After being praised for their barbecue prowess by what seems like every publication in Texas, Pecan Lodge owners Justin and Diane Fourton decided that it was time to stretch their legs and start serving their loyal fans in a bigger space. On May 12, the Fourtons served up the last plates of Pecan Lodge brisket and pork ribs that would ever be eaten at the Dallas Farmer's Market.
Most of Texas' landmark barbecue location utilize massive closed or open-air barbecue pits to smoke their wares. At The Salt Lick in Driftwood or Smitty's in Lockhart, the smokers probably take up more square footage than my entire apartment. At Pecan Lodge, though, the legendary brisket is smoked on a barbecue pit that looks much like what you'd have in your backyard, multiplied by three.
In the original Farmer's Market location, Fourton used only one barbecue pit to crank out all of the restaurant's meats. Lurlene, the barbecue pit that helped transform Pecan Lodge from a side-job catering business into a nationally-renowned meat Mecca, will be joined by two currently unnamed twin sisters who look just like her. Pecan Lodge is moving to a new space, but the smokers will be staying the exact same.
And for good reason. In barbecue as in life, if it isn't broke, don't fix it. A commitment to the quality and consistency of Pecan Lodge's barbecue helped Fourton decide to keep the cooking process of his legendary barbecue the same as it was in the original space at the Dallas Farmer's Market. "We wanted to stick with the pits that we knew as to not sacrifice the quality of our product," said Fourton. "We knew how to cook on these pits, and didn't want to change the model because we wanted the product to taste the same."
There wasn't a lot of complicated math involved in helping Fourton determine how many pits would be needed for the new location, either. "We settled on three pits for the new restaurant because that's what we had," he said. "We'd had them for a while, and just never had the room to use them before."
An oilfield welder in San Angelo has made all of Pecan Lodge's pits, which look a lot like your average backyard smoker times three. A new barbecue pit is currently under construction, and there's plenty of room at the Deep Ellum location to accommodate future growth. Maybe the addition of these new smokers will mean that Fourton can crank out the product out more quickly and finally eliminate those pesky wrap-around-the-building lines that so often stood between hungry people and Pecan Lodge's delicious barbecue when the new restaurant opens on May 23.