Texas barbecue: You and I know it's the best. More importantly, it's a food where, if you leave the state, you'll notice other states do barbecue in strange and terrifying ways that make you feel wrong. Once I went to Oklahoma (this is how all great stories start, I know), ordered brisket and was served what amounted to wafer-thin lunch meat. Was it smoked? I don't know. I was too scared.
Dallas has been undergoing something of a barbecue revolution. Where once there was Dickey's and Sonny Bryan's, now there are independents with fancy cooking methods and no desire for a mass market. Even better, thanks to the nature of the beast, they're charging the same prices. Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, the same few barbecue restaurants have been plugging away at high-quality barbecue for decades.
See also: An Englishman In BBQ Sauce Archives
Here we go, then, with a rundown of DFW's (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER) best spots, from this year's most controversial and hotly contested of Best Of Dallas awards, Best Barbecue.
Angelo's (Full Review) From the stuffed bear inside, to the location on "White Settlement Road," to the gigantic beers and the deceptively huge interior (truly this is the TARDIS of barbecue venues), everything about Angelo's in Fort Worth will make it a memorable trip. What you will especially not forget is the quality of the brisket -- smoky and gloopy, fatty and tearable, it's one of the few briskets in Dallas-Fort Worth that will never need sauce.
Mama Faye's (Full Review) The use of the word underrated is overrated. Nevertheless, lots of things are underrated. Rugby. Maggie Gyllenhaal. The DART Green Line. Coincidentally, the Green Line will take you straight to the most underrated Texas barbecue venue on this list, Mama Faye's in Deep Ellum.
In what should be a prime position, it seems to have been forgotten about on a far-flung corner of Commerce Street, but with sausage and brisket like this, it absolutely should not be. Also, they're very tolerant of drunk people. No further comment necessary.
Odom's BBQ (Full Review) With bars across the windows and a slightly sketchy overall vibe, Odom's is the best old-school downtown barbecue joint in Dallas. Odom's will serve you some of the finest ribs imaginable. Just remember to ask for the sauce on the side, unless your idea of good sauce is a swimming pool's worth.
Longoria's BBQ ( Full Review) Two words should be enough to convince you to go here: Brisket sausage. It's just as delicious as it sounds, and the delightful folks at Longoria's have started selling it raw by the pound for you to delight and confuse guests at your next cookout. Not only is all the food here great (you'll never hear me praising sides, but the potato salad here is as good as it gets) but it's a fantastic shack in the middle of goddamn nowhere with incredibly friendly owners. As Texas as it gets.
Pecan Lodge ( Full Review) What is there left to say about the now legendary marathon that is a lunch visit to Pecan Lodge? You'll wait forever. You won't be able to work afterward due to the amounts of meat consumed. Nevertheless, a lunchtime trip to Shed 2 is the best idea you could possibly have, with the greatest brisket in North Texas. The setting ain't all that, but Justin and Diane have turned a simple Farmer's Market booth into a tourist attraction using only word of mouth. It's that good. Two more words for you. Beef rib.
Meshack's (Full Review) A delightful shack somewhere in north Garland, Meshack's, the winner of this year's Best Barbecue award, has been pushing some of the best barbecue in Texas out of a tiny slot in the front of an inaccessible building for years now. While you might not have any idea what is going on inside (apart from people sweating, my God, it must be terrible in there) the stuff that eventually comes out the front is as good as anywhere. Get there early, as there seems to be a rib shortage in Garland.
North Main BBQ (Full Review) Undoubtedly the bargain of this or any other century, NMBBQ in Euless will give you all-you-can-eat barbecue, sides, ice cream, and a drink for $15 including tax. How they make a profit I have no idea, but given that this is 7.5/10 barbecue and that it's cheaper to eat everything you possibly can here than an entree at most restaurants, I could not recommend this place more highly for families looking to make their children shut up about being hungry.
Cousin's (Fort Worth) (Full Review) Cousin's has been the best barbecue place in Fort Worth for about 30 years now, simply from the strength of their ability to turn a pig's rib into deliciousness. The tangiest ribs this side of anywhere at all, you should really skip all other meats and order several hundred of their unique specialties, which have a rub and a tenderness that makes them the finest in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Lockhart Smokehouse (Full Review) One of my favorite places to be, let alone to eat barbecue, Lockhart Smokehouse is positioned perfectly on a corner in the Bishop Arts District. They use know-how (and sausage) obtained from the legendary Kreuz Market in Lockhart the city to crank out brisket that will obliterate you, and unique specialties like the brisket-stuffed deviled eggs. Take friends. Order a Shiner Platter. Marvel at the craft beer selection. Live happily ever after.
(Slow Bone Full Review) The new boy on the scene, Jack Perkins entered into Dallas barbecue in a blaze of bravado after winning the brisket award at last year's Meat Fight, and he's most of the way to putting together a top-class Texas barbecue place. Although it has been plagued by the early sell-outs Perkins said would never happen, the brisket is fatty and smoky and the sausage just as good. Even the weird cheese/Brussels sprouts side thing manages to make Brussels sprouts edible. A roaring success.