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A Texan visits Hill Country BBQ

did a "pit" tour a few years ago and never came back to post.

they use a gasser at really low temp (compared to central texas legends) and put post oak coals in the gasser, not for heat but for smoke.

so the gas flame comment was pretty much dead on. no sign of liquid smoke, though!

I also noticed in the past few years the Schmidt family has been busy expanding their empire (as I noted back in 2007). Bee Cave, Lockhart Smokehouse (in Dallas), another planned location in the northern Dallas burbs, another Hill Country location in Brooklyn (which I assume will receive Ray's blessing).

bbq was mediocre and overpriced as usual.

Jan 10, 2014
carter4133 in Manhattan

Best BBQ in DFW?

I had Big Al's last Thursday. It was my first visit since they moved into their new digs over a year ago. Brisket had a beautiful bark and nice light smoke rings. It looked better than it tasted but still tasted good enough to land in the top decile of Dallas que joints. I'd have no problem sending an out of towner here.

Best BBQ in DFW?

I've been to there (Pecan Lodge) half a dozen times and NEVER had que that looks like the brisket you posted above, DallasDude. What am I doing wrong?

All of my visits were in the month after the initial FCGBBQ report. Maybe they had a bad month.

Barbecue in Dallas?

ever tried the CFS or tex-mex?

Barbecue in Dallas?

beef ribs are some of the best in Dallas (again, not saying much). as air mentioned, the rest of the bbq is pretty crappy.

Barbecue in Dallas?

Twinwillow, I understand. If you'll read my original comment you'll see that my recommendation of SB's was for an out-of-towner looking for Texas-style BBQ in Dallas as well.

I haven't been to Sonny Bryan's on Inwood in a couple of years. Sad to hear that the quality has slipped since then. Especially since it wasn't very good the last time I ate there.

Have you been to Meshacks? I wouldn't send an anonymous out of towner there but I'd certainly send anyone that lives in the central, northern or eastern parts of DFW. Really, really good stuff.

Barbecue in Dallas?

north main is on my list. I've heard good things.

I also need to do a proper crawl through the mid-cities and fort worth.

I literally went to pecan lodge 6x over a 3 month period trying to figure out what I was "missing." just not impressed.

Barbecue in Dallas?

14 months ago you were recommending sonny's on inwood and now it is bottom of the barrel? got it.

Barbecue in Dallas?

outside of big al's, mac's or baker's ribs, what place in Dallas is better than sonny bryans? I agree sonny bryans sucks but where else would you send a visitor if they insist on eating BBQ in Dallas?

below are the places I've been to. Not many of these are much better than Sonny Bryan's on Inwood:

mike anderson's (harry hines) -- about as good as sonny bryan's
peggy sues (snider plaza) -- good fried pies, not much else
smokey john's (love field area) -- better than sonny bryan's but a slightly different style bbq. zero atmosphere therefore most bbq visitors will be disappointed in recommendation
baker's ribs -- slightly better than sonny bryan's; a pretty good recommendation for a visitor, though nothing to write home about
meshack's -- as I mentioned before, best bbq in dallas or suburbs (excl ft worth and mid-cities)
CT's real deal -- no thanks. love checking out bbq and fried fish joints in this neighborhood but CT's isn't in the top of the class.
mac's bbq -- was once my favorite bbq spot in dallas but I've had extremely inconsistent results the past 4-5 years. plus, his prices keep going up.
baby back shak -- this is the only other bbq place (besides meshack's) in dallas that I would actually seek out. I like one item on the menu -- the ribs. not really texas bbq but great stuff.
big al's -- sometimes the brisket is pretty good. bbq chicken isn't bad. nothing to write home about. I conceded earlier that it was better than sonny bryan's, and believe is sits squarely above the dallas average; however, not destination bbq
sweet georgia brown -- not sure if this is still open as I haven't been in a few years but decent bbq. beats CT's in the category in my opinion. not really texas bbq. plus, mostly a soul food cafeteria line.
backcountry bbq -- more average dallas bbq... would probably put it neck and neck with sonny bryan's
dickey's -- the only place in town that servers worse bbq than sammy's. of course not sides and no "texas bbq" atmosphere
pappas -- good beef ribs. not a bad recommendation. probably better than sonny bryan's or sammy's in terms of an "out of towner" rec. not sure why it escaped me earlier.
spring creek -- ugh..
smoke -- not a bad restaurant but not really a traditional texas bbq place. if someone ask for bbq and you send them here, you might as well send them to first chinese bbq, imo.
pecan lodge catering -- full custom bbq and scott @ dallasfood missed on this one in my opinion. roast beefy and a horrible tasting rub from the half a dozen times I've been here.

those of you that think sonny bryan's is so terrible, what places have I missed?

here's to hoping the new lockhart smokehouse in OC fills the void. if it is anything like the joke that the kreuz folks opened in manhattan a few years ago (hill country bbq), I'll pass.

dallas is a good enough food city for me but still a horrible bbq destination.

Barbecue in Dallas?

I can't speak for Ft. Worth but in Dallas and its suburbs, Meshack's is the ONLY destination BBQ.

For out of town visitors, I recommend Sonny Bryan's on Inwood (kitschy + average Dallas BBQ) or Sammy's in Uptown (also kitschy with below average Dallas BBQ but great sides).

You can do better at Big Al's, Mac's or Bakers. But barely.

Great PoBoy

I haven't tried water's edge. I'd like to, though.

I like magazine st, domilise's and mahoney's (newer place) over parkway. I've only been to each spot a handful of times (if that) each. So perhaps I'd be wise to defer to local opinions.

Great PoBoy

Guess my original post was deleted.

In summary, best poboy in the metroplex. Blows alligator cafe, big easy, fish city, dodies, etc out of the water.

Gumbo and red beans and rice were avg. For Dallas.

Parkway is ok for roast beef but there are much better poboys in Nola IMO.

Tortillas Hechas a Mano and Tortillas Made On-Site

thanks for refreshing my memory on cuquita's -- that's right, handmade corn and flour. I confirmed last week that Perkins is indeed making his own flour tortillas for his breakfast tacos at Maple & Motor (and a fair price at $2 each in my opinion).

I have another to add that I discovered recently: Margarita's Restaurant @ 2414 Fitzhugh makes both corn and flour by hand. Wasn't overly impressed with either the corn or flour but did like the fact that the handmade tortillas were featured in all dishes, including the excellent tacos dorados (maybe the best I've had in Dallas). otherwise, the menu was hit or miss.

updated list (surely we can do better than this):
el fuego
chito's
gonzalez (flour only)
lunas
cuquita's
maple & motor (breakfast only; flour only)
margarita's restaurant

Tortillas Hechas a Mano and Tortillas Made On-Site

so far we have:

el fuego
chito's
gonzalez (flour only)
lunas

I believe cuquita's does hand-made corn. or maybe they are machine made. can anyone confirm?

considering the mexican-american population in DFW, you would think this list would be much longer.

Tortillas Hechas a Mano and Tortillas Made On-Site

seeing demigod's excellent taco thread reminded me to post someting that I have been meaning to post for quite some time. I'm trying to compile a comprehensive list of taquerias and mexican restaurants that either make tortillas by hand or make tortillas on site. Can someone help me out? Thanks in advance.

Restaurants everyone loves--except you

big easy in plano. I can't say I've done much better in the metroplex for cajun, but I was shocked at the mediocrity of my two meals there after hearing all of the praise for this place. didn't remind me of meals in new orleans at all. maybe shreveport.

on another note, I'm not sure how mi cocina can be considered overrated when it is universally bashed on this board and others.

Mextopia

the menu, down to the pricing, is extremely similar; however, the execution was slightly off on the dish that I ate (the Mexican Flag enchiladas). Chips and salsa were the same. Service was similar (read: mediocre). Ricardo was working the space as expected and mingling with many old Avila's/Maple Ave customers.

The space was nice and it looks like they are going to do a 5 day a week happy hour plus late night happy hour on weekends. I'm not sure what to make of its chance of long term survival.

I'm crossing my fingers that the old Avila's reopens in its past glory. Otherwise, I have a feeling that visits to Mextopia will be like going to the Dallas Grimaldi's vs. the one under the Brooklyn Bridge -- a good substitute, but a substitute nonetheless.

Dallas - Smoked Turkeys

Best smoked turkey in Dallas for the holidays? I am thinking of trying Kuby's, but would love to hear the forum's input, if any.

cravin' some soul-full southern food in Dallas

I would start with Hattie's and then work downmarket -- South Dallas Cafe, Sweet Georgia Browns and then Mrs. Vern's.

In general, you will not find the selection or quality of soul food in Dallas that you will find in the southeast or mid-atlantic. Dallas' soul food scene is plagued with mediocre fried chicken, inedible catfish and lazily prepared side dishes. But I can recommend a few items worth trying:

Fried chicken -- Finding decent fried chicken in Dallas is like finding decent BBQ -- it shouldn't be so hard. Brother's on Gaston is about the only place that I will order fried chicken in Dallas. Others might point you in the direction of Bubba's, Babe's or Celebration, all pretty good casual restaurants in their own right, but they aren't on par with the great purveyors of fried chicken.

Fried porkchop -- The Thursday special at Mrs. Vern's is delectable.

Fried shrimp -- Although I find their menu hit or miss, the fried shrimp at The Flying Fish is the best in town. Alligator Cafe also does pretty good fried seafood. Neither are strictly "soul food" joints.

Shrimp and grits -- Hattie's specialty.

Meatloaf -- Sweet Georgia Brown's.

Mac and cheese -- Again, Sweet Georgia Brown's is worth checking out. The serving sizes are kinda crazy here, so you may want to go with a friend and split a plate.

Fried okra -- Sammy's BBQ. The only BBQ that is edible is the pulled pork, but the sides are great. (Note: they don't have fried okra everyday, call ahead). Obviously, not a soul food joint.

Afro-american style BBQ -- Baby Back Shak is pretty good. They unconventially use a charcoal grill and have a great east texas style sauce.

Bread pudding -- Again, not a soul food restaurant, but S&D Oyster Co. has the best in town (Alligator Cafe's is also worth mentioning).

Chess pie -- The best southern-style food find in DFW, in my opinion: Vern's plain chess pie (don't get the buttermilk chess).

I haven't been to Po' Melvins but have heard good things.

Also, I am very interested in this thread. If anyone else has any notable mentions, please let us know!

[DFW] Best Pecan Pie?

my favorite chess pie is at Vern's Place, in Deep Ellum. Get the plain, not the buttermilk.

DFW Cupcakes

I don't care for Sprinkles. I have tried their cupcakes 3-4 times and everytime thought they were pretty crappy.

My vote goes to Jackie Spratt. Society is good, too.

Someone on dallasfood.org once suggested doing a cupcake tasting. If anyone ever organized such an event, I would love to read the tasters' notes.

Apr 24, 2008
carter4133 in Texas

A Texan visits Hill Country BBQ

For the record, I never questioned the quality of que at Kreuz Market or Scmidt's decision to turn Lockhart into a nation-wide tourist destination. Kreuz serves one of the best briskets in the world. Their smoked prime rib ranks in my top 5 foods of all time. Schmidt's commercial zeal has exposed more people to great BBQ than would be exposed otherwise. I recognize and appreciate this. The only thing I did was offer up a possible explanation of why Schmidt gave HC BBQ his "blessing" when, in my mind, they are serving a product grossly inferior to that of what he serves back in Texas.

I will soon make a return trip to HC. I will also ask the pitmaster for a pit tour or at least an explanation of their smoking methods. Pit tours are common in central Texas and I am certain the folks at HC will oblige, assuming they have nothing to hide.

Aug 24, 2007
carter4133 in Manhattan

A Texan visits Hill Country BBQ

BackyardChef: A statement beginning with a qualifying phrase, "I couldn't tell if...," is hardly an "allegation." Again, I do not know exactly what they are doing, but they aren't cooking the meats in brick chutes solely heated by natural oak flames. If they were, you would be able to smell it in and outside of the restaurant. More important, you would be able to taste it in the meats.

Honestly, I was a little surprised when I learned of Rick Schmidt's blessing. He is a notorious hardass. However, he is also the most commercially oriented of the top central Texas brisket joint bosses, as evidenced by the BBQ Wal-Mart he moved Kreuz into at the turn the the century. Hill Country BBQ is purchasing all of its sausage from Schmidt and also providing free advertising for Kreuz. Of course, I do not know either owner or what sort of business relationship they have with each other; however, it is not inconceivable that these factors influenced his decision to "bless" the restaurant.

Aug 23, 2007
carter4133 in Manhattan

A Texan visits Hill Country BBQ

unless they are cooking their beef ribs in an entirely different manner than the rest of their meats, I will pass. My point: Hill Country BBQ does not smoke their meats in a manner similar to that of the Lockhart legends. I couldn't tell if they were parboiling and then finishing in a faux smoker with a gas flame and liquid smoke or what, but whatever they are doing differs significantly from what they do in the Texas Hill Country. Also, please note that I am not asserting that this method of cooking meat makes inherently bad BBQ, only that they are not doing what their name and organizational goals suggest (and thus why I stopped in).

Aug 23, 2007
carter4133 in Manhattan

A Texan visits Hill Country BBQ

yeah, I'm a native Texan.

Aug 22, 2007
carter4133 in Manhattan

A Texan visits Hill Country BBQ

I went there last night and was extremely disappointed. I ordered the holy trinity: brisket, sausage and ribs. The brisket was average -- tender and juicy with some flavor from the dry rub except I could detect very little smoke from the "imported wood" they contend they cook with. One bite into the meal it was apparent that Hill Country BBQ was not smoking their meats in woodburning pits in a manner similar to that of the Texas greats. The sausage was pretty good but only because Kreuz packs a pretty good sausage. It certainly was no better what you could do by simply ordering a case of sausage from Kreuz online and broiling it in your oven at home. The ribs were terrible, suffering from more than just the poor preparation techniques that limited the brisket and sausage. As far as pricing goes, had the 'cue been up to snuff, I would have had no quibbles about the meat pricing. The stuff the Texas greats are cranking out is not exactly cheap and as anyone that has lived in both NYC and central Texas knows, significant price expansion is reasonable and expected. However, unless I am going hungry, I will not make a return trip to Hill Country BBQ.

Since a lot of the Texas greats either lack i) adequate sides (Black's sides come to mind) or ii) atmosphere/experience/service the review could probably end here but there are a few other things worth mentioning--

namely, the disconnect between the prices and quantity/quality of the side dishes and deserts. I tried the bourbon whipped sweet potatoes and the "Longhorn" mac and cheese. Even by NYC southern-style standards, they were both failures and at $5.25 for a small dip of each, laughable. However, perhaps the biggest disappointment was dessert. For a hefty $4.00 for a serving, I assumed I was going to get a big bowl of creamy Blue Bell ice cream. Instead, I was served a "mini-carton" (you know, the single servings that they sell Texas high school cafeterias for 35 cents) that suffered from serious freezer burn. What a joke. As an aside, if anyone in NY is interested in consistently paying $4.00 for a half dip of Blue Bell, send me an email and I will quit my job in finance and make some real dough importing this stuff from Texas.

I was also a little put off by the “atmosphere.” From the card marking system to the mason jar beverages, the whole experience was a little hokey.

I’m clearly in the minority here, but in a city full of so many great restaurants, aside from Texas nostalgia, I have no idea why someone would pay $50 to eat at this place.

Aug 21, 2007
carter4133 in Manhattan

(Dallas) Wingfield's Breakfast and Burgers

haven't had kincaid's or much else in ft. worth. need to get out there...

wingfields does a pretty good burger. right up there with twisted root in deep ellum as far as non-steakhouse burgers. I also recommend the loon and uptown bar and grill as well as who's who in HP village (get the regular burger, not the kobe option).

Apr 16, 2007
carter4133 in Texas

The Cape? (Dallas)

I went last Friday night... horrible experience. I had the clam chowder and tuna steak. the chowder had no redeeming qualities and the tuna steak was terrible. quite possibly one of the worst pieces of tuna I have ever been served.

the service was good and the pricing was reasonable; however, the food was not good.

Apr 15, 2007
carter4133 in Texas