Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Two weeks ago, I was asked by a friend from out of town for a tour of the best BBQ DFW has to offer. I carefully planned an itinerary around some of my favorites, and looked forward to a great day of BBQ. The first stop was Off the Bone in Forest Hill. I had professed the moistness of their pork loin, but it was disappointingly dry. Brisket could have used some smoker time to tenderize and gain more smoke flavor. The best item was the smoky and tender baby backs which were impressive once again.

Off the Bone

Up the road at Uncle Willie's I was hoping for more smoke on the brisket. While the slices arrived with a nice crust and smokering, the flavorful meat was very dry and devoid of any fat. St. Louis ribs were above average while the chicken was thoroughly unremarkable. The special recipe sausage had all the zing I had expected, but it seemed barely warmed by the smoker.

Uncle Willie's

Cooper's was a disappointing on my first visit shortly after opening, but my guest insisted on a visit. They were much more impressive on this day. Brisket was moist with good seasoning and overall flavor. A beef rib needed much more cooking time to render out the tough intramuscular fat. The small slice of sirloin was admirably cooked to just medium, but was beyond chewy and sausage was altogether forgettable. The big chop deserved some praise, and provided a different flavor depending on which end each bite was trimmed from. The fatty edges were luscious and moist, while the center was dense and flavorful.

Cooper's Fort Worth

Angelo's was not a planned stop, but was so close to Cooper's that we couldn't resist. The theme here was salt. The moist and smoky chicken was the best option, although it skin was limp and greasy. Both ribs and brisket were overseasoned. Ribs were moist and tender while the brisket was a bit dense and dry.


Anticipation built for a truly great meal while we took the long drive from Fort Worth to Garland to visit Meshack's. Much like my last visit, the ribs and sausage were stupendous while the beef suffered the same issues as the same cut at Off the Bone. The meat simply needed more time on the smoker to get more smoke and add tenderness. The only remarkable bite was the end with black smoky crust on every inch of the edge.


After many miles and quite a few disappointments, I was hoping the final stop at Lockhart Smokehouse would redeem by BBQ tasting skills to my guest. Both brisket and clod were a necessity and burnt ends were the special of the day. Our order was rounded out with a link of jalapeno sausage. While the sausage needed more smoke, the brisket and clod were both superbly smoky. Fat was very nicely rendered, and the texture was perfect. The only issue was the generous amount of salt in the rub. It seemed to permeate every inch of the meat, and overpowered most every bite. After double smoking the fatty blackened brisket ends, each of these flavors are concentrated into the burnt ends. A chunk or two is about all I could take without needing an entire glass of water to temper the saltiness.

Lockhart Smokehouse

A full day of critical comparisons brought some definite praise from me and my guest for Cooper's and Lockhart Smokehouse, but most of the other stops only offered disappointment. It was made obvious to me that even the best offerings in DFW suffer from definite inconsistencies, and consistency is really what great BBQ is judged on.

- BBQ Snob

1 comment:

runDMC said...

They have got to dial back the salt by at least half. Everything just reeks of salt. Their smoking technique seems to really be there but tender as the meat maybe it ain't good if the salt overpowers. And it really does. What an easy fix. Yet in my 3 visits there has been no change.
Just egregious amounts of salt bite after bite that get concentrated during smoking.


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.