“I tell everybody around, I feel like our ribs are some of the best you’re going to get in Texas,” Morales says. “I proclaim they’re the best in Texas, but that’s just my confidence. That’s just me.”
He doesn’t shy away from his beliefs either. Morales is so confident that his ribs are the best, he proudly printed the slogan “Home of the best ribs in Texas” on the back of the T-shirts his staff will wear at his new restaurant, Parry Avenue Barbecue Company (PABC).
Aside from ribs — beef ribs on weekends — PABC’s menu will offer a variety of meats and sides. There will be sausage and brisket, naturally, but with a twist. Ground birria makes up the house sausage. Tacos also will be on the menu. Birria tacos are made with brisket while the al pastor comes from ribs and pork butt. Morales describes his barbecue as “Texican.”
“I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m Latin,” Morales says. “I’m half Colombian, half Mexican. So, my passion for tacos is ridiculous, but I also like empanadas and chorizo. I try to infuse that in the food that I do.”
Located a few blocks north of Fair Park, PABC, named after the street it sits on, occupies a long-abandoned white building with blue trim along the roofline next to the former Bo-Leo’s Taco Shack, which is now part of PABC. Morales is remodeling the interior, and when it’s done the approximately 2,000-square-foot space will house a dining room and bar that will have full access to the property’s large backyard.
In the backyard is the jewel of PABC: a black, well-worn 1,000-gallon offset smoker named “Little Mama” that sits on a covered trailer. Morales picked it up from his friend Chad Sessions, who owns Smoke Sessions Barbecue in Royse City. It’s up on the trailer where Morales and co-pit master Derek Parker will spend much of their day.
“I’m buried in the smoker all the time,” Morales says. “I love being in the smoker. I don’t know why. I love it. The food comes out, I love the way it feels, everything about it. Texture, feels, smoke. Barbecue.”
This isn’t Morales' first venture into barbecue. The veteran chef has worked at some of Dallas’ most notable restaurants throughout the years. He got his start in the area at Nick & Sam’s, managed barbecue joint Smoky Rose near White Rock Lake and most recently was the culinary director of Barrel & Bones Craft Bar and Smokehouse. Now, he has a place all his own.
“A lot of places will try to name their place after your name, like ‘Morales Barbecue’ or ‘Leo’s Barbecue,” Morales says. “But when I saw that sign, I was like, ‘No, you cannot take away what this is for this place and for this part of town.’ So, it’s Parry Avenue Barbecue Company. It’s just natural.”
The indoor dining space at Parry Avenue won’t be ready to open until sometime in December. Imagine a relaxed retro late-'70s, '80s vibe with live music outdoors. Even though a full grand opening is months out, Morales isn’t letting that stop him from serving his smoked offerings. Starting Tuesday, Sept. 21, he’ll be dishing smoked meats for lunch from a trailer parked in front of the building with its signature sign.
Those hoping to learn the secrets of his ribs can stop by and order a rack or catch him Oct. 1 during his Celebrity Chef demonstration at the State Fair of Texas. He keeps his technique simple — season them, smoke them well, finish them off — but it’s the attention to detail that sets them apart.
“There are so many people out there that do barbecue way better than I do, and they do it great,” Morales says. “But we’re going to be hardcore about making sure it’s the best every time you taste it.”
A bit of fortuitous news over the weekend: Morales took first place for his ribs out in the Fraternal Order of Eagles’ 10th annual barbecue cookoff this weekend.
Parry Avenue Barbecue Company, 4300 Parry Ave. Check Facebook for days and hours.