Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mac's Bar-B-Que

DALLAS: Mac's Bar-B-Que
3933 Main St

Dallas, TX 75226

Open M-F 10:45-2:15

Update: Mac's has become a regular lunch stop for me, and I made my way in again last week. I realized I had never gotten a proper tour of the pits, so Billy took me to the back to see that hickory fire in action.

The large smoker is built into the wall. There is one large fire pit on the lower right, and four large chambers to hold the bevy of meats. He's smoking briskets on a foil tray these days because it's so hard to find a supplier offering a good fat cap on the briskets. Capturing some of the run-off fat is needed to keep the briskets moist.

Another necessity is some serious security on the back door. A pipe, some welded steel and a pad lock or two keep the burglars out.

I also realized that I had never written about my usual order. This is for those of you that don't think that I like barbecue sauce. It is one of my favorite condiments, and I often enjoy it with smoked meat. It's just that I don't use it to judge the quality of the meat in my reviews. Mac's has a great sauce that is robust and smoky without too much sweetness. I love it poured over top a sandwich piled high with chopped beef and slices of hot link. All of this is wrapped in a grilled white bun, and I surround myself in napkins before commencing. The whole is certainly more than the sum of its parts.

Rating ***

2009: I headed over to Mac's with a friend last week. We chatted it up with Billy before ordering, and determined that he smokes with 100% hickory wood. I certainly could taste it on my two meat platter of sliced brisket and ribs. Alongside came some beans and fries.

The beans at Mac's are smoky, earthy and flavorful. Each bite packs a BBQ laced punch to the tastebuds, and their juice is great for dipping the crispy fries into. These are fries made from fresh cut potatoes and fried in hot soybean oil. This combination of sides are one of the finest in Dallas 'cue joints.

Oh yeah, there's meat too. Smoky moist brisket slices are fork cutting tender. Bites without crust could stand to be a bit smokier, but the overall flavor is beyond roast beef. The St. Louis style ribs have a slightly sweet rub on them with good smokiness as well. The meat is tug from the bone tender with well rendered fat throughout. Put it all together, and Mac's is good eating for sure.

2008: Mac's has been a favorite of mine for years. It's a two-person operation with Mac's son running the pit and serving up the 'cue while mom runs the register. The service is slow but charming. The building is small and located on a stretch of street that most wouldn't give a second look at, but the joint had character. This is just the conundrum that this harsh, single-minded judging causes...I have to take a place that I love for so many reasons, and ignore everything I like about it so I can sample the meat as impartially as possible. Here, the ribs were good. They had great tenderness and texture, but could have had more flavor and smoke. The brisket was monochromatic with no crust or smoke ring. It would pass for good tender roast beef, but nothing more. With all that said, I'll still return here before I make a return trip to most other joints in Dallas.

Mac's Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon


roland said...

yum yum yum --- gonna have to trek there now --- love the pits

Chris Wilkins said...

That's a great looking lunch sandwich Daniel, they should call it the BBQ Snob Special!

jim mclennan said...

no fatcap,i actually find that very hard to believe, i will loan him some off these fat ibp briskets, how many pounds does he need

Anonymous said...

Cleaning those pits is a b*tch. Enjoy Mac's while it lasts; I think he (and his wife) are looking to retire. And nobody is left to take over this location. It will be a very sad day in East Dallas.

RON said...

I discovered Billy Mac's on a trip to Dallas From Chicago.

The local friends I was visiting took me to a few local NAME places but it was Billy's BBQ that I remember as being the BEST.

Outstanding !!! I can't wait to return.!!!

Rusty Rhone said...

I think Macs has the brisket in North Texas. Been eating there for over 20 years!


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.