sauce library and an entire shelf of local and imported craft beers. I loved how casual the restaurant is—a place where I could take my family for a hearty dinner or an after-work hangout spot with friends.

The menu is compact and is designed to highlight the barbecue, which I think rightly deserves all the attention. First-timers should try the Three-Peat (PhP295, plate/PhP625, pound)—a platter consisting of 3 types of meat. Diners can choose from the Texas hot links (handmade sausages), pulled pork, beef brisket, or ribs—and add PhP95 for two sides.

I got myself a plate of ribs, beef brisket and pulled pork, with some Mac ‘n’ Queso and Dirty Rice. The ribs (PhP255, plate/PhP565, pound) were incredible—tender and succulent, this glorious meld of pork meat, fat, and bone was seasoned with cumin, paprika, chili, cayenne, onion, garlic powder, brown sugar, pepper, and Himalayan pink salt before being smoked with hickory for 6 hours. I’m not a huge ribs fan but I’m seriously tempted to attack Woody’s right now as I write this!

The pulled pork (PhP225, plate/PhP495, pound) was just as good—very tender, it could practically be eaten by the strand. But I have to say that it was the beef brisket (PhP295, plate/PhP625, pound) that stole the show! Those who cook would know that it’s a tough cut of beef that dries out easily, but Woody’s was moist, tender, and flavorful—a barbecue masterpiece, if there’s such a label. You’ll believe me once you sink your teeth into that beautiful pink chunk of meat!

For big guys with big mouths appetites, delight in the Clutch City Sandwich (PhP255)—a massive sandwich stuffed with brisket, Texas hot links, coleslaw, pickles, and barbecue sauce. Don’t forget to order some beer to go along with it from Woody’s craft selection!

The sides were not something you would ignore, as they were carefully made too to complement the awesome meats. I loved the lightly creamy Mac ‘n’ Queso, which had a strange but delicious spicy kick, and the Country Beans, which was, put simply, a wickedly delicious mess. The Dirty Rice was audacious, hearty and satisfying, while the Texas hot links (PhP95, side/PhP205, plate/PhP465, pound) provided a much-welcome spice.

While all meats and sides were already flavorful on their own, Woody’s has a sauce library which diners can enjoy—from both the sweet and spicy ends of the spectrum. Let me just say that the sauces were incredibly addicting; they reminded me of how much I wanted to steal the Spiced Honey from Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza. Had I been able to decide which one to actually sneak into my bag, I would have done it—but then again, I would’ve wiped out the entire sauce shelf.

Cocktails like Rum & Coke Slush, Chihuarita frozen margarita, and A Smokin’ Good Bloody Mary line up the bar list, but when I visited with friends, I was craving for beer. Woody’s collection holds local brands like The Cebruery, Katipunan, and Craftpoint, as well as American brews like Anderson Valley and Gordon Biersch.

Dessert lovers, on the other hand, will not be disappointed as Woody’s offers the best of American sweets: the Bourbon Banana Pie (PhP125), the Coca Cola Cake (PhP95), and the Apple Pie (PhP135), which was crumbly, sweet, and topped with vanilla ice cream—and also obviously my favorite for the night. All three creations were exquisite without being unpretentious.
Clockwise from top left: Apple Pie, Coca Cola Cake, Bourbon Banana Pie
There are a lot of American joints in Manila, but only a few put effort into bringing an authentic experience—whether you’ve been to the Land of the Free or not. At Woody’s, you know that nothing has been adjusted to suit the local palate, but everything was created with reverence to tradition—specifically, to the Texas way. Woody’s is an instant shoo-in to my list of go-to places, and I think, that once you bite into their delicious meats, this restaurant would find itself in yours too.

Woody’s Texas Bar-B-Q
7838 Makati Ave., Makati City (across A-Venue Mall)
11:00AM – 2:00AM
Budget: around PhP400/head

Have you tried Woody's? How did you find their food?

My meal was sponsored by Woody's Texas Bar-B-Q. All opinions, however, are my own.

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