After nearly a year in business, the lunchtime word is out in East Dallas on One90 Smoked Meats. The unassuming location on Northwest Highway — with just a five-barstool dining room — is home to unique barbecue sandwiches and some of the best chicken tacos around.
The lunch rush on a Tuesday stresses the seams of the outpost and makes it clear that the business has already outgrown its first location. Those who know better order ahead and take owner Herman Guerra's treasures to go.
Guerra and his team smoke everything from briskets and sausages to venison and lamb in a mix of locally sourced pecan and oak wood — so locally sourced, in fact, you might see employees scurrying around the area picking up donated wood from nearby lawns. A sign above the counter lets customers know that the wood in One90's fire is almost exclusively pecan and oak from the surrounding neighborhood, and donations are welcome.
Guerra's meats come out of the fire with extreme precision and care — the establishment's name is the owners' idea of the perfect internal temperature for a well-smoked brisket. At the counter, traditional barbecue plates butt up against some of the most refreshing and tasty takes on the barbecue sandwich. If you're into wrapper cheese — the ooey, gooey cheese that melts off of the sandwich and onto the wrapper — One90's barbecue sandwiches are dialed in just right.
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One of the most popular options is the spicy brisket. The term spicy is more of a nod to the poblano pepper draped upon the bed of cheddar cheese, pickles, onions and thick-sliced brisket than any pervading heat, but the result is damn satisfying between two brioche buns. You don't have to request moist brisket; it is moist brisket and it is close to perfect, with a simple salt and pepper rub and delectable bark edges.
Calling a place that specializes in smoked meats anything but a barbecue spot seems odd, but One90 is more than that. It's part meat market with a large helping of barbecue, but don't forget about the tacos.
The chicken taco is sometimes plagued by blandness or dryness or both, making it an interesting test case at One90. But Guerra's version ($3.50) will do more than keep your attention, and the smoking process makes the difference. The meat, piled high and encased in a corn tortilla fried just enough to stay rigid, is juicy and seasoned just right.
The sign outside One90 calls it a purveyor of "small batch craft meats," and customers can carry home anything from a vacuum-sealed brisket for $20 per pound to smoked bison tenderloin for $45 per pound. In between are any number of smoked sausage options ($16-18), ribs, steaks, salmon, ham, bacon and chicken — because even those without kitchen skills deserve to eat well.