Bartley's BBQ is located in a strip mall on E. Northwest Hwy. in Grapevine. (Photo©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)

Friday brought the Texas BBQ Posse to Grapevine to eat at Bartley’s BBQ, a joint that none of us had heard of before it made the 2013 Texas Monthly Top 50 list. After one visit, we’re wondering how they made the list.

It was crowded and the line remained a steady 15-20 during the lunch hour. Service is cafeteria line-style with self-serve sides that were mostly very good.

As for the meat, we sampled the brisket, pork loin, pork ribs, turkey, hot links and the smoked bologna. The meat was dry – all of it.

Honestly, if that meat was cooked for the lunch service today, the staff at Bartley’s needs to figure out a new way to store the meat before serving.

I watched the trays of food walking by our table for more than an hour and I didn’t see a moist piece of brisket the entire time.

We pulled in at 11:30am, which should be the perfect time to get the good stuff. Most of us were convinced we were being served yesterday’s brisket.

It may be due to the small display case of meats at the beginning of the serving line that was drying things out, but the brisket was pulled from a warmer. It looked to be cooked enough, but it lacked moisture and flavor, even in the crust, which had turned to jerky.

Three-meat platter of brisket, ribs and sausage. (Photo©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)

The pork loin was well past done and there wasn’t much in the way of fat or crust on the outside. The turkey did have a decent rub and flavor, but again, it was dry.

The ribs were decent, but didn’t have any smoke flavor at all. The gentleman on the cutting board said they smoked with hickory. It was undetectable.

The sausage was Eckrich (we asked) and that’s all we need to say about that.

Any or all of these meats could have been much better if we’d had them closer to the time they actually came off the smoker, or if Bartley’s can learn how to keep meat moist before serving. I suggest they have a conversation with Aaron Franklin.

We see the Yelp reviews touting the greatness of the meats here, and we had high hopes, but on this visit, we didn't see it at all.

The highlight for us was the pecan cobbler, provided by the bakery next door, which is connected to Bartley’s through a doorway in the dining room. The bakery also does the rolls, which were great.

Tomorrow we are visiting Longoria’s and Cousins in Fort Worth as we conclude our DFW 7 BBQ Tour, based on the 7 area BBQ joints on the Texas Monthly Top 50 list.

A steady Friday lunch crowd filled the tables at Bartley's. (Photo©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)

DFW Top 7 BBQ Tour

Monday 6/3
11:30am: Hutchins BBQ, 1301 N Tennessee St, McKinney, 972-548-2629. Open Sun-Thurs 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-9:30pm.
Tuesday 6/4
11:30am: Meshack's Bar-B-Que Shack, 240 E. Ave. B, Garland, 214-227-4748. Open Tues-Sat 10:30am-until the meat runs out.
Wednesday 6/5
11:30am: Lockhart Smokehouse, 400 W. Davis, Dallas, 214-944-5521. Open every day from 11am til they're done.
Thursday 6/6
11:30am: Pecan Lodge, 1010 South Pearl Expressway, Farmer's Market Shed #2, 214-748-8900. Open: Wed-Sun 11am-til the meat runs out.
Friday 6/7
11:30am: Bartley's BBQ, 413 E. Northwest Hwy, Grapevine, 817-481-3212. Open Tue-Thur 10:30am-8pm,
Fri -Sat 10:30am-9pm.
Saturday 6/8
11:00am: Longoria’s BBQ, 100 Christopher, Everman. Open Mon-Fri 10:30am-6pm, Sat 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

1:00pm: Cousin's Barbecue, 6262 McCart Ave, Fort Worth, 817-346-2511. Open Mon-Sat 11am-9pm, Sun 11am-3pm.

Customers go through the serving line at Bartley's BBQ. (Photo©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)


Don O.

10 years ago

Funny, I had passed by this joint before but had never stopped based on The Snob's lackluster review. Then it goes and hits the top 50. Guess they were there on a good day.


10 years ago

How this place made it, and the Taylor Cafe did not make the TMBBQ Top 50 is ridiculous!

Walter White

10 years ago

Between Bartley's and Whup's in Marlin making the list and Off the Bone in Forest Hill not making in, it makes it pretty obvious that Vaughn the BBQ editor was not the final say on the Top 50.

Bartley's shouldn't have made the list just for serving Eckrich sausage. I know TM thinks of sausage as very secondary but no Top-50 BBQ joint should serve Eckrich or Hillshire Farms.


10 years ago

Its all in the belly of the beholder...Don't live in Grapevine any more, but Bartleys has always been the go to place for me...He even moved his smoker when the city kicked him off of Main Street years ago..

John Brotherton

10 years ago

We had a similar experience at this place and the above mentioned Whup's. Both were absolutely terrible. SAD that they made the list.

Austin Top 5 plus Snow's

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