Pecan Lodge

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The state of Dallas BBQ 2017, a Posse debate

The Dallas-area barbecue scene has changed dramatically over the past six years. (Photo ©Michael Ainsworth/Texas BBQ Posse) A few years back, six to be exact, we wrote a “grim indictment” of the lack barbecue choices in Dallas. Pecan Lodge and Lockhart Smokehouse had recently opened, but, we concluded, there was a dearth of joints, especially for a city the size of Big D. Not to mention for the fourth largest metro area in the nation with more than seven million people located in the heart of barbecue country. Why? Were the chains smothering the independents? Tough city regulations? Lack of…
 - 10/17/2017
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Have the young guns of Texas BBQ won the revolution?

Left to right: Esaul Ramos & Joe Melig of 2M Smokehouse, Leonard Botello of Truth Barbeque and Grant Pinkerton of Pinkerton’s BBQ. (Photos ©Michael Ainsworth & Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Your response to the above question probably depends upon personal taste. Evolving personal taste. At first glance, the answer appears to be a loud YES! The young guns of Texas BBQ have, indeed, taken over from the traditional joints. Look no further than the makeup of Texas Monthly’s recent Top 10 places in the state. Seven of them have either started or reopened operations since 2011, five since 2013. Only…
 - 07/25/2017
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Why do we have nicknames for BBQ pits?

Owner & pitmaster Grant Pinkerton poses with his matching Klose pits “Waylon” & “Willie” at Pinkerton’s BBQ. We met “Waylon” and “Willie” recently at Pinkerton’s Barbecue in Houston. “You know how to tell the difference?” Grant Pinkerton asked, setting up a punchline about his two big Klose pits. “Willie is always smoking,” Pinkerton said. Why do we have nicknames for BBQ pits and other machines we love? A few years ago, The Atlantic magazine tackled that question and basically determined that we apply human characteristics — names — to machines because it makes us think the machines work for us. Maybe.…
 - 07/05/2017
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Why we wait in long barbecue lines

Diners stand in line as they wait to order on a recent Saturday at Cattleack BBQ in Dallas. The idea about barbecue lines started simply enough during our recent visit to Micklethwait Craft Meats in Austin. “Why would you wait in line at Franklin when you can get this so close?” Sherry Jacobson wondered as she ate some of Micklethwait’s brisket, every bit as fine as what you could get a few blocks away at world famous Franklin Barbecue. And there was almost no line at Micklethwait. So we assembled an email roundtable of the Posse, all line-standing veterans, to…
 - 05/17/2017
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Killen’s will be #1 on Texas Monthly’s Top 50 BBQ list, the Posse predicts

Diners wait for Killen’s BBQ to open on a Saturday morning in Pearland, a suburb of Houston. Be bold. That advice from an old boss recently ran through my head here at Posse HQ as we contemplated stepping off the barbecue cliff. We took the step. Yes, we are predicting that Killen’s Barbecue in suburban Houston will be No. 1 on Texas Monthly’s highly anticipated list of the Top 50 BBQ joints in Texas, displacing the legendary Franklin Barbecue in Austin. It shouldn’t take long to know whether that call is indeed bold or just plain boneheaded. The list will…
 - 04/19/2017
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More evidence that Lockhart has lost its barbecue magic

Smitty’s Market oak wood pile & the Caldwell County courthouse. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) On our way back to Dallas from our recent Houston-area barbecue tour, all 6 Posse members on the trip listed their top 5 joints in the state, in no particular order. Specific criteria probably varied from person to person, but these would be places we’d drive across the state to eat at or recommend to good friends that they do the same. Since then, we’ve been asked to run each person’s top 5. Those lists are below. Three joints mentioned by each of us: Killen’s…
 - 02/01/2015
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Behold the Fried Rib from Pecan Lodge — You need to try one

The fried rib from Pecan Lodge in Dallas. (Photo by Jim Rossman/Texas BBQ Posse)   It’s not often that I’m surprised by the menu at a BBQ joint. I’ve been to more than a few dozen places and didn’t think there was much else you could do to a pork rib, but I was wrong. One day last month I was eating at Pecan Lodge in Dallas when I spied a new entry on their menu board. It was a fried pork rib and I had to have one. The rib was a very large and meaty. It was lightly battered…
 - 09/18/2014
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The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Wine Tasting

Brisket and wine were on the menu for the Posse at Pecan Lodge. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves/fotobia.com) By Bruce Tomaso/Texas BBQ Posse On Tuesday, the BBQ Posse was invited to join the Dallas Morning News Wine Panel for a tasting at Pecan Lodge. The mission: Find the red wines that pair best with Texas barbecue. (Look for the story in the July 30 Arts & Life section of The News.) Diane and Justin Fourton served up platters of Justin’s other-worldly smoked brisket. Cathy Barber, the paper’s food editor, and Tina Danze, a Dallas freelance writer, served up 26 bottles of wine.…
 - 07/17/2014
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Take a number — A different approach to BBQ lines

Posse members Jim Rossman & Gary Jacobson head up the line at Killen’s BBQ. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves/fotobia.com) In our recent travels to Houston, part of the scheduling involved knowing that two joints – Killen’s and CorkScrew – were places that would require a wait in a pretty lengthy line. We hit CorkScrew BBQ in  Friday for lunch and did the same Saturday at Killen’s. Each place opens at 11am. I volunteered to be the line sitter each morning, arriving at 8:30 a.m. each day to secure the first spot in line. Note to our fellow line-waiters – I was alone…
 - 07/01/2014
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Killen’s in Pearland might just be the best BBQ joint in Texas

Customers wait for the 11am opening of Killen’s BBQ in Pearland on Saturday morning. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Even before we had finished eating at Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland on Saturday, the great debate began. “When you factor everything in, this is the best barbecue place in Texas,” declared Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins. We ate brisket, pork ribs, pork belly, beef ribs, turkey and sausage. Everything was excellent — moist, flavorful and nicely cooked. On a scouting mission in May, Posse member Jim Rossman called the food at Killen’s, which opened in a permanent location early this year, “spectacular.”…
 - 06/29/2014
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Stellar preview for the new Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum, Dallas

Owners Diane & Justin Fourton address the crowd at Pecan Lodge’s preview party. (Photo by Jim Rossman) All right. The new Pecan Lodge will open Friday, May 23, ending nearly a couple weeks of Dallas barbecue drought since the original joint last served at the Farmers Market on May 11. That’s the grand opening target for the new place on Main Street in Deep Ellum, according to owner/pitmaster Justin Fourton, who with his wife, Diane, hosted a preview party Thursday attended by about 200 guests. The new space is wonderful. And the food won’t miss a beat, according to many…
 - 05/16/2014
Snows BBQ

Soft on gassers? Not so says Posse member Bruce Tomaso…..

Snow’s BBQ pit boss Tootsie Tomanetz tends the pits as the sun rises over Lexington. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) By Bruce Tomaso/Texas BBQ Posse Gary Jacobson is a friend of mine. He’s a gifted writer, an extraordinary journalist with a sharp wit and a sharper mind. And he knows his barbecue. He’s been riding with the Posse longer than just about any of us. So it pains me to say this: On the subject of gas-fired smokers, Gary Jacobson is full of gas. A few days ago, he wrote on this blog that “perhaps we have mellowed a bit”…
 - 03/01/2014
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Hutchins BBQ in McKinney can hang with Austin’s best and it’s open all day

(L-R) Jim Rossman, Kathy and Steve Hunt, Gary Jacobson, Michael Landauer, Bruce Tomaso and Gary Barber at Hutchins BBQ. (Photo by Tom Fox) For quality, the barbecue benchmarks are clear for Tim Hutchins, owner of Hutchins BBQ in McKinney. “We’re shooting for those guys in Austin,” Hutchins said during the Posse’s recent visit to his joint. He said he and his crew regularly travel to the new BBQ Capital of Texas to sample the fare at places like Franklin BBQ, la Barbecue and John Mueller Meat Co. They also visit Pecan Lodge in Dallas. But Hutchins is even more ambitious.…
 - 02/28/2014
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Posse member Bruce Tomaso nominates Justin and Diane Fourton of Pecan Lodge as Texans of the Year

Diane & Justin Fourton, owners of Pecan Lodge. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Note: The Dallas Morning News editorial department selects a Texan of the Year. Posse member Bruce Tomaso recently nominated Diane and Justin Fourton of Pecan Lodge for the honor. With permission, we are reprinting Bruce’s Viewpoints column from The News. By BRUCE TOMASO Wendy Davis can talk on her feet. Ted Cruz can talk with his foot in his mouth. But neither of them can cook a world-class smoked brisket. Neither of them helped change the public face of Texas cuisine. The people who did that are Justin…
 - 11/16/2013
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Making the most of the ‘golden hour’ at Texas Monthly’s BBQ Fest

Pitmaster Justin Fourton of Pecan Lodge in Dallas shows off his brisket at the 2013 Texas Monthly BBQ Festival. Note: Posse members Libby and Mike Gagne, who live in Austin, attended Sunday’s Texas Monthly BBQ Festival (TMBBQ Fest 2013), which brings together many of the best joints in the state. Libby and Mike were guests of Phil Winters of FoodyDirect, an Internet food site that advertises on this blog. Here is Libby’s report from the event. We queued up at about 11 a.m. and were admitted to the festival at noon, and enjoyed a “Golden Hour” of reduced lines and…
 - 11/06/2013
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Mayor Rawlings said he wants Pecan Lodge to stay … in Dallas

  Pitmaster Justin Fourton holds the infamous Slim Pickins sign given to the last person in line at Pecan Lodge. ([email protected] Goncalves/Fotobia.com) There’s a follow-up to our earlier item on the strange behavior of the new owners of the Dallas Farmers Market as they try, supposedly, to work out a deal to keep Pecan Lodge at the market. Robert Wilonsky of The Dallas Morning News reports that on Friday – the day our item appeared – Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings stopped by Pecan Lodge for lunch and a chat with owner/pitmaster Justin Fourton. Afterward, Rawlings made his position clear: While…
 - 08/18/2013
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Meet the new boss, same as the old boss?

  Pitmaster Justin Fourton works the pit during the early days of Pecan Lodge. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Will Pecan Lodge stay at Dallas Farmers Market? I have no idea. And neither does anyone else writing on the subject. My guess is there are two people on Earth who know the answer: Justin and Diane Fourton, Pecan Lodge’s owners. Even they might not be sure. As we’ve written before, the Fourtons have kept their cards close to their butchers’ aprons as they weigh their options. They say they’d like to stay at the downtown Dallas market where, in just…
 - 08/16/2013
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Here’s how you can beat the long lines at Pecan Lodge in Dallas

The legendary Trough at Pecan Lodge, with a side of mac & cheese. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) We just got this note from Diane and Justin Fourton, owners of Pecan Lodge, detailing some big changes at one of the great BBQ joints in Texas: Dear Friends, Just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know that we’ve been working on a few things to help make it easier for those coming down to eat with us. Starting today, we are happy to announce that the following options are now available: 1. A second cash register has…
 - 08/01/2013
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Success brings a new smoker to Pecan Lodge in Dallas, say hello to “Big Rick”

Pitmaster Justin Fourton shows off his new smoker Big Rick at Pecan Lodge. (Photo ©Philip Lamb) Posse member Phil Lamb checks in with Pecan Lodge pitmaster Justin Fourton at Texas Monthly’s “Behind the Pit Dinner” event on Wednesday night.  Phil writes: We’ve known for a while that Pecan Lodge offers some of the best smoked meats around, but its status as an elite BBQ joint was solidified when it was awarded a tie for the No. 2 spot on Texas Monthly’s “Top 50” BBQ list. Now the lines at Pecan Lodge, which were already plenty long, frequently require “Lovers of…
 - 07/19/2013
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First Look: Work Bar & Grill in Deep Ellum, Dallas

Brisket plate with sides of cole slaw and tortellini mac & cheese at Work Bar & Grill. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Editors note: This joint is now closed. A philosophical question: Can a place that has more salads on its menu than smoked meats be called a barbecue joint? After sampling the brisket, pulled pork and chicken at Work Bar and Grill in Deep Ellum, the Posse answers “Yes.” We also are better able to answer a couple of other pressing Dallas barbecue questions. Where’s a good place to have a sit-down barbecue dinner with drinks? Lockhart Smokehouse used…
 - 06/28/2013
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Yes, we’re all riding the wave of this Texas barbecue phenomenon

  Lockhart Smokehouse pitmaster Will Fleischman. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves/Fotobia.com) A while back, after the lunch rush and long before dinner, I was sipping a beer and talking to Will Fleischman, the pitmaster-philosopher at Lockhart Smokehouse in Dallas. Is the Texas barbecue bubble going to burst? I asked. Will the culinary accolades from around the country and the long lines of customers here eventually go away? Fleischman acknowledged that the frenzy for Texas barbecue might someday cool. But, he said, he was going to ride the wave of popularity as far as it goes. He had been employed at Lockhart since…
 - 06/24/2013
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From the Posse’s view, Pecan Lodge holds all the cards in negotiations with Dallas Farmers Market

Meats on the smoker at Pecan Lodge in the Dallas Farmers Market. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Posse member and Dallas Morning News assistant metro editor Bruce Tomaso gives us more details on the sweeping changes at the Dallas Farmers Market and how that might affect Pecan Lodge’s decision on moving to a new location. OK, let’s be honest: In the $64 million makeover of the Dallas Farmers Market, there’s only one thing that barbecue aficionados care about: What’s gonna happen to Pecan Lodge? That’s the $64,000 question. Our two-cent answer: No one knows. Owners Diane and Justin Fourton have…
 - 06/21/2013
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Updated: Some thoughts on Pecan Lodge and a potential new location

The lunch line queues up at Pecan Lodge in the Dallas Farmers Market. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves/Fotobia.com) UPDATE: we received a Tweet from Pecan Lodge: @texasbbqposse @jimrossman: Thx for your thoughts. Adding 2nd cash register in next few wks. Already hv 2 cutters in kitchen. Doing our best. So the BBQ blogosphere seems to be full up on stories about Pecan Lodge and whether or not it’ll remain at the Dallas Farmer’s Market. The City of Dallas sold the property and there are plans to redo Shed 2, which apparently include tearing it up while a new sewer line is installed. Not…
 - 06/20/2013
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6 things the Posse learned from its DFW Top 7 BBQ Tour

Lockhart Smokehouse, Dallas, Texas. (Photo ©Daniel Gonclaves/Fotobia.com) 1. Pecan Lodge, without a doubt, is the best joint in DFW. We already knew this, but it was reinforced as we toured the 7 area places that made Texas Monthly’s new Top 50 list. There isn’t a weak spot in pitmaster Justin Fourton’s smoked meat lineup. 2. Bartley’s BBQ in Grapevine and Cousin’s Barbecue in Fort Worth don’t belong among the Top 50, for food or atmosphere. 3. Call ahead to Meshack’s to make sure it’s open. We didn’t and we paid the price when the place was closed. We wound up eating…
 - 06/12/2013
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A bell-ringer of a meal at Pecan Lodge during Day 4 of the Posse’s Dallas-Fort Worth barbecue tour

In return for being first in line at Pecan Lodge, Chris Wilkins rings the bell as lunch service begins. (Photo ©Jim Rossman) Where to begin to tell the story of Day 4 of the Posse’s week long-tour of the best joints in Dallas-Fort Worth? How about with Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins getting to ring the dinner bell for the start of service at Pecan Lodge. Wilkins earned the honor by arriving at Shed 2 at the Dallas Farmers Market at 9:15 a.m., a full hour and 45 minutes before Pecan Lodge opened, and 45 minutes before the shed itself opened.…
 - 06/07/2013

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