Suds to spuds: Rating beer and food at Texas Rangers ballpark

Posted Friday, Jul. 04, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Lineup changes

The Rangers recently announced some midseason additions to its concessions lineup. Among the highlights:

Texas Poutine Potato Chip Nachos (Poutine Nachos): Homemade potato chips are fried fresh, then topped with Texas-style cream gravy, bacon, shredded cheddar cheese and a choice of brisket or southwestern-style chicken. Jalapenos on top it off.

Bacon Waffle on a Stick: It’s coated in waffle batter, baked and may be dipped in maple syrup or topped with chocolate syrup and whipped cream.

Kaboom Kabob: A 24-inch-long kabob of chicken and veggies.

Tanaco “Nacho Average Taco”: A 24-inch-long taco shell is made fresh at the ballpark and filled with a foot of seasoned ground beef and another foot of seasoned chicken. Topped with shredded lettuce, nacho cheese, pico de gallo, sliced jalapeños and sour cream.

Korean Bulgogi Beef Sandwich: Grilled, marinated bulgogi beef is topped with spicy slaw and cucumber slices and served on a pita wrap.

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Scoring

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The last few seasons, the Rangers have stepped up the food options at Globe Life Park. The unveiling of the new items has become an annual event. This year’s offerings are just as outlandish (Bacon on a stick???? Frozen foam beer??? Choomongous???). So, I assembled my crack culinary team (my wife and me) to try these new items to see which are hits and which are strikeouts.

Major League Brewhouse

Capitalizing on the craft beer movement the last several years, the Rangers added this “brewhouse” on the first-level concourse on the third-base side. It features almost all craft beer (Anheuser Busch’s Shock Top and Goose Island are snuck in there) and will have some rotators. We chose the Odell Brewing Loose Leaf (light and slightly hoppy) and the Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA (stellar as always). It’s nice to have the craft option over the domestic beers that are everywhere, but it comes with a heavy price. A 12-ounce pour costs $9.50.

Sidewinders

Also at the Major League Brewhouse is this new take on the fried potato. These fries are thick-cut in a sort-of twister shape and craft beer-battered. They are extremely crunchy, maintaining their crispness throughout. The batter has really good seasoning. We opted for the cheese (nacho variety), but it wasn’t needed. The fries were good enough alone or with some ketchup or mustard. We have found the king of fries at Globe Life Park. Sorry, garlic fries.

Bacon on a stick

After some good suds and spuds, we were bound for a step back and this was it. Everyone loves bacon except when it’s a quarter-inch slab that isn’t smoked and is extremely fatty. We thought it was about 60-40 fat-to-meat ratio, which wasn’t very appetizing. Our best description is a slab of ham with a lot of fat. The only redeeming value? The maple syrup sauce it was dipped in. But, this became less redeeming when we were left with sticky hands. So it looks as bad as it tastes and is very messy and hard to eat. Needless to say, we didn’t finish this.

Brisket sausage

This isn’t Longoria’s BBQ brisket sausage (our favorite BBQ item in the area). But was it even brisket? We had a hard time detecting any. While it may have been there, this seemed like a straight-up beef or pork hot dog. Still, the flavor wasn't bad and the prolific specks of pepper were highlights. Also, a relish was advertised on top, but it came with grilled onions and BBQ sauce. We would skip the sauce since it was a detraction.

Kirin Ichiban frozen foam beer

This was the one new item that made us a bit leery. It’s a draft-poured Kirin Ichiban (one of our favorite domestic beers) topped with a foam slush from something that looks like a slushie machine. The frozen foam is pretty flavorless at first, but once it starts mixing with the beer, the two complement each other well. It was also a little strange at first, but after a few sips, we realized it would be perfect on one of those hot days at Globe Life Park (and there are many).

Texas Taco Dog

(supposed to be the Choomongous)

Our hope was to try the Choomongous, the behemoth of Korean beef and cole slaw, named after new Ranger Shin-Soo Choo and modeled after the Boomstick. The “OUT” sign sunk our hearts if not saved them. We didn’t know if it was because of popularity or lack thereof. This was supposed to be the pinnacle of the new stuff. So we adjusted and selected the best new item from last season — the Texas Taco Dog. The combination of bun/taco shell, taco beef and grilled hot dog work together incredibly well. The crunch of the shell and the snap of the grilled hot dog give texture while the beef gives flavor and the bun is the foundation. After revisiting, it’s still our favorite.

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