Staying in Fort Worth for the epic Notre Dame vs Oklahoma tilt, I needed my routine fix of proper Texas barbecue. Traditionally this entailed an exhausting three hour (one way) jaunt down to Austin, such are the levels of my depravity. Since bursting onto the Dallas BBQ scene three years ago, however, Pecan Lodge has been dishing out epic smoked meats that rival anything Central Texas has to offer. Initially bestowed with an elusive 5 star rating on Full Custom Gospel BBQ, the frenzy around the tiny storefront in the Dallas Farmers Market exploded following a visit from Guy Fieri on the Food Network hit Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. Waiting times for a few morsels of their BBQ have swelled proportionally. Stretching up to 2 hours during peak times, my father, friend Bryce and I brave the lines for a Friday afternoon lunch with eager appetites.
After exchanging a few tweets, the man himself, the BBQ Snob of Full Custom Gospel BBQ fame, agrees to join us for lunch, greeting our crew at one of the rickety metal tables. I had lured him from his brisket fortress of solitude with the promise of a massive Pecan Lodge beef rib, and irresistible offering for anyone, much less a BBQ fanatic. The ruse works, he surveys our formidable tray discerningly, an epic offering of brisket, pork ribs, sausage, and beef ribs. An eyebrow noticeably rises above his rimless glasses, a most subtle gesture of praise. He approves of the hefty meat pile, and settles into a chair.
Though he refers to himself as the BBQ “Snob”, in person Daniel is anything but. The conversation is amicable, and despite the notoriety that he has garnered over the past couple of years while personally surveying over 500 different BBQ joints, he remains notably humble and approachable. From even a few minutes of conversation, it’s clear he is far more than a critic. BBQ is his passion. He lives it. To boot, his knowledge on the subject matter is remarkable. Beyond chatting about a few of our favorite joints, he drops terms like “phenols” and “nitrogen dioxide”, expounding on the science of great barbecue down to the molecular level. He even offers a few tips for the group, as we discuss the particulars of our amateur BBQ attempts on Big Green Egg smokers. I learn more about barbecue in fifteen minutes with Daniel, than most people would in a year. It even turns out he’ll be attending the same Oklahoma vs Notre Dame fiasco tomorrow too, though the table collectively grumbles when it’s revealed he’ll be garbed in crimson and cream.
As his belt busting tales of Texas BBQ road trips can attest, the man can eat. Like an epic clash of titans we exchange blows, each of us grabbing fistfuls of smoked goodness, waiting for the other to show even the slightest flinch of appetite. Neither does. After fifteen minutes our pristine tray of red ribboned beef is ransacked. Picked over like a pack of wild hyenas, the flimsy plastic tray itself is lucky to survive unscathed, and sits disheveled, heaped with stacks of bones and greasy butcher paper. It’s complete carnage.
If you’re wondering, the food at Pecan Lodge is, quite simply, remarkable.
I’ll spare the hyperbole. This is best BBQ in Dallas. Period. And second place isn’t even close. It rivals anything to be found in Central Texas.
The brisket is silky, pull apart tender, enveloped in a jet black bark and laced with robust notes of mesquite smoke.
*Smoking over mesquite is one area Pecan Lodge differentiates itself, as most traditional Texas BBQ joints espouse post oak
**On even more elusive days, Pecan Lodge features smoked Waygu (American Kobe) beef brisket, which, although expensive at $25lb, might be the single greatest thing you could ever put in your mouth.
Beef ribs are massive, quivering mountains of velvet beef. Perfectly broken down until tender, a thick red smoke ring belies their time and attention in the smoker. While these aren’t an everyday item from what I understand, if they have them – buy them.
A bright red sausage features a coarse grind with a good snap and peppery building heat. Perfectly smoked to juicy perfection, it’s also house made, a refreshing departure from the Sysco crap that pervades so many menus.
The pork ribs, well smoked and lightly sauce glazed, are probably the fourth best thing on the menu. Which is saying something, because they would be the best thing on the menu anywhere else in the DFW Metroplex.
Even the sides here are good, not that anyone should care. But still, the attention to detail is nice.
If you find yourself in the DFW Metroplex in the near future, your lunch time decision just became an easy one: Pecan Lodge. The food is second to none, and you might just get to break brisket with a BBQ legend…or snob….
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