Everything's bigger in Texas, and that includes the brisket. From the moment you touch down at DFW airport, you're overwhelmed with options, from peppery beef rib to spicy sausage. It's a tough call to make when the barbecue is this good, so to help you decide, here's a roundup of the smokiest, savoriest spots in town.
Cattleack isn't here to play; it's here to smoke the competition. This no-frills spot embraces an authentic Texan vibe, from the meat to the kitschy decor — lassos and bull horns included. Grab a spot at one of the wooden benches (if you can find one), order the beef short rib or the cracked black peppercorn brisket and bless Texas for its incomparable barbecue.
13628 Gamma Rd., cattleackbbq.com
The Slow Bone
Lunch trays are in vogue at the Dallas Design District's lunch-only spot, the Slow Bone. There's a cafeteria-like atmosphere as you push your tray down the line, except other cafeterias probably don't serve prime brisket by the pound or sweet potato praline. It's also vegetarian-friendly here, offering more than a dozen freshly made hot and cold sides, most of which are meat-free.
2234 Irving Blvd., slowbone.com
Come here with an open mind and an empty stomach. This joint sells a medley of meats, and you're not restricted to half-pounds or pounds. You're free to order — and sample — whatever you want. Cutlery isn't necessary here except for the carver behind the counter who slices the spareribs and brisket. If you're up for barbecue roulette, try the rotating daily specials. You can't go wrong with anything at Lockhart.
Various locations, lockhartsmokehouse.com
Generations-old recipes are at the heart of Pecan Lodge, which explains why the line is usually out the door. Meat is the mastery here, and sides like the mac 'n' cheese and collard greens speak for themselves. The meat is cooked low and slow onsite in smokers that are watched all day to guarantee perfection. Grab a beer and claim a spot in line — you'll be happy you waited.
2702 Main St., pecanlodge.com
18th & Vine
This spot offers full table service, but don't be fooled by the upscale style. The menu, curated by pitmaster Matt Dallman, boasts traditional options alongside more creative, spruced-up dishes. Expect rich flavors — maple, hickory, oak — burnt ends and tender centers, spiciness, sweetness and smokiness. Things can get messy at this Kansas City-inspired spot, but 18th & Vine keeps it classy with a rarity on the barbecue scene: an extensive wine list.
4100 Maple Ave., 18thandvinebbq.com