When family and friends come to town for the holidays, one question looms heavy over the entire visit: What the hell am I going to do with these people for the next several days? The easiest answer, of course, is eat, and you can't truly experience Dallas cuisine without going to town on a tray of smoked meats at one of the city's stellar barbecue joints. Everyone knows about Pecan Lodge by now, but if you're looking for something different, here are a few barbecue suggestions that run the gamut from quick and dirty to fine and fancy.
Visit this new Design District barbecue joint on the weekend, and you'll get so much more than stellar smoked meat. On the back patio, you'll find ample outdoor seating, a stage with live music and a working 50-foot-tall Ferris wheel. Those who don't indulge in brisket or links can fill up on above-average sides such as fried okra and a small menu of cocktails.
Take your fancier family to Dallas' newest big-city barbecue joint, Smoky Rose, which serves excellent barbecue in a high-end atmosphere. You'll spend a little more (OK, a lot more), but the menu has far more variety than the average barbecue joint, and you're right across the street from the Dallas Arboretum, a solid spot to take visiting family.
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Out in Argyle, you'll find an oh-so-authentic taste of Texas: a vintage Airstream repurposed into a barbecue trailer stationed in a shady outdoor setting. When the weather's nice, this is a beautiful slice of North Texas barbecue culture.
Top 5 BBQ
Speaking of suburbs, DeSoto has its own barbecue heavy-hitter: Top 5 BBQ, which serves solid ribs and brisket in a refreshingly no-frills atmosphere.