There's a serious new player on the Dallas BBQ scene, as Ferris Wheelers Backyard & BBQ opened on Monday in the Design District within walking distance the Hilton Anatole. It's a great location with ample parking, features a spacious dining room and awesome backyard party area. Did we mention the 50-foot ferris wheel out back? More about the later.
Most importantly, the meats were spot on as they opened their doors for the first time. We've been to joints that take months and months to dial in their pits, but this was not the case today at Ferris Wheelers. We congratulated pit master Doug Pickering as he made the rounds in the dining room, a little weary after a 3 a.m. start on opening day, but the hard work has obviously paid off.
We met Doug in 2013 when he was at Work Bar & Grill in Deep Ellum, which ended up closing. It was certainly not due to his BBQ skills, the meats were among the best on the Dallas scene at the time, along with other then somewhat newbies Pecan Lodge and Lockhart Smokehouse.
Posse pit master Marshall Cooper and I were the fifth set of customers through the door at 11 a.m. We shared an order of half a pound each of fatty brisket, turkey and pork ribs, along with two sides of green beans. Service was fast with two registers taking orders and a big crew working back in the kitchen. Once you order they give you a number and food is brought to your table.
The meats were served on steel trays with butcher paper and pickles on the side. The food looked great at first glance and we weren't disappointed as we dug in. The turkey was moist and smokey, with a great rub. The brisket was moist and well-cooked, with a light smoke as to not overpower the meat. The ribs were cooked perfectly and would even pass Grant Pinkerton's fork test, with the meat forking perfectly off the bone for a mix of flavors in one bite.
I always like to have Marshall along when we visit a new joint, he's a tough and honest critic. After a few minutes he was praising our lunch, saying Ferris Wheelers could be in the top two or three places in Dallas. That's lofty praise from a longtime Big D BBQ veteran.
Now for the fun part. Ferris Wheelers has a 7,000-square-foot backyard patio, with several bar areas, a large stage, dozens of picnic tables, a game area and outdoor restrooms. Outdoor diners don't need to order inside, they use a portable ordering system and are served by waiters, thus avoiding waiting in a line.
A highlight for many will be the 50-foot ferris wheel that towers over the backyard area. It's undergoing full restoration and they'll let everyone know via social media when it's ready for action.
Given the mix of great food and location, we expect big things from Ferris Wheelers. Located next to the popular Rodeo Goat and backing up on the Trinity Strand Trail, it's in one of the hottest areas in Dallas. The backyard patio is open until the party ends, so get ready for some good time BBQ in the Dallas Design District.
Ferris Wheelers Backyard & BBQ, 1950 Market Center Blvd., Dallas, (214) 741-4141. Kitchen open 7 days a week 11 am-10pm, Backyard open Mon-Fri 4 pm-until the party ends, Sat-Sun 11 am-until the party ends.