You could say Texas Barbecue is having a moment, but that moment would had to have stretched from 1932 to the present. Texas barbecue is a true staple, and the Dallas area is as big a player as ever in that milieu of "Howdy" culture. Use this list to get yourself acquainted with some of the best barbecue joints in our area, where the meat does the heavy lifting on flavor. Here are the best BBQ spots in Dallas-Fort Worth you need to add to your love list.
1. Terry Black's
Fourth-generation pitmaster Mark Black hails from the Royal Family of Texas BBQ and brought Terry Black's to Dallas in 2019, to great acclaim. The first thing customers see when they step in are the five 1,000-gallon smokers, a showstopper that lets them know, yea, you're in the right place. It also means Blacks is much less likely than a smaller joint to run out of your favorite meats before the end of the day (though, as with all great barbecue joints, it's not impossible). The spacious dining room gives way to two levels of patio seating outside, and guests are also encouraged to tour the pits and get a sneak peek at the work that goes into creating some of Texas' finest smoked meats.
Believe in the brisket at Oak'd, located in Dallas' Old Time Shopping Center, where the vanilla-tinged flavors of Texas Post Oak smoke combine with a peppery bark to bring out some truly exquisite wagyu brisket. Also give the Sandwich and Some Lovin' a go — it's named after famed local radio host Kelly Raspberry's podcast (because Kelly and her husband are investors in the restaurant) and features pulled pork, house-cured bacon and Oak'd housemade sausage, piled high with coleslaw on a brioche bun. And if you come for the meat, stay for some of the best handmade desserts going in the Texas barbecue scene today. The Key Lime Pie and the two-layer chocolate caramel cake are two of our faves!
3. Hutchins BBQ
The original location in McKinney may be where all the Texas barbecue lore lay, but Hutchins' second location in Frisco ain't nothin' to sneeze at neither, folks. Hutchins is as close to a sure shot on Texas Monthly's annual list of The Top 50 Texas BBQ Joints as the Metroplex has, and it's easy to see why! Juicy, flavorful burnt ends and some of the best chicken and sausage in the state give way to some truly show-stealing side dishes like garlicky mashed potatoes, bacon mac and cheese and pinto beans that eat like a fine brisket soup.
4. CattleAck BBQ
Cattleack is the Cadillac of barbecue in North Texas. It's another perennial contender for top billing on the annual Texas Monthly list, and finished 6th in the entire state on the most recent edition (2021). So if you know, you KNOW how great this place in Farmers Branch is. More recently, D Magazine named pitmaster Todd David's labor of love the "Best Barbecue in Dallas." The only thing about Cattleack that keeps it in kind of the "best kept secret" category are the hours of operation. They're only open on Thursdays, Fridays, and they recently added service on the first Saturday of every month, according to their website. They've got truly great limited release specialty menu items from time to time, including a divine smoked pastrami, so watch their Facebook page for updates on those. BYOB is go for launch at Cattleack, so load up your cooler, get in line and prepare yourself for the best brisket and sausage that ever hit your lips.
5. Pecan Lodge
Pecan Lodge came to Deep Ellum in 2014 and has been a crowd-pleaser ever since. Come hungry, but patient, as the line still sometimes stretches out the door at peak BBQ-gettin' hours. We're so willing to wait for the barbecue here because every meal tastes like it was home cooked just for you, despite the hundreds of others who pass through those hallowed Deep Ellum doors on the daily. Diane and Justin Fourton, the owners, are often spotted sweating away alongside their staff, making sure things are running as smoothly as possible. If you happen to go on an occasion when the HUMONGOUS beef ribs are available, it is a must-order.
Pitmasters Tim McLaughlin and Damian Avila are constantly pushing the barbecue envelope at Crossbuck in Farmer's Branch. Don't get caught off guard by the melding of tried-and-true barbecue smoking with classical French and Asian techniques. You're still in for VERY good meat here, along with an array of other specials like smoked salmon and smoked prime rib. Their country-chic space features earthy colors and a clean industrial style with a spaciaous dine-in area as well as a picnic-table patio.
7. Slow bone
Slow Bone is another one of those amazing barbecue stand-bys, as it opened in 2013 on its West Dallas perch, that features another golden delicacy on the menu as well. Yes, this is a barbecue list, but Slow Bone also offers some of the absolute BEST fried chicken we've found in town. The combination hickory and oak smoke flavor comes piping through in the wonderful house-made sausage, and the turkey is also some of the best in town. Slow Bone was also honored with a spot on Texas Monthly's latest 50-Best List, so "When can you get here?" is really the only question at this point.
8. Ferris Wheeler's
Ferris Wheeler's is a true Design District landmark, whose relatively small building space belies the MASSIVE patio that awaits guests in the back. Vintage metal signs and all manner of Texas memorabilia adorn the walls inside, and it definitely gives off the feel of an old-school barbecue joint. Of course, the brisket is a prime player on the menu here, but don't leave without trying a couple of the less-heralded proteins, like the honey-smoked turkey or the Carolina-style pulled pork.
9. Heim Barbecue
The Heim Empire's growth trajectory has sprawled from inception in a Fort Worth foodtruck to three amazing locations, including one in Dallas on Mockingbird. It is time to thank the meat-gods for granting Dallas easy access to the delicacy that mad-scientist pitmaster Travis Heim perfected first, the Bacon Burnt Ends. Cubed pork belly is cured in a heavenly brown-sugar nectar-glaze before being flash-smoked and served piping hot to you. Accept no substitute, folks.
Goldee's is the latest and greatest Fort Worth barbecue success story, as the relative newcomers on the scene up and won a big blue ribbon, First among all 50 of Texas Monthly's 50 Best Barbecue Joints in Texas on the 2021 list. It's hard to imagine how a group of young pitmasters could open up shop in a nondescript location in southeast Fort Worth in 2020 and become THE barbecue destination throughout the state just a year later, but they did it. Goldee's really is, as Texas Monthly called it, as "close to perfection" as it gets around here. They trust their meat to make a statement instead of an arsenal of seasonings, and they're willing to take chances, too. Try the Laotian sausage, jam it into a bit of sticky rice and pour on the spicy-sour jeow som sauce and behold the very horizon of possibility for the future of Texas barbecue.
11. Marty B's
The brisket and the steaks are the stars of the show at Marty B's in Bartonville, just south of Denton. The magnificent and massive space is also an impressive live music venue. Marty B's pledges to bring guests the complete Texas Hill Country experience just a few hours north, including their barbecue menu, yes, but also featuring great all-natural steaks and Tex-Mex options, along with a huge craft beer selection, live music, fire pits, s'mores and a wonderful rooftop bar!
More steakhouse than a true barbecue joint, 1845 in Flower Mound is all-Texas, baby. The name of the restaurant harkens back to the year Texas gained U.S. statehood. Fresh-cut filets and ribeyes from the revered 44 Farms stand side-by-side on the menu with more innovative selections like the Compart pork belly, fried Lockhart quail, poblano quail and, yes, even calf fries. If you don't know what those are, they're something of a Texas-underbelly rite of passage. Carefully curated surprises await on this truly Texan menu.
13. Lockhart SMOKEHOUSE
The fine folks that run the venerated Kreutz Market in Lockhart spread their barbecue empire northward to the Dallas area more than 10 years ago, and Dallas barbecue has been better for it ever since. Lockhart Smokehouse now has locations in Plano, Bishop Arts and at Texas Live in Arlington, meaning there are now three Metroplex locations where guests can sample (or gorge on) some of the finest sausage the state has to offer. The mouth-watering brisket, sausage and ribs are smoked over Texas Post Oak, and updated versions of family-favorite sides round out the menu.
14. ZAVALA's BARBECUE
This is another relative newcomer to the DFW barbecue scene that now enjoys statewide acclaim and long lines before opening over in Grand Prairie. Pitmaster Joe Zavala, a GP native, does an excellent job of combining traditional Texas barbecue flavors with Mexican influence, and his restaurant was recognized as one of the Dallas Observer's Top 100 Restaurants in both 2020 and 2021. Texas Monthly named Zavala's to their 50-Best list in 2021 and called their brisket "flawless." High praise, indeed. But the gift from Zavala's that truly keeps on giving is the fact that meat-smokers the state over can buy Zavala's dry rubs at their local big-box stores as well!
15. Smoky Rose
Some of East Dallas' best 'cue is smoked low and slow at the Smoky Rose. And as fortuitous coincidences go, this place also features one of the best patios and some of the best cocktails you'll find at a barbecue restaurant, period. The setting is as brilliant here as the meat is tender, with dining rooms clad in brick and Texas limestone, as well as the chandeliers hanging from the trees outside and the beautiful front garden. This is the champagne of local barbecue joints, and founder David Cash shouldn't mind that description one bit.
16. HURTADO BARBECUE
Hurtado put Arlington on the Texas barbecue map, y'all. They were listed as one of the "best of the rest" (a designation that basically just means they were outside the top-10) on the most recent Texas Monthly 50-best list, and for great reason. This is one of the places at the forefront of innovation in the Texas barbecue scene, mixing the greatness of traditional Central Texas barbecue flavors with some amazing flavors from South of the Border. Try their birria tacos and be sure to pair them with their elote, the best side on Hurtado's ever-expanding menu. They also do a the best BBQ brisket burger in town — they call it the Big Mike. Their El Jefe combo platter ($40) is one of the best values in town as well and includes a third of a pound each of prime brisket, pork spare ribs, sausage, pork belly burnt ends, pulled pork, turkey breast and two sides of your choice. They also recently opened a second location in Little Elm, so the word is out on Hurtado in all corners of the Metroplex!