Once, any talk of Texas' barbecue belt focused on Central Texas. That belt is now, well, Texas-sized. Good barbecue can be had anywhere between the Red River and the Rio Grande. While Austin and the small towns dotting the Hill Country certainly have the edge when it comes to barbecue history, larger metro areas have become equals in quality and flavor. Earlier this year, for just the sixth time since 1973, Texas Monthly dared to delineate the 50 best barbecue restaurants in the state, and 10 of them are in North Texas.
There's no shortage good of barbecue in the Dallas area, but that doesn't seem to stop new joints from joining the scene, eager to cash in on barbecue's popularity. It's difficult enough for any new restaurant to separate itself from the crowd, much less a barbecue restaurant in an area where opinions run strong and the popular favorites have cultlike followings. More power to them, we say. Here are four barbecue establishments that opened in 2017 and stood out from the rest.
8602 Garland Road
Smoky Rose, which opened in January, is more than just a barbecue joint. Adjacent to the Dallas Arboretum, Smoky Rose is refined enough to take your out-of-town guests and has enough variety to the menu to please anybody. That's not to give short shrift to the barbecue, though; impossibly moist brisket, massive beef ribs and delectable sausage are among the gems to be had from the smokehouse. Add in the cozy bar and an expansive patio to enjoy when the weather cooperates, and you'll see why Smoky Rose is a winner for East Dallas.
425 U.S. Highway 377 S., Argyle
Described as a "barbecue outpost in the trees," Bumbershoot Barbecue in Argyle comes from the same minds that brought us Earl's 377 Pizza. Bumbershoot is like an afternoon at your neighbor's backyard barbecue. It sources the meats locally, smokes them in a shed and serves them from the window of a vintage trailer. You grab a seat at a picnic table next to an oak tree; there is no dining room. As winter sets in, Bumbershoot wisely cuts back its hours, but come spring and summer, you'll love the picnic vibe and the smell of smoked meats in the air, as well as the tasty fare Bumbershoot serves.
14003 Corral City Drive, Argyle
It doesn't look like much from the outside — a single-wide trailer dropped in a gravel parking lot next to a gas station. But don't dare judge 407 BBQ by its modest cover. Instead of worrying about decor, 407 BBQ churns out supremely good barbecue, including melt-in-your-mouth brisket and expertly smoked ribs, complemented by well-executed sides. We've been fooled before by restaurants that focus more on how they look than the food they serve, but 407 BBQ knows how to tune out distractions and deliver sublimely good food.
Ferris Wheelers Backyard & Barbecue
1950 Market Center Blvd., Dallas
We hear of lots of restaurant openings, but few announce their arrival with a 50-foot tall Ferris wheel in the backyard. Sure, Ferris Wheelers has the gimmicks, but it also delivers when it comes to tasty barbecue. Aficionados will detect influences from Kansas City, Memphis and the Carolinas in Ferris Wheelers' meats and sauces, but there are enough Texas roots to keep the barbecue purists happy, too. Order your food and head out back to the patio; besides the carnival ride that operates on the weekends, Ferris Wheelers offers local craft beers, a full bar and live music. Gimmicky? Maybe, but Ferris Wheelers brings the barbecue goods to back it up.
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