Monday, March 28, 2011

DFW Airport BBQ

My day job has required frequent trips to DFW Airport of late, so much so that I haven't been able to eat enough BBQ. I decided to remedy that on one occasion where my driving time was particularly brisk, and I had a few free minutes. In order to not be a complete masochist and eat what would probably be pretty poor sliced brisket, I opted to compare chopped beef sandwiches.

The first stop was in Terminal D at gate 18. Railhead Smokehouse BBQ offers a regular and Texas sized sandwich, and being in the Lone Star State, I went for the big one. A pile of premixed beef and sauce were scooped onto the unheated sesame bun. So much sauce was added to the mix that the consistency was more soupy than sloppy joe, but shared the dentures-welcome consistency. This was by far the worst of three sandwiches, but it's unclear which Railhead location to blame. The Fort Worth operation and the Willow Park locations are run independently. Oddly, the receipt had "Two Podner's" printed on top which is a Dallas based joint near fair park whose owner is a well known airport vendor. Anyone else out there have a clue?

The second stop was just a few gates away at gate D 28 for Cousin's BBQ (also available at gate B27). The meat here is not presauced, and comes piled atop a buttered and lightly grilled bun. The meat had good consistency with bits of meat and crust. A bit of sauce didn't drown out the smoky flavor of the meat, and the sides here are top notch for airport food. This would have even been a good option outside the airport.

The final joint was a few stops on the Skylink away at gate A 18 (also at C 6 and E 12). Dickey's does one better than Cousin's by chopping the meat to order. I found this quite remarkable given the time required for this extra step, but loved the ability to ask for specific cuts to be chopped. This sandwich may have been tops if they'd paid some attention to the cold bun which was odd given that buns for the po-boys were grilled to order. The meat and sauce here worked well together, and in a pinch, I'll no longer turn my nose up at Dickey's chopped beef sandwich as an option.

Do I really think you can find great BBQ in an airport? Not really, but I thought some fellow travelers might want to know if there's anything decent out there. If you find yourself at DFW Airport and you're anywhere near Terminal C or D, then Cousin's should be your stop. Dickey's will do in a pinch, but don't bother with Railhead.

- BBQ Snob


Anonymous said...

Can they have smokers at the Airport?

BBQ Snob said...

No smokers at the airport. All of these joints bring it in from a central commisary to the best of my knowledge.

Anonymous said...

The single worst bbq experience I've ever had in my life came at said Dickey's. Also traveling on business, I had a few extra minutes to eat. I ordered the rib plate and was given about 2 really failed looking ribs. Given the plates $12 or so price range, I felt this was just not acceptable. I voiced my displeasure with the surly, West African, minimal English speaking, server. He was not pleased. He pulled a full slab, with plastic wrap still in place, from a warmer. With one giant swing, he cut the rack in half with a cleaver and desposited half of it on my smallish plastic plate, now wilting with several lbs of ribs. I could do nothing but smile and hope the cleaver didnt stir up any suppressed emotions. I guess in the end I was the winner, cause hey, extra ribs...


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.