It's easy enough to miss Top 5 BBQ if you pass through DeSoto. What started as a backyard smoker serving smoked meats to the neighborhood soon grew to a food truck and now occupies a modest storefront in a strip mall adjacent to DeSoto's City Hall. But driving past Top 5 means missing out on some of the area's best barbecue, not just in DeSoto, but DFW. Don't take our word for it; no less of a barbecue authority than Daniel Vaughn included Top 5 in the latest iteration of Texas Monthly's Top 50 Barbecue Joints in Texas.
Just four small tables occupy the dining room at Top 5, plus a handful of chairs along one wall for customers waiting on to-go orders. We arrived after the lunch rush on a Saturday and were able to grab one of the tables after placing our order although the takeout business still seemed to be going strong on our visit. Orders are placed at a small counter that curves towards the back, becoming the prep space and meat-cutting counter.
The menu hanging from the soffit above the counter is straightforward. Meats are reasonably priced by the pound while sides come in individual, pint or quart sizes. You can also get any of the meats as part of a plate with two sides, on a sandwich, in a baked potato or on nachos made with chips fried to order and dusted with Top 5's barbecue spice rub. You read that right — Top 5 fries its own corn chips in house.
The surprises don't stop there. We ordered a two-meat plate ($15) with ribs and moist brisket, macaroni and cheese, and potato salad and were astounded at the amount of food we received. Both the brisket and the ribs receive a liberal dose of Top 5 rub, which counts turmeric, cumin and curry powder among its ingredients. The brisket slices were delectably moist and smoky, with the black bark showing off the complex rub flavors. As delicious as we found the brisket, each bite of the three meaty pork ribs on our plate was a case study in smoked, falling-off-the-bone tenderness.
On the side front, our plate (which is something of a misnomer as all orders come in a black styrofoam to-go boxes) was finished off with heaping servings of mac and cheese and potato salad. The mac was a solid decision, and the potato salad was a mustard-based concoction with a touch of sweetness that kept us shoveling forkfuls into our mouths.
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Top 5 also offers five specialty sandwiches that mix meats and sauces. We ordered the Tuke-Tuke ($9.50), with pulled pork, sausage, cole slaw and pickles on a sturdy toasted bun, as an excuse to try more of Top 5's meats. We weren't disappointed in the pork or the sausage, and the french fries that came with the sandwich were sprinkled with more of Top 5's rub, making them dangerously addictive.
Everything we tried at Top 5 has habit-building qualities. DeSoto has always struck us as one of those ubiquitous Dallas suburbs with the usual chain dining choices, but with its flavorful smoked meats and tasty sides, Top 5 is doing a fine job of breaking from the crowd.
Top 5 BBQ, 209 E. Pleasant Run Road, DeSoto