Dallas is at the heart of North Texas’s distinctive BBQ tradition, and has some great eateries smoking spicy sausages, glazed pork ribs and juicy brisket over a hickory wood fire. Once well singed, the fleshy slabs are removed and hacked into oozing chunks. Diners can then slather their resulting plateful in the region’s classic BBQ sauce, a tomato-and-vinegar concoction that adds a vibrant tang to the smokiness of the meat. This rough approach rather suits the ruggedness of Dallas, so it’s not surprising that the city is home to a bunch of pitch perfect BBQ joints.
Perfectly located in the heart of Dallas Farmers Market, Pecan Lodge has garnered a great deal of attention since it opened in 2010. While its sides such as the creamy mac ‘n’ cheese sprinkled with crunchy bacon bits are damn impressive, its the Lodge’s sumptuous brisket that has really led to queues snaking through the Market and dwarfing every other enterprise in the place. Tender enough to fall apart at the touch of a plastic fork, the brisket’s black edges are caked in a taste-explosion seasoning mix of salt, pepper and spices.
Peggy Sue BBQ sounds like music and tastes like music. This joint has been a resident of East Dallas since 1989, smoking meat and preparing vegetables to serve to customers waiting in its cozy cafe-diner atmosphere. A Wild West motif runs across the walls, and there’s an old Henry rifle slung above the salad bar. It’s a unique place to get your teeth into some Dallas BBQ, and what comes off Peggy’s charcoal is delicious – smoky and spicy sausage, juicy brisket drizzled in a fiery BBQ sauce, ribs, turkey and pulled pork, all served a little leaner than in many other establishments. Being a sit-down cafe, there’s also great peach cobbler for dessert along with a selection of home-fried pies – cherry, apricot, chocolate and coconut.
Ultra-casual Lockhart SmokeHouse drops the plates and just hands you its well-smoked offerings in butcher’s paper, which you can plop down on one of its restaurant tables before tearing into the contents with your bare hands. But it doesn’t skimp on choice, and you can ask for your brisket or shoulder clod in whatever way you like it, whether lean, fatty, extra bark or something more inventive. Particularly popular are the spare ribs, which are big, juicy and well-seasoned. The sausage is superb too, both the regular and the jalapeño cheese varieties, which are shipped in from legendary Kreuz Market in Lockhart. Kreuz Market was for several decades run by the grandfather of the Smokehouse’ current owner, and its sausages are flavorful proof that this BBQ joint has excellent heritage.
Situated a half hour west of Dallas in the neighboring town of Fort Worth, Angelo’s is a real north Texas BBQ institution. A no-frills roadside joint located in a wood-panelled barn adorned with taxidermy, the menu is simple and a swift undiscerning glance might mistake the place for a vaguely eccentric motorway service station. The food comes on styrofoam plates and ice-cold beer is imbibed straight from the bottle or can. But don’t be fooled - Angelo’s has been smoking meat since 1958, and it has undoubtedly mastered the art.The brisket is as tender and juice-dribbling as you’d expect from one of Texas’s best BBQ joints, the chicken is moist and flavorsome, and there are one or two delicious specialities, including BBQ salami and sublime German braunschweiger.
Off The Bone feels just as Texan BBQ should. Located in a lightly renovated petrol station, it’s got a small air-conditioned seating area along with a visible kitchen where the food is prepared and the beer is poured. Despite the hype that has surrounded the joint recently, it’s remained pretty cheap. Everything is stripped-down and simple, focusing attention on all that really matters – what comes off the mighty