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Long Weekend in DFW-area...need brews and BBQ

NYC 'Hound arriving at DFW but will venture into the boonies for excellent BBQ and beer joints...even within 2 or 3 hours joyride.

What are my best bets? How far is the Shiner Bock Brewery and the legendary BBQs?

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  1. Lockhart is about 3 hours away from Dallas and well worth every minute of the drive. (Shiner would be about an hour and a half farther.)

    Scott

    4 Replies
    1. re: Scott

      Louie Mueller's in Taylor, one of Texas Monthly's "Holy Trinity" of barbecue, is north of Austin, and less than two and a half hours from downtown Dallas. That's about an hour closer than Lockhart.

      1. re: David Pearlman

        Good point, David. And then Elgin is just another 10 minutes down the road from Taylor. If Lockhart's too far, that's certainly a respectable itinerary.

        Scott

        PS The implicit point for Mike R. is that Dallas isn't much of a barbecue destination. (See older threads on this board or some of the old Dallas barbecue reports on DallasFood.org to get a sense of what things are like in DFW.)

        1. re: Scott

          If the 'Cue in Taylor is a split-hair away in quality from the legends of Lockhart, I'd almost prefer the drive-time savings.

          What differences should I expect? Especially looking at ribs, burnt ends and sides. I'm making the assumption that prices would be about equal. Any further specifics appreciated and you guys all sound quite passionate about the subject. Thanks again!

          1. re: Mike R.

            The barbeque at Louie Mueller's in Taylor is, just as someone said, only the slightest degree beneath the greats in Lockhart, Luling, Llano. And accounting for differences in tastes and opinions, on any given day, perhaps the equal. And some folks like it better.

            But a few pointers....

            First, if you're "especially looking at ribs, burnt ends and sides," it may not be worth your drive. "Ribs" in Texas can be fabulous, but that's not what we do best, and not what we're famous for.

            Second, nobody gets "burnt ends." I've had burnt ends at the best KC joints, and down here, that's just brisket - the only difference being that here it's sliced instead of cubed. But if "burnt ends" are what you're after, you might be disappointed. And in any case, that's not what you order because the odds are good that they won't know what you're talking about.

            And last, nobody down in deep Texas barbecue country gives a damn about "sides." Many places don't even sell any at all. The most common "sides" are pickles, onions, a few slices of white bread, a jalapeno or two, and sometimes if you're lucky, a bowl of pinto beans, which, if you're accustomed to those sickeningly sweet baked beans you get elsewhere, will be a shock. Remember that most of the legendary central Texas BBQ shrines began life as either a butcher shop, or as the meat counter in a small grocery market. Not as a restaurant. They were started by Germans and Czechs that had immigrated here, and began smoking meats in the manner of their homelands. And although now many of these places have, through the years, become more like restaurants and made such concessions as serving sauce and beans and cole slaw, etc., that's not their tradition. It's "here's your meat on butcher paper and thank you very much."

            So, instead of "ribs, burnt ends and sides," think "brisket, hot links, a couple of ribs and a hunk o' onion."

            Another important thing to remember is that these places sell out early. You really need to plan to be there by noon, 1 at the latest, if you want to be sure that they've got what you've driven so far for.

            And order your brisket "wet" or "fatty."

            I've got some more "insider info" if you'll email me at ChristopherAnn512@yahoo.com

    2. I just have to put a word in this thread to suggest that Mike check out Sonny Bryan's.

      http://www.sonnybryans.com/

      I was just there while passing through on my way back to Austin and I was reminded of just how good Sonny's really it. And it does have the advantage of having multiple locations in Dallas so that Mike can get to it without the drive. Not that the drives aren't worth it for the places already mentioned, of course. Because they are. But still, a good in-town option can't hurt, right?

      2 Replies
      1. re: yongi

        I agree that a good in-town option can't hurt. I just haven't found one. (And I have looked.)

        Scott

        1. re: yongi

          I actually tried and was satisfied with Sonny Bryan's (the one in a Downtown mall, IIRC). Ribs were done right.

          That said, I'm more interested in the road-trip aspect.

        2. From a Dallas-raised Sonny Bryan's fan I can say that if the time and expense of a Central Texas roundtrip are not out of the question then do it. There is no comparison. I've only hit Black's, Smitty's and City Market, but all of them are superior to what you will find in North Texas. We are also fans of Southside in Elgin. If you make the drive you'll need something to eat on the way down. A stop at Sonny Bryan's original location for comparison purposes would be well-advised. Stick with the brisket and maybe the ribs at SB's. The sausage is commercial...nothing like the links in Elgin and the rings in Lockhart and Luling.

          1. Though Dallas doesn't have great cue, Fort Worth does. My top spot to recommend would be the Railhead in Fort Worth. Great ribs, large cold schooners of beer, laid back atmosphere. And, they have really legendary fries. A platter is enough for like 4 people and a great deal.

            The second would be Angelo's also in Fort Worth. Excellent brisket, pretty good ribs. These are the only two places I can heartily recommend from living in the area for 11 of the last 13 years.

            1 Reply
            1. re: citizenconn

              Yep to both, only I'd put Angelo's first, but only on account of the grizzly bear and the colder-than-ice beer!

              TT

            2. At the risk of occuring the rath of the reeeally serious Hounds I recommend the Red-Hot & Blue in Irving and thought the pulled pork sandwich was pretty good. I've been to other branches of RH&B in Virginia and think this branch is better. I could see the pink smoke ring in the pulled pork meat. I've been to the greats in Lockhart but don't remember if they had any pulled pork. Can't comment on the brew since I was driving to San Antonio and didn't have a beer.

              1. From my recent trip to DFW area, I can recommend the beef ribs at Big Al's - just up the street from the original Sonny Bryan's. Would have stopped at SB, but it was late in the afternoon and they had already closed shop. The beef ribs were tender and smokey - brisket was just ok with less smoke flavor and a little chewey - sides were pretty good - bbq sauce was not. A co-worker who I can trust on this topic recommended Pappa's - which I will check out the next time I'm in town.

                Across the street from Pappa's is Humperdink's/Big Horn Brewing. They make decent beer and have cheap beer specials during the week. Gingerman in Dallas probably has the best selection of draft beer in the state. Flying Saucer chains also have a decent beer selection.

                http://beeradvocate.com/beerfly/city/31

                Shiner Bock could be found just about anywhere (big al's had it on their menu) but I did not find it all that good. Live Oak, Real Ale, St. Arnold's and Rahr & sons are the breweries to keep an eye out for.

                1. I'd like to throw in a mention for Euless Main Street barbecue, in Euless, on Main Street (just north of 183), surprisingly enough. I think that their ribs stand up to Angelo's and the Railhead and their brisket (at least the fatty part) is excellent, as well. They're only open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ossified

                    They are pretty good, too. Though, I'm a lean brisket guy myself. If you beg just right at Angelos they will give you a plate of the crunchy chewy brisket ends. Yummy!

                    If you do go to Euless, you should check out the NYPD Deli and get the Soprano sandwich, wrapped to go and cut in half, everything on it. Best sandwich in the area. It is not Q, but well worth it is you are in Euless anyway.

                  2. For beer, go to The Old Monk on Knox. A solid selection of imports on draught, and the best bar food in town. Try the mussels.