Monday, March 7, 2011

Papa Joe's Backyard BBQ

DALLAS: Papa Joe's Backyard BBQ
1233 Newport Avenue

Dallas, TX 75224


Open Thur 5-7, Fri 5-9, Sat 11-9, Sun 11-7

Update: This joint is CLOSED.

2011: Given much less notoriety than the recent openings of Lockhart Smokehouse and Luckie's, and a little more than Oak Cliff Barbeque, this joint in the southern part of the Cliff is a family run joint. Families have it made with great food at good prices, and plenty of activities to keep the kids occupied in the attached play area. The building used to be a day care center, so the large, fenced-in play area was already there when renovations began. It took them some time to complete those renovations. When I first met the owners at an BBQ event in Mesquite, they had plans to open by May of 2010, but when construction starts and permits are required, sometimes those fast-track schedules can go out the window.

When we arrived on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, it seemed that word hadn't really gotten out on the opening. During our hour long meal, there were only two other tables occupied. We ordered a little of everything, and took our seats. We forced a few bites down our daughter's throat before we gave up entirely and let her take a few turns down the slide. I dove into the crusty and smoky ribs that featured a heavy rub and plenty of good smoke. The meat was tender and moist, and was easily the best meat option. The Southern Pride smokers here didn't get much smoke on the brisket which tasted of little more than simple roast beef. The moist slices were still pleasing with that rub and even better with a bit of the house sauce.

Sausage links were also light on the smoke, but had a great black pepper bite. The casings snapped nicely, and the flavor was great if unfamiliar. Rubbery skin was quickly discarded from the chicken leg quarter to get right to the moist chunks of smoky meat. Side options are varied, and all are very well done including the fried-to-order okra and the ultra creamy shells and cheese. Skip the banana pudding which features the acidic taste of fake banana flavoring. Real Texas banana pudding should have three things - sliced bananas, Nilla wafers and vanilla pudding. For a oplace that gets so many other things right, they need to get this down.

Rating ***
Papa Joe's Backyard BBQ on Urbanspoon

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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.