Embracing Gluttony: The Hot Mess at Pecan Lodge

We've decided to take a look at a few of Dallas' most glutton-friendly dishes and do something you probably really don't want us to: count calories. Total buzzkill? No. More like "smart calorie allocation."

So, let's get smart. Say you have 2,000 calories, more or less, at your disposal everyday; this is how to get the most out of them.

First up is the Hot Mess from Pecan Lodge, which was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives recently. This sweet potato boat of all-that-is-right-in-the-world is many Dallasites' favorite dish. And we all know that sweet potatoes are a chock full of healthy stuff that I could Google real quick, but that would just be a bogus veneer, because none of us are here to yap about vitamins and nutrients.

For this experiment, I met the kids at Pecan Lodge where pit master Justin and "Boss Lady" Diane carefully assembled a Hot Mess on their food scale for an accurate measurement. Then, I used the fuzzy-math logic I acquired as part of the Texas public education system and even made an Excel spreadsheet.

The site fatsecret.com, which sources information from the USDA, offers calories, fat, carbs and proteins in a variety of measurements, including grams. To ensure we're dealing in mass, not volume, the ounces were converted to grams.

This, obviously, is an estimation, as each Hot Mess varies a little.

The sweet potato, which is baked in their convection oven, weighed about 20 ounces. It's topped with a pat of butter, about an ounce of Colby and cheddar cheese, a bit more than 4 ounces of barbacoa (brisket), an ounce of chipotle sour cream, half an ounce of bacon then a few green onions for color.

For calories, the sweet potato alone had 488, the barbacoa 407, cheese 114, sour cream 79, bacon 76, butter 61. For a total of 1,225 calories. There's 61 grams of fat, 150 grams of carbs and 55 grams of protein.

Depending on where you are with your life, you might even have room for a side of burnt ends.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.