Friday, September 3, 2010

Bartley's Bar-B-Que

GRAPEVINE: Bartley's Bar-B-Que
413 E Northwest Hwy
Grapevine, TX 76051
Open Tues-Thur 10:30-8, F-Sat 10:30-9

I needed to go back to Bartley's in Grapevine to clear up a misunderstanding. In my D Magazine article on the Best BBQ in DFW, I stated that Bartley's used oak in their smokers, but a few commenters noted that they use hickory. I had to get it from the horse's mouth, so after a cancelled flight at DFW led to a bowl of red at Tolbert's, I stopped in at Bartley's for some meat to go. The knife man assured me that they use hickory, so I either mis-heard, mis-remembered, or mis-wrote the errant information about their wood preference.

It's always good to ask for a mix of lean and fatty brisket and not get an odd stare. Instead the knife man just grabbed a beautiful piece of the point and starting slicing. They were out of ribs, so I added some pork loin to the order based on staff recommendation. Pork loin is a tricky cut to smoke because of it's propensity to dry out due to low fat content. This stuff was perfect. A thin line of nicely rendered fat hugged the bottom of each moist slice. Smokiness ran throughout the cut, and a nice salty rub really brought out the flavors. This should be a new standard for any regular to Bartley's. The brisket was good as always. Even the lean brisket was plenty moist, and both versions had a heavy dose of smokiness. It made me wonder why it took so long to get back here. This joint can even make you thankful for a canceled flight.

Rating ***

2008: Bartley's doesn't have much ambiance going for it. They try to country-up their strip mall location, but it's still a strip mall. After entering through the glass doors, I immediately smelled smoke. Unexpected, but promising. I ordered brisket and ribs. The brisket had no smoke line, but had a good smoke flavor from the black crust. There was little smoke outside the crust, but each slice was moist and tender, and there was a heap of it on my plate. I always appreciate a good value. The ribs were excellent. These St. Louis style ribs were perfectly tender with a slightly sweet flavor from an unobtrusive rub and a well formed crust. The fat was well rendered giving an overall great rib flavor without all the grease. They also left the small meat knuckle below the bone for an extra flavorful bite. Don't let first impressions fool you here. Step in and enjoy the meat.

Rating ***
Bartley's Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon


dallasdon said...

Not much competition here in Grapevine, but they are consistently good.

I buy their ribs and brisket by the LB- $11.

Keep in mind they are closed Sun + Mon.

King Voodoo said...

I was a bit bummed out by my trip to this place. My buddy and I have been trying to hit places you have rated and I had high hopes for this joint.

I got the three meat combo and the hot link was good, but the beef was dry as the Sahara and the ribs were dry and tuff as beef jerky.

The sides were okay, but the sauce I did not like at buddy and I both thought it tasted like Kraft Original with extra tang/vinegar.

My buddy got beef (he did not like it either and he went to culinary school and is far more critical that I am, not that it means much), Chicken (that had a very odd after taste) and the sausage (it was pretty good...I had a bit of all his and he did the same).

They also had a guy singing along to a rhythm track on a tape player for entertainment...that was shall we say interesting.

Bullschuck said...

I ate there yesterday and the brisket was very disappointing. More like roast beef. Very little smoke flavor and dry. The ribs however were excellent. Next time I'm skipping the beef altogether.


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.