Alison McLean

Smokey Joe's BBQ

Shhh. Don’t spread the word around too far. But just between us, this author’s personal favorite barbecue restaurant in Dallas is Smokey Joe’s, miles south of downtown on I-35. Yes, this author gets to Cattleack and its incredible brisket and coleslaw whenever he can, and yes, he knows all about the beef ribs at Pecan Lodge and the fried chicken at The Slow Bone. But the regulars at Smokey Joe’s, which turned 35 years old this year, know that its bricks of fabulously tender and minimally treated pork ribs are unbeatable. And owner Kris Manning’s personal passion happens to be brisket, which might be why his has become the best brisket between Cattleack and Waco. Its balance — not overly smoky, not harshly seasoned, fabulously tender and moist — is just right. If you disagree, go somewhere else and let this author have more to himself.

Top pick: There are some great barbecue sandwiches here, including the GF, with heaping brisket, pickles and onion rings that stay crisp on the drive home.

Fun fact: A “slice” of pie here is a quarter of the whole darn pie. Did you really think you were going to get work done after lunch?