11 Essential BBQ Spots of Dallas | Dallas Observer

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11 Essential Barbecue Spots in Dallas

Dallas' history when it comes to barbecue may not have the same cachet as other Texas towns, but that's not to say that the barbecue in the Big D suffers. Far from it, the city ...
Barbecue and cocktails at Oak'd in Addison.
Barbecue and cocktails at Oak'd in Addison. Kathy Tran
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Long gone are the days when a barbecue joint could get by serving great smoked meats for a few lunches a week. Thanks to the skyrocketing cost of everything from rent to smokers to meat — not to mention an insatiable demand — many barbecue restaurants are open longer hours and offering more frills to separate themselves from the crowd.

The list below highlights some of the Dallas spots doing it best. Most are open every day of the week, with evening hours, full bars and amenities to earn your hard-earned meat-loving dollars.

Cattleack Barbecue

13628 Gamma Road, Farmers Branch
We take our share of the blame for the lines at Cattleack Barbecue, which is hands-down one of our favorite barbecue establishments, Dallas or otherwise. We've repeatedly sung the praises of owner and pitmaster Todd David's Akaushi brisket, which borders on smoky perfection at this two-day-a-week operation; it's one of the last holdouts that hasn't expanded days and hours. David and his team also crank out a weekly special such as burnt-end boudin sausage or pastrami beef ribs. Best to sign up for the weekly emails to stay abreast; they may alert you when there's no line and plenty of food left.

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A trey of brisket at Douglas Bar and Grill.
Alison McLean

Douglas Bar and Grill

6818 Snyder Plaza
At Douglas Bar and Grill, owner, pitmaster and chef Doug Pickering has taken barbecue and moved it upmarket. Yes, the Texas wagyu smoked for 18 hours over post oak and hickory is expensive at $22 for a 10-ounce portion, but this is a case where it might actually be worth the money. Where else can you make a reservation and get a plate of brisket mere minutes after you're seated? If you're not in the mood for brisket, Douglas Bar and Grill smokes a supremely good salmon. Or go for the $25 burger stacked with two wagyu smash patties, pimento cheese, housemade gold barbecue sauce and brisket. With the smartly executed sides, and full bar willing to craft your favorite libation, you'll quickly see why it's worth every penny.
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These days, it's not enough to have a killer tray of barbecue. Customers want more, and restaurants are delivering.
Chris Wolfgang

Ferris Wheelers Backyard and BBQ

1950 Market Center Blvd.
To be completely honest, putting a working Ferris wheel on the patio of your barbecue restaurant might come off as gimmicky. Thankfully, Ferris Wheelers has the barbecue chops to back up the silliness. All of the barbecue standards are well represented here, but don't sleep on the brisket queso and or the smoked wings. Sides here aren't just a passing thought: there are the green beans tossed in barbecue sauce and mac and cheese topped with potato chips for a crunchy topping. Take to the patio, enjoy a beer or a cocktail, and nosh on some smoky fare as the sun goes down. And thanks to its central location, Ferris Wheeler's is a prime spot to pregame before heading to a concert or sporting event.

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Heim BBQ has a BBQ Snob Sandwich, which combines a whole link of jalapeño cheddar sausage, a half pound of chopped brisket and bacon burnt ends on a jalapeño cheddar bun.
Kathy Tran

Heim Barbecue

3130 W. Mockingbird Lane
Owner and pit master Travis Heim wants Heim BBQ to be your favorite barbecue restaurant. Here, the brisket is smoked over post oak for up to 12 hours with a dark bark made of salt, garlic paprika and black pepper. Go for the iconic Niman Ranch pork belly bacon burnt ends, or offshoots like house-made beer-battered corndogs. The Heimburger is double meat and cheese with a thick schmear of bacon burnt end jam. And you can find Heim's goodness all over the area; in addition to the Dallas spot near Love Field, Heim has two locations in Fort Worth and a new restaurant opening this fall in Burleson.

Lockhart Smokehouse

400 W. Davis St.
Lockhart Smokehouse in Bishop Arts was one of the first barbecue spots in Dallas to realize that people often wanted barbecue for dinner. So in 2011, they started staggering the cook schedules to serve up fresh-off-the-pit barbecue starting at 5:00 p.m. Step out of the car near the original location in Bishop Arts, and the smell of smoke will quickly let you know you're in the right place. Pros will order shoulder clod, which is like leaner, beefier brisket, as well as the sausage shipped in from Kreuz Market in (where else?) Lockhart.

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Loro's brisket.
Alison McLean


1812 N. Haskell Ave.
It’s a risky proposition to mess with Texas barbecue and bolder still to blend it with Asian fare without upsetting both cultures. Under the guidance of Uchi’s Tyson Cole and Franklin Barbecue’s Aaron Franklin, Loro manages the feat with brilliantly executed fare that seamlessly blends the two cuisines. The success of Dallas' first Loro location led the team to open a second spot in Addison, which offers all the Loro splendor without the drive into the city for our friends in the suburbs.

Oak'd BBQ

4525 Belt Line Road, Addison
Oak'd BBQ is a relative newcomer to Dallas' barbecue scene but has quickly made a name for itself with barbecue standards, from-scratch sides and desserts, and a full bar to quench whatever thirst you may have. Michael Lane wears the hats of owner, pitmaster and chef, and the attention to detail in everything food-related pays off come meal time. Want Wagyu brisket? Oak'd has it. Want to wrap your meal with homemade ice cream? Oak'd has you covered. Lane and his team have gone a step further in opening a new Oak'd BBQ location in Addison, with a bigger bar, massive patio, live music, and games like skeeball and air hockey. What's not to love?

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Slow Bone's smoked pork chop will cure what ails you, as long as you're ailing on Sunday or Monday.
Chris Wolfgang

Slow Bone

2234 Irving Blvd.
Slow Bone is the insider's choice for some of the best barbecue in the city limits. Sure, a line forms just after opening, but it moves quickly, and the fact that Slow Bone serves barbecue seven days a week for lunch means you don't have the rearrange your calendar for a visit. The sides here are the best around, with plenty of vegetarian options. Don't miss the (very slowly) smoked pork chops either, a special on Sundays and Mondays only.

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Brisket, sausage links, ribs, macaroni and cheese, beans and fried okra: Smoky Joe's nails the compulsory part of the program.
Alison McLean

Smokey Joe's BBQ

6403 S. R.L. Thornton Freeway
When Kris Manning took over his father’s barbecue spot, his dad’s style was the only thing he knew. But as his curiosity about smoked meats grew, he learned about styles across the state and applied it to his menu back home. Today, Smokey Joe’s still has the old-school barbecue vibe, but deftly shows off influences like East Texas hot links, barbecue brakes (all the ends, not just brisket) and a Central Texas brisket that would be at home in the Hill Country.

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If you were to look up "beef rib" in the dictionary, they should have a photo of this gem from Terry Black's.
Chris Wolfgang

Terry Black's Barbecue

3025 Main St.
Terry Black's Barbecue has everything a modern barbecue restaurant needs: a historic family name with Central Texas bona fides; a dining room with plenty of space for you and your friends; a full bar that serves up beer, bottles of wine and its own specialty cocktail; and some sublime barbecue to boot. Save your pennies and your appetite for the beef rib, and thank us later — it might be an extravagance, but a perfectly smoked beef rib approaches fatty, succulent and smoky barbecue nirvana, and Terry Black's is among the best in the area. And, all this goodness is available every day.

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The tortillas and green salsa are as magical as the meat at Zavala's.
Lauren Drewes Daniels

Zavala's Barbecue

421 W. Main St., Grand Prairie
We'll go ahead and throw out a controversial opinion: Tortillas are a just as good if not better accompaniment than white bread when it comes to barbecue. At Zavala's, we long for those fluffy tortillas, either on the side or wrapping up a Sloppy Juan. Zavala's mix of Mexican heritage with Texas barbecue produces brisket and ribs with an extra spicy zing, and there's a cilantro-heavy green sauce that goes perfectly with anything on the menu.
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