Saturday, July 25, 2009

Railhead Smokehouse

FT. WORTH: Railhead Smokehouse
2900 Montgomery St.
Ft. Worth, TX 76107
Open M-Sat 11-9

Update 2009: Often times the quality of a joint's BBQ can be overblown in the mind of the beholder if absolutely everything else around it is done flawlessly. This seems to be the case at Railhead. While it's been voted best BBQ in Fort Worth I think since before the city was founded, it holds a special place in the minds of its clientele because it's a damn fine place to hang out that serves decent barbecue. Ice cold schooners of inexpensive beer, a laid back bar atmosphere, and excellent sides are all part of the true Railhead experience. What Railhead does not deliver on is intensely smoky meats with bold Texas BBQ flavors.

Sausage was average, but the guy working the line had a less than average knowledge of his wares. As he hollered orders to the folks in the kitchen his jaw flapped with the jackrabbit speed, but he stumbled when I asked where the sausage was from, and tried to recover by shouting boisterously that it was a move on down the line and stop asking questions. Ribs were picture perfect - red hued meat below a deep black crust. The texture was pleasing, and the moisture of the meat coupled with well rendered fat was delightful. Unfortunately, these things all added up to a rib with passable flavor, little smokiness and nothing memorable on the tastebuds. Brisket was similar with a good crust, meager smokeline, and again perfectly tender moist meat. Like deja vu, the smokiness was lacking as was a bold flavor of any sort. Don't be afraid of a little salt there boys. It's meat's best friend. Now get me another beer!

Rating ***

2008: After a day full of bad 'cue, Railhead was a nice way to finish. It really has more of a bar feel than it does a BBQ joint. The smell of smoke was pleasant, and the meat looked great too. The brisket was tender, with a good crust and a thin smoke line. The smoke flavor was heavy on the crust, but elsewhere it was slightly roast-beefy. The fat could have been more well rendered. Still a tasty brisket. The ribs were very good with perfect tenderness and nicely rendered. The crust was good as well as the seasoning. It was unfortunate that I ordered so few, and ordered them to-go.

A few words about the employees' uniforms. The read "Life is too short to live in Dallas" on the back. Those who live in Ft. Worth seem to yearn for a real city rivalry, but the cities are just different from one another, both with their good and bad points. Dallasites rarely mention Ft. Worth in a negative tone, and these shirts just attempt to perpetuate this sought after rivalry. Give it a rest.

Railhead Smokehouse on Urbanspoon


Sam the Bright said...

That tick me as there is cheap plate, cheap fork and spoon and cheap plastic cup to drink. Otherwise, meat is somewhere nice.

Eric Anton said...

Stay away from the location in DFW airport. Wow that was bad. Nothing even close to the original.

Anonymous said...

I went there for the first time last week after seeing it in the queue on my BBQ finder app, since I was in FTW for other business. I had the sliced brisket sandwich plate and thought it was all right. I found myself reaching for the BBQ sauce for a few bites; the brisket alone wasn't leaping off the bun. I'd return there with friends or guests, but I wouldn't talk it up as more than a pretty good BBQ joint.

MichelinGuideSnob said...

Mr. Vaughn, I think you miss the Fort Worth-Dallas rivalry point...FW is not looking for a rivalry, it is saying that the city stands against everything that Dallas represents (an identity-less steel and glass city devoid of history and culture). They should never give THAT a rest.

BBQ Snob said...

Wow. So Dallas is entirely "devoid of history and culture." I hestitate to take that bait, but that is precisely the asinine attitude I'm talking about.

MichelinGuideSnob said...

Relative to Fort Worth, yes, it is devoid of history and culture. I never said "entirely". Also, one of the reasons that you never see Dallas fight back in this rivalry is that very few Dallasites have any passion about their home city. It would be like New Yorkers and Iowans battling over what the better state is...there is only one clear cut winner.

As someone that has lived in both places for multiple years (but not "from" either)...and now out-of-state for the past 6 years (San Fran-LA-Chicago), I am pretty comofortable in my "insider" and "outsider" evaluation of the two cities.

However, I don't disagree with your review of Railhead...quite spot on...but it is nice to know that there is another joint serving Oklahoma Round Steak in Fort Worth.


Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.