Good to Go is a column where our food writers explore Dallas' restaurant scene through takeout orders, delivery boxes and reheated leftovers.
Rene Ramirez of 225 BBQ says he "just gets bored" when he's asked why his menu is ever-evolving. This is despite the fact that he’s raising a young family and has a full-time job in addition to this weekend cooking gig.
Previously, we reported on his brisket-topped and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos elotes. He then persuaded Texas Monthly’s barbecue editor, Daniel Vaughn, to try a "cherry bomb," which is a habanero pepper stuffed with cream cheese and brisket, dipped in a serrano-barbecue sauce and topped with a slice of jalapeño.
Now Ramirez is dabbling in a variety of tacos, including a play on a quesadilla and huaraches. There have also been burritos, burgers and talks about trying birria soon.
Ramirez and his wife, Joyce, have been selling barbecue out of their trailer on the weekends at Division Brewing and in Balch Springs for about two years now, growing a steady batch of regulars and curious newbies.
In light of the pandemic and social distancing precautions, they’ve created (and prefer) a preorder system, where customers place their orders via Facebook messenger. Then, between 11 a.m. and noon on the prescribed day, the exchange of money for food is made curbside.
“Preordering is the best way to serve now,” Joyce says. “It makes the day run smoothly, secures orders and wait times. It also helps end the day early, so we have enough time to get ready for the following day.”
On-the-spot orders are good, too, but after noon. Customers drive up curbside, place their order, then park in a small lot across the street. Joyce’s younger brother Isaac, a senior in Grand Prairie this year, is helping them by running orders to cars. If you're thirsty, you can always amble over to Division Brewing to grab a local six-pack to go.
In terms how 225 BBQ travels, it’s all good. I was late picking up my preorder and even then it was still warm, and the tacos held together nicely. And the presentation of the food in one large, aluminum foil pan feels like a feast.
Here, the brisket is the star of the show. A thick rub that's both sweet and spicy coats the meat, and the fat renders every bite juicy. The amount of meat in each taco is generous.
There are several different taco options. The street taco is brisket inside a tortilla with cilantro, onions and lime. Be sure to pour on their house-made salsa verde. The cheesy taco is similar to a costra, which has been gaining popularity locally, with the cheese cooked directly on the griddle. It's stuffed with brisket and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Then, the quesitaco is like a quesadilla topped with brisket. We also had a Texas Twinkie: crisp bacon wrapped around a jalapeño stuffed with cream cheese and brisket.
It was a glorious taco and brisket feast. We had more than we could eat, so I put the entire pan in a the fridge. They make for good leftovers, too: Put that pan in the oven (with the lid) at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, and it's perfect. Again.
For now, 225 BBQ is only at Division Brewing in Arlington on Saturdays and Sundays.
“It's been very hard for us to get into anyone's parking lot in the Balch Springs area because [of] COVID-19. Business owners don’t want to take the chance,” Joyce says.
If you decide to preorder, be sure to show up between 11 a.m. and noon, and you’ll get your food quickly.
Oh, and Joyce’s younger brother who is helping them is vegan. They feel badly that in addition to missing his senior year, he has to smell beef all day (though he says he doesn't care). But, it made them think about creating a vegan dish. So, as soon as Rene gets bored again, who knows what might appear on the menu?
225 BBQ, 506 E. Main St., Arlington. 11 a.m. to sellout Saturday and Sunday. Curbside takeout available.
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