In our never ending quest to find the best BBQ joints in Texas, Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper and I recently headed west to Fort Worth to check out a couple of places we hadn’t been yet. Both joints, Uncle Willie’s BBQ and Mama E’s Bar-B-Q & Homestyle Cooking, are on the east side of town on Rosedale Ave., located about ten minutes apart.
The Posse went on a Fort Worth BBQ tour in spring 2010, but we were trying to find a new stop or two beyond our two favorites from that tour. After that trip, Off the Bone in Forest Hills and Longoria’s BBQ in Everman have become a perennial Posse favorites, the kind of places we send out-of-towners who want to try some really good Texas BBQ on the west side of the Metroplex.
|A group of MedStar paramedics enjoy lunch at Mama E’s BBQ.|
Our plan was to order sliced brisket and pork ribs at each place, the basic staples of judgement for any good Texas BBQ joint. We were first to arrive as Uncle Willie’s opened for weekday lunch at 11 a.m. It’s located at the southwest corner of Rosedale St. and Miller Ave., in a somewhat desolate part of east Fort Worth. I had high hopes for this joint after a stellar 4-star review by BBQ Snob Daniel Vaughn.
Seeing the empty parking lot, I jumped out to get a good, clean photo of the building before the front was blocked by cars. Within a minute the guys working inside poked their heads outside, curiously asking me what I was up to. Just like to take photos of where I eat, I responded. We were hoping to meet owner Willie Brown, brother of Off the Bone owner Eddie Brown, but he unfortunately wasn’t around that day.
|Wood rack in front of Uncle Willie’s BBQ.|
|Marshall Cooper tries the pork rib at Uncle Willie’s.|
It took 15 minutes or so to get our order as the brisket “wasn’t quite ready yet.” I’ve heard that now several times over the past couple of years and it usually means you’re going to get some chewy brisket that needs to be cooked another hour. That certainly was the case here. On the other hand, the ribs were meaty and tremendous. They were cooked perfectly with a nice rub and a kiss of smoke, definitely setting us up for a return visit, where hopefully we can meet Willie Brown and get a pit tour for Marshall.
|Americana on the walls at Uncle Willie’s BBQ.|
|Our lunch of sliced brisket and pork ribs at Uncle Willie’s BBQ.|
We headed east on Rosedale St. for our next stop at Mama E’s Bar-B-Q & Homestyle Cooking, which is located just southeast of the intersection with I-35 West. I’m always a sucker for any restaurant occupying an original 60’s style KFC building, and this was no exception.
Our reception was a little more friendly than Uncle Willie’s as Tamila Edmond greeted us with a smile at the register. There’s a huge dry-erase white board just to the left of the counter with dozens of dining choices, both BBQ and soul food. We ordered our standard sliced brisket and ribs, with white bread and sauce on the side. I’m pretty sure we missed some great sides and other offerings, as detailed in this recent dfw.com review of Mama E’s.
|Decisions, decisions at the menu board at Mama E’s BBQ.|
|Our sliced brisket and rib lunch at Mama E’s.|
Marshall and I got our order and dug in. The meats were average, especially when compared to Uncle Willie’s. The brisket had a roast beefy quality, dry and overcooked by most standards. It was probably better chopped and sauced and served on a bun. The ribs were cooked well, but short on rub with little or no smoke.
Our conclusion is that Mama E’s in probably not a place for Texas BBQ hardcores looking for the best joints in the state. Tamila and her mom Ernestine, aka Mama E, could not have been more gracious and nice to us during our visit. However, it’s a friendly family restaurant, serving good food with a loyal following. Also known as the ingredients of a successful restaurant.
|Ernestine “Mama” Edmond and her youngest daughter Tamila work the counter and the kitchen.|
- Mama E’s Bar-B-Q & Homestyle Cooking, 818 E. Rosedale, Fort Worth, 817-877-3322. Open Sun-Mon 11 am-5:30 pm, Tues-Thur 11 am-7 pm, Fri-Sat 11 am-9 pm.
- Uncle Willie’s BBQ, 1506 Miller Ave., Fort Worth, 866-930-8156. Open Tues-Sat 11 am-7 pm.
Photos ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse