It's all about the smoke ring.
That narrow rim of red just below the char and the fat, which shold mostly be rendered out. That's the mark of a proper pit barbecued brisket and the pride of Texas where the real pit masters practice, and have for generations. Pit-cooked brisket is a Texas tradition, to the point where Texas Monthly recently named a dedicated barbecue editor. We don't have a connection like that with any food in Utah–can you see a fry sauce editor?–and we don't have a lot of good barbecue in the Texas sense, either. We do have a couple of Texas imports–Dickey's and Sonny Bryan's, notably–but they left their soul in the Lone Star State.
What we do have, now, is R and R (307 W. 600 South). The Utah-based twin pit brothers Rod and Roger have been on the competitive cue circuit for years and taken prizes everywhere from Snowbird's Grill on the Hill to Jack Daniels World Championship. Now they're decided to go bricks and mortar, a boon for local barbecue fans.
The ribs are a triumph of time over technology. I can't even begin to express my fatigue with the parboiled soggy bones that pass for ribs in most cue joints. They always earn the praise, "The meat falls off the bone." Right. And bears little resemblance to meat. R and R's ribs are slow-cooked, smoked to tenderness, but retaining a meaty chew. You need teeth to eat them.
R and R also pull pork and smoke chicken, but the beef and ribs are the protein stars here. The sides I've tried are good, except for the fried okra, which is extraordinary–hand-cut chunks of fresh okra, dredged and fried. This makes a crunchy delight out of a slimy excuse for a vegetable, but who takes the trouble, when it comes pre-battered and frozen in a bag? R and R does, that's who.