3 Stacks Smokehouse Brings Barbecue to Frisco. But Why?

Frisco is an odd place for anything that isn't a strip mall. All those strange brick buildings are meant to give it character, I suppose, but end up making the whole place look like the efforts of a pioneering architect who desires a standardized building, and has had southern European buildings described to them over the phone and just run with it.

"What bricks do we need, Jim?"

"Oh, I dunno, everything else around here is constructed out of a strange mixture of plywood and concrete, as if to taunt the regular tornadoes. Let's just go with whatever brick you can turn up."

"I've found this brick, but the colour of it burns with the intensity of a thousand suns."

"Perfect, Steve, perfect."


The rest of it is just buildings that are too expensive for me to be able to look at, so they built massive walls around them. Presumably if I pay $5 (about $5.40 after tax, probably a $1 convenience charge and a $2 booking fee as well) then I'll be able to get a quick glimpse of how people who could buy and sell me with a quick gesture live. I mean, the only real way to get to Frisco is up a tollway, which is a perfect metaphor for the entire city.

Thus, Frisco is not an ideal place for Texas barbecue. That would be like putting a tattoo parlour in Trump Towers. Nevertheless 3 Stacks Smokehouse has arrived, to give us a Frisco take on barbecue, which as it turns out is upmarket and shiny and built with haphazard bricks. The really interesting question to me is whether they named it 3 Stacks and then demanded the architect built three chimney stacks, or whether the chimney stacks were a happy outcome of another Frisco architect, leading to them naming it so after being stuck for a good name. Both possible courses of action are fraught with logical problems.

Oh, right, the meat. Upon entering, you're greeted with confusion -- it looks like there should be someone to escort you to your table, given the upmarket nature of the place, and so ours and another two groups simply stand there until a confused waiter comes over and gestures us towards the buffet-style food area. Once at the meat area, suddenly excited by the appearance of a very blackened brisket indeed, we get half a pound of the important stuff and a couple of the impressive-looking sides. I am a sucker for sweet potato and I don't know why. That "casserole" you guys have with the marshmallows on it? Delicious. Sweet potato barely even exists back home. We're too busy with normal potatoes. In Ireland you can be cast out into the Irish Sea for possession of a sweet potato.

Upon getting back to the table, we come to realize quite how delightful the beer list is. It's very delightful indeed. I had Obsidian stout, and whether or not that was a good choice only Jesse Hughey can say. The meat, well, it was pretty good. Contained within the three foil packets of joy the staff had created, the grease was already leaking everywhere by the time we got round to opening them. The brisket, well, it was certainly moist and greasy and easily pulled apart, which is always good, but we had seen them chop the fat off of it in front of our very eyes, dumping it into some drawer as if it were a reject rather than the best bit, and despite asking for fatty brisket. It was the perfect texture, but a bit flavourless; it felt like it could have done with a bit longer in the smoker and a lot more fat. In fact, with the addition of salt and pepper, a pair of condiments I cannot remember seeing at any other barbecue restaurant, the brisket became excellent. The ribs had an extraordinarily sweet glaze and were pretty delicious, tender enough and bright red and glimmering with meat sweat (much like myself after Lockhart the other week), and the sausage was pretty smoky and had a good snap, but was relatively unremarkable. Nothing blew me away, and you'd probably expect a bit more for $8 a half pound.

I'm on record, though, about shiny, upmarket places constructed out of valuable materials serving Texas barbecue. Stop it. If you've got a good pitmaster and a good brisket, by all rights you should be putting him in a shack, or at the very least a blackened hovel somewhere. Then you'd need to not be in Frisco, I suppose.

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Gavin Cleaver
Contact: Gavin Cleaver