I just bought a copy of the Barbecue Lover’s Guide to Austin, by Gloria Corral.

Daniel Vaughn, the BBQ Snob, reviewed it a couple weeks ago and he’s right. The 174-page paperback is skinny on critical guidance.
But if you live in Dallas, like some of us in the Posse, it’s also evidence of our lack of barbecue choices.

 

Corral has write-ups on nearly 60 places within the city of Austin. Subtract the chains (anything with more than one outlet, which knocks out County Line, Bill Miller, Cartwright’s and PoK-e-Jo’s, among others) and there are still about 35 joints, from Franklin to Old School BBQ’s yellow bus. Most of them look like places we’d love to visit. And Corral is already working on a second edition so there could be more next time.

I asked Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper how many non-chain barbecue places there were in the city of Dallas. He checked his D Magazine iPhone restaurant app — D Recommends — and came up with fewer than 10.
That can’t be all of them, can it? Cooper said.
Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins checked Vaughn’s more definitive listings on the Full Custom Gospel BBQ site and came up with three dozen or so in Dallas, or roughly the same number as Austin, still an anemic number considering the difference in the sizes of the cities.
“Daniel gave a bunch of them only one or two stars,” Wilkins reported, wondering if a joint should be counted if it is totally bad. We’ll save that argument for another day.
We’ve debated in the past why Dallas doesn’t have more genuine joints. Some of our reasoning: The chains smother the little guy. Tough city regulations. Lack of a food trailer culture (though, that may be about to change). Dallas diners don’t know the difference.
And to be fair, there have been some encouraging signs in the past year or so with the opening of several new places, like the Pecan Lodge, Lockhart Smokehouse and Luckie’s.
But shouldn’t the city of Dallas have more?

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Anonymous

7 years ago

Sometimes the mere hint of better than average BBQ involves uncomfortable dining rules. Example Lockhart on Bishop doesn't have plates or silverware or sauce or pepper. I have heard numerous negative comments and some people will not eat there. Meshack's is a mere hole in the wall with no dining area and does not take credit cards. Pecan Lodge is in a Farmer's Market barn.

BBQ Snob

7 years ago

What might be interesting is to see how many chain locations per capita exist in both Dallas and Austin.

Gary Jacobson

7 years ago

Good points anonymous. Example: If you wanted to take friends to a good BBQ place in Dallas and have a few beers at the same time, where would you go? The options are extremely limited.

Gary Jacobson

7 years ago

Daniel, good idea. Are you going to do it first? Or, us?

J. Bergus

7 years ago

Hey Anonymous & Anyone Else,
At Lockhart Smokehouse, we have spoons, knives, and salt/pepper rub mix on the tables. Anyone is welcome to bring forks or sauce or plates if they can't live without them. Plus, we have lots of cold beer.




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