Our Favorite Spots to Get Barbecue for Breakfast Across North Texas

If you're gonna be up at sunrise, we've got some barbecue suggestions to make your early rise worthwhile, like Mas Coffee Co. inside of Zavala's Barbecue in Grand Prairie.
If you're gonna be up at sunrise, we've got some barbecue suggestions to make your early rise worthwhile, like Mas Coffee Co. inside of Zavala's Barbecue in Grand Prairie. Chris Wolfgang
Wake up, sleepyheads. Since we were old enough to eat solid food, it was drilled into our heads that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Without getting all preachy on you, research shows that skipping breakfast encourages poor eating later in the day, while a solid breakfast kickstarts your metabolism and gets your day off on the right foot.

Now we're here to tell you that barbecue for breakfast is an even better idea. Besides the obvious life lessons you've been skipping so far, getting some breakfast barbecue lets you bypass two of our least favorite aspects about barbecue dining: long lines and sellouts. In our travels, we've found the spots selling barbecue first thing in the morning are lightly attended. If you're at a spot early, the chances of them being out of something you came for are significantly lowered. That's a double win in our book.

Not every barbecue spot has caught up to this trend yet, and for those that do, it may not be an everyday affair. So we're here to help; we've put together six spots across the North Texas area that are worth setting your alarm early for, along with what to order and when. There's no particular order to our list, so let's dive in.

Tender Smokehouse

4226 Preston Road, Frisco

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Biscuits and gravy, Texas-style. Brisket makes it better at Tender Smokehouse in Frisco
Chris Wolfgang
We strolled into Tender Smokehouse on a recent Saturday to cure a craving for banana pudding (and truth be told, Tender's pudding is still our favorite). But, we also happened to arrive in time to catch Tender's breakfast options, which stretch until 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Like a lot of other spots, you can get breakfast tacos filled with your favorite meat, but the informed choice here is to go with Brisket & Biscuit, Tender's take on the biscuits and gravy classic. The fluffy biscuits and savory gravy could stand on their own, and your order includes two eggs cooked any way you like them. But when Tender's succulent burnt ends get piled on top, it's like finding money in your jeans on laundry day, except the excitement is in your mouth instead of your wallet. For that matter, this heaping plate of goodness is just $12, so your wallet will be happy too.

When to go:  Tuesday through Friday, 7-11 a.m., Saturday, 7 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Derek Allan's Texas Barbecue

1116 8th Ave., Fort Worth

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Go ahead, name another barbecue joint besides Derek Allan's that serves a killer wagyu brisket and biscuit breakfast sandwich, along with fresh-squeezed orange juice. We'll wait.
Chris Wolfgang
Following Derek Allan's Texas Barbecue on Instagram can be painful at times. Everything looks ridiculously delicious (hello, brisket waffle biscuit?), and even when we're not hungry, their posts make us give serious thought to moving to Fort Worth. Even if you're not close by, it's worth a breakfast stop. Need more motivation? Derek Allan's lets you order brisket, burnt ends and pulled pork by the pound as early as 7 a.m. There's something slightly sweet and magical going on in the biscuit that holds a thick chunk of Derek Allan's wagyu brisket and a fluffy egg. But we were perhaps more blown away by fresh-squeezed orange juice on the menu. Fresh-squeezed juice? At a barbecue joint? Yeah, that's a thing.

When to go: Tuesday through Saturday, 7-10 a.m.

Panther City Barbecue

201 E. Hattie St., Fort Worth

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In what can only be described as a breakfast miracle, the Panther Platter gets you all this food for $10 at Panther City BBQ.
Chris Wolfgang
The first time we visited Panther City, we were struck by how much good food you get for comparatively not a lot of money. In the three years since, Panther City has added a bigger trailer, an enclosed patio and runs a barbecue school to boot. Yet with all that expansion, Panther City's stellar barbecue is still a bargain, and going for breakfast only highlights the value proposition. Take a look at the Panther Platter in the photo above. You get two over-easy eggs, a pile of breakfast potatoes, half a link of sausage, spicy beans, tortillas and a formidable slab of brisket. It's on the menu board for $10. We were only charged $9, and we'd still be a buyer if it were $13 or $14. What a time to be alive.

When to go: Wednesday through Saturday, 7-10 a.m.

Heim Barbecue

3130 W. Mockingbird Lane, Dallas

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Bacon burnt ends for breakfast? Yes, please.
Chris Wolfgang
It's been a run of terrible bad luck for Heim Barbecue's Dallas location. A lightning strike (that was in January), busted pipes (February), then thieves robbing them of a safe in March. Somehow, Travis and Emma Heim keep smiling. Needless to say, you can show them some love by stopping in for breakfast tacos. You can get brisket, jalapeño-cheddar sausage or bacon burnt ends with scrambled eggs on your choice of a regular or chipotle flour tortilla. Naturally, bacon burnt ends on chipotle is the pro-level pick here. The Mockingbird spot is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but Heim's original Magnolia location is now a seven-day-a-week affair.

When to go: Wednesday through Sunday, 8-11 a.m.

Mas Coffee Co.

421 W. Main St., Grand Prairie (inside Zavala's Barbecue)

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Breakfast at Mas Coffee Co. lets you fill your urge for Zavala's barbecue during the week.
Chris Wolfgang
Think of Mas Coffee Co. as the early morning alter-ego of Zavala's Barbecue. Mas Coffee is the handiwork of Joe Zavala's wife Christan, and during the week while Zavala's is closed, Mas Coffee serves up various coffees, lattes and cold brews. The coffee (from Fort Worth's Avoca Coffee Roasters) is delicious, and there's also a trio of breakfast tacos from which to partake: brisket, egg and cheese; potato, egg and cheese; or chorizo and egg, with a pair of salsas and those magical tortillas from Joe Zavala's secret supplier.  We're happy to report that Mas Coffee and Zavala's are back in business after damage from February's winter storm, and Grand Prairie is better for it.

When to go: Tuesday through Friday, 6-11 a.m.

Meat U Anywhere

919 W. Northwest Highway, Grapevine

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Meat U Anywhere serves up delicious barbecue breakfast tacos every day of the week, leaving you no excuse for missing out.
Chris Wolfgang
As the parking lot wraps around the back of Meat U Anywhere, you can't help but notice racks of wood that fuel Meat U's smokers. It takes a lot of wood to serve barbecue every day of the week, which makes Meat U a rarity in barbecue and removes any excuse you have for missing out. They also open the doors at 6 a.m. daily for barbecue hounds to get their fix. Breakfast tacos are just $3.75 each, and while the brisket, egg and cheese is a natural choice, don't sleep on the pork guiso y papas. Smoky pork and potatoes simmered in a delicious stew, before being neatly tucked in a fluffy flour tortilla.

When to go: Daily, 6-11 a.m.
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Chris Wolfgang started writing about barbecue for the Dallas Observer in 2015, and became the Observer’s restaurant critic in October 2021. In his free time, he’s a dog owner, plays a mediocre guitar and is likely recovering from his latest rec-league sports injury.
Contact: Chris Wolfgang

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