Barbecue

Our Favorite Barbecue Bites Of 2021

We repeated this view from across the cutting block for a lot of barbecue in 2021.  No, really, a lot of barbecue.
We repeated this view from across the cutting block for a lot of barbecue in 2021. No, really, a lot of barbecue. Melissa Hennings
When we look back on 2021, we'll remember it as a year when restaurants learned to manage pandemic restrictions, inflating costs and staffing shortages in an attempt to bring a sense of normalcy back to the dining public. For barbecue hounds, this meant a chance to get out and try new favorites and old standbys from the land of smoke and fire. Hell, we spent parts of six weekends and almost 1,300 miles in the car exploring barbecue across the area. After a year of social distancing, we had built up quite the craving.

So yeah, it's safe to say we ate a lot of great barbecue this year. To put a bow on this year, we've put together some of our favorite barbecue bites as 2021 comes to a close.

Pork Belly Hush Puppies at Sugarfire Smokehouse
click to enlarge Sugarfire's bar bites shine; you'd be remiss for not ordering some to go. - CHRIS WOLFGANG
Sugarfire's bar bites shine; you'd be remiss for not ordering some to go.
Chris Wolfgang
Sugarfire is a growing barbecue chain that landed in Dallas' Five Points neighborhood. We were curious to see how this St. Louis native stands up in a land of Texas barbecue, and by and large, we're glad they're here to share another take on barbecue. Their pork belly hush puppies were a deep-fried hidden gem from our visit; savory and smoky flecks of pork belly sparkled in each bite. Generally, hush puppies are a cornbread-fried path to feel-good vibes, and the addition of smoky pork belly takes this comfort food to the next level.

Brisket Queso at Burnt BBQ & Tacos
click to enlarge Brisket queso for the DIY crowd. - CHRIS WOLFGANG
Brisket queso for the DIY crowd.
Chris Wolfgang
There are a few life rules that will never steer you wrong. First, everything is better with queso, and anyone who says otherwise is a liar. Two, every queso is better if there's brisket in it. Such is the case with Plano's Burnt BBQ & Tacos. We dined to go, and when we got home, dove right into this cheesy smoky sensation. Bring a couple of forks, shred the chunks of brisket, then mix to your satisfaction. Angie Quebedeaux also sang the praises of Burnt BBQ's brisket fry bread, perhaps proving that the adage should be "everything's better with brisket."

Pork Ribs at Harris Bar-B-Que
click to enlarge We subdued our carnivore instincts momentarily for a glorious rib photo from Harris Bar-B-Que. - CHRIS WOLFGANG
We subdued our carnivore instincts momentarily for a glorious rib photo from Harris Bar-B-Que.
Chris Wolfgang
We had been remiss in visiting Harris Bar-B-Que for some time. Harris Bar-B-Que has been regarded as one of the state's best for years, and Kelvin Harris moved his namesake joint north from Waxahachie to Cedar Hill just before the pandemic started. The new location has been a blessing for business and for Dallasites who enjoy the stellar meats with less of a commute (and it's a shorter drive for Harris himself.) Everything was great on our visit, but the lightly glazed pork ribs were remarkable in their simple execution and flavor.

Mexicue Tacos from Hayter's Lounge
click to enlarge Yes, at Hayter's Bar & Lounge, you can order Mexicue tacos from Hurtado's next door! - SEAN WELCH
Yes, at Hayter's Bar & Lounge, you can order Mexicue tacos from Hurtado's next door!
Sean Welch
This may not be the traditional barbecue bite, but it's still worthy of a mention. Hayter's Lounge is the cocktail-serving offshoot of Hurtado Barbecue. And, no, Hurtado isn’t taking a dig at any potential foes with the name, rather paying homage to Andrew Hayter, who is considered the founder of Arlington. So while you're getting your drink on at Hayter's, you can order from a rotating selection of tacos fresh off the smoker from Hurtado. Mexicue and a margarita? It really is the best of both worlds.

Wagyu Breakfast Biscuit (and a fresh-squeezed orange juice) from Derek Allan's Barbecue.
click to enlarge Go ahead, name another barbecue joint besides Derek Allan's that serves a killer Wagyu brisket and biscuit breakfast sandwich, along with fresh-squeezed orange juice. We'll wait. - CHRIS WOLFGANG
Go ahead, name another barbecue joint besides Derek Allan's that serves a killer Wagyu brisket and biscuit breakfast sandwich, along with fresh-squeezed orange juice. We'll wait.
Chris Wolfgang
Barbecue for breakfast solves two of our biggest problems with barbecue: long lines and sell-outs. So we woke up early (not pitmaster early, but still, early enough) to bring you a list of the best barbecue joints serving breakfast. One of the best finds was the stellar wagyu brisket on a biscuit from Derek Allan's in Fort Worth, and the fresh-squeezed orange juice was an extra bonus.

Damn near anything that's smoked at Loro Asian Smokehouse
click to enlarge Slices of brisket aren't like what you would find at Aaron Franklin's namesake spot in Austin; Loro offers its own splendid interpretation. - ALISON MCLEAN
Slices of brisket aren't like what you would find at Aaron Franklin's namesake spot in Austin; Loro offers its own splendid interpretation.
Alison McLean
We've spilled a lot of virtual ink about Loro's new spot in east Dallas. It's for good reason. We've been impressed by so much of it. There's the fantastic smash burger topped with bacon jam, or the brisket with an Asian influence or cold-smoked salmon nestled gently in a bowl of fresh vegetables and a cucumber-yuzu broth. And this smoking brilliance is handled by a 5-foot-1-inch-tall woman who is smoking half a ton of meat a week. We can't wait for the second area location of Loro to open in Addison next year.
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Chris Wolfgang has been a contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2015. Originally from Florida, Chris moved to Dallas in 1997 and has carried on a secret affair with the Oxford comma for over 20 years.
Contact: Chris Wolfgang