Dallas ‘Cues — Good as the Hype?

9-10 January 2016

After a rather disastrous trip to LA I decided to take an extra day in Dallas en route home. Was actually cheaper to break the flight up, and I thought why not to stop for a little. So after all the food the last few weeks I decided to make this stop one devoted to BBQ. Why not, right?

I did some research the day before and found three places to check out — three places that are topping all the BBQ “charts” in the DFW area. This is gonna challenge my stomach, but it’ll be fun at least…

After an uncomfortable flight from LA, I went straight to the much-hyped Pecan Lodge to grab some food. It was Saturday night, and I expected a long line…and it certainly was not fast. Waited for over half an hour (probably quick for a normal Saturday night as it was below freezing outside) and I got my order and headed to my hotel. I was worn out… I opened the package and the item I was really waiting for…

PL-beef rib

Oh, this place is famous for its beef ribs. I got the last one apparently… It was smoked well and I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t that special. It’s as good as any other beef rib I have around the country. I’m not a sauce man so I don’t touch it; the meat was nice enough. The sides were mixed, as the mac-and-cheese was good but the greens were in some horrific base that made it tough to eat. I also got some “fried ribs” which were the special of the day…

PL-fried ribs

Oh this was a mistake. This was disgusting. The breading was just disgusting. I ended up just stripping it of the horrible breading and ate the ribs. Not bad, but it dried up in this ill-conceived idea.

Well, so many people hype this place, I think it’s a bit overhyped to be honest. Nothing special. The beef ribs were good, but I’ve had beef ribs as good many other places. Definitely not worth the wait and the high prices and listening to hipster convo while biting your lip in line… Hype wins again…

The next day I had a very busy morning running around, going way out of town before getting back late lunchtime. I stopped off at another well-regarded place that’s more old-school (but is newer) called The Slow Bone, which was conveniently near my hotel. I grabbed my order and headed back to the hotel. I opened up the tray happily…mmm… First was some juicy ribs…

SB-ribs

These were excellent, the smoke deep and the flavours strong. No sauce needed of course. Very flavourful. Far better than last night. Then the fatty brisket…

sb-brisket3-e1452788203913

These were also excellent, very deep smoke and tender. Some of the best brisket I’ve had in many years. Now this is how to do BBQ right! Far better than last night in every way!

Later that evening I went to get more food. I had a long day tomorrow, as I had to wake up for a conference call at 5am and my flight isn’t until 6pm, so… I headed to what most people say is the best BBQ in the Dallas area, Lockhart Smokehouse.

I got there on a cold Sunday night and there wasn’t a long line at all, which surprised me. I was going to go with the usual stuff but they had a prime rib special, so I took it. It was the last piece… I got some sides and headed back to my hotel. The prime rib, wow…

LS-prime rib

It was very good, but not as good as I hoped. Maybe I should have gone with some ribs here instead. But this was nice, the flavours deep and strong. but this being the final piece was a bit of a mess on the side and may have dried out over all that time sitting in the smoker on its own. Oh well. I also took the special jalapeño mac-and-cheese…

LS-jalapeño mac & cheese

This was fantastic, lovely flavours. But I suspect this may have been the item that made me sick as a dog all night… I barely got any sleep but that meant I didn’t need a wake-up for the conference call. Ugh…

Overall, of the 3 — often listed as the 3 best BBQ places in the Dallas area — I have to say Slow Bone was the best. Pecan Lodge is overrated, and I ordered badly at Lockhart Smokehouse. The latter I would happy go back again (even if it was the one that did my stomach in), but Pecan Lodge I’ll pass. Let the hipsters have it.

But in any case, I had a stupid long day coming up, a restless stomach, and no sleep. Oh, I can’t wait to get home…this trip needs to end, now…

Pecan Lodge
2702 Main Street

The Slow Bone
2234 Irving Boulevard

Lockhart Smokehouse
400 West Davis Street
Dallas, Texas

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