Lockhart Smokehouse, 1026 E. 15th St., Plano
This may seem like a cop-out, what with the original Lockhart’s location in the Bishop Arts District, but bypassing Lockhart just because it’s the second location is foolish when it comes to barbecue this good. Everything you’d want is here: dedicated smokehouse in back, a full bar along one side of the downstairs space, and of course, the same delicious brisket, sausage, ribs and poultry as the original Dallas location. True to the original, utensils are discouraged.
Ten50 BBQ, 1050 N. Central Expressway, Richardson
Modeled after Central Texas barbecue greats like Franklin’s in Austin and Snow’s in Lexington, Ten50 BBQ in Richardson touts itself as serving "Authentic Texas BBQ served with a heaping side of Texas hospitality." Ambitious standards for sure, but after some experimentation and menu simplifying, Ten50 is cranking out some tasty ‘cue. Sides are made from scratch, and the desserts shouldn’t be missed.
Hutchins Barbecue, 1301 N. Tennessee St., McKinney
From the outside, the McKinney location of Hutchins (they’ve got a second location in Frisco) doesn’t look like much. But the lines of people on the weekends obviously know it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Hutchins’ brisket is so melt-in-your-mouth tender that schoolchildren should study it, while the tender ribs have a slightly sweet char that’s as black as your ex’s soul. Ice cream, banana pudding and peach cobbler are gratis, assuming you saved room for dessert.
3 Stacks Smoke & Tap House, 4226 Preston Road, Frisco
Burnt ends are manna from the barbecue heavens. At some places, they’re a specialty item that’s not always available, but 3 Stacks Smokehouse deserves mention here for serving them every day in two different styles. Original Kansas City-style burnt ends are doused in 3 Stacks’ sauce, then tossed back on the smoker to crisp up. If you’re a purist and sauce isn’t your thing, you can order them “3 Stacks Style," large chunks of charred bark-covered beef minus the sauce. There’s an expansive menu of sandwiches, salads, pizzas and wings, should anyone in your party want something other than barbecue, but why are you friends with these people?