FT.Worth BBQ-Railhead vs. Angelo's
I live in Dallas and due to the absolute dirth of good cue in Dallas, I usually save it for when I get to Ft. Worth. I've been going to Angelo's for 15 or so years (2-3times/yr). Over the past couple of years, my Ft. Worth friends swear by the Railhead. So, over the the past year, I've been to the Railhead 4 times and had the opportunity to re-visit Angelo's yesterday. I usually order ribs and brisket at both. I've got to say, that I think Angelo's beef and ribs are far superior to the Rail head. The Railhead brisket seems to be over-smoked and bitter many times. Also, one other thing. Why is it that I have to eat canned "Ranchstyle Beans" at both places? I know the meat is the focus, but couldn't they do a little better? Anyone else have a take?
I've never been to the Railhead in Ft Worth, but 7 or 8 years ago, they opened one in Colleyville on 121. Tried it once and the only thing memorable for me - in a bad way - was the very thin and vinegary bbq sauce. Never went back. It closed within probably a year of opening. So for whatever that's worth - although I did hear from someone that the FW loc was better, but have no idea on what level.
I really like Angelo's, but just hate to make the drive - even from Grapevine. But they do consistently produce a brisket that's moist, not in fatty way, is fall apart tender and has a perfectly mild smokiness.
Their beef (no pork available) ribs are short ones, about 4 inches. For me, they're ok, just not as meaty as I'd like. But in the same way as the brisket, they're consistently moist and full of beefy flavor, not overpowered with smoke.
The sauce is neither thick nor thin and has a tang of vinegar with a minimal amount of heat. But in honesty, the meat is so good, there's no need at all to even use the sauce.
My vote's for Angelo's.
Addendum: Avoid the sausage unless you like eating something that tastes like nothing. I asked if they make it and no, they don't. It's a Polish sausage variety (at least that's their claim) which is usually quite flavorful. Not this one. The "innards" are ground very fine to produce an almost pate like consistency; the casing falls short with no crispy "pop".
Dear J.R. intersting question you pose ....I was in the Railhead last night .
I think they consist of two very different styles . To me , Angelo's is traditional , they won their reputation the hard way , which is year after year of consistent quality . The Railhead is more of a scene : they've got that outdoor seating , the separate bar scene , always full of people , and a more diverse menu .
I f you sat down and tasted the two side by side , I guess I agree with you that Angelos is better . But , they both are of a high enough quality , that you are sort of splitting hairs . Either one of them is superior to anything that Dallas has to offer . Once you reach a certain level , then it's kind of fun to compare BBQ joints , but it really doesn't matter as long as the joint has reached a certain level and made the cut Both Angelo's and the Railhead have made the cut .
Railhead is just terrible, always has been: surprising since it is in, well, COWTOWN.
I agree about the beans, everyone practically does that now, very sad, along with terrible tea (dare I say powdered?).
I just don't understand why anybody would put up with canned beans. Yuk! Barbecue Barn in Plano and the Dicky's in East Plano both have good sides. Maybe I'm just not picky enough about my Q, but I just don't do canned beans. To me, barbecue is a lot like Tex Mex. Close to the house matters
I think both places have gown downhill in recent years. For both, the issue is consistency. Each can be excellent, but more often than not, there is a problem with quality. I'm a Texan that grew up in Memphis, and would never get a rib at either place, sticking with the brisket. The sides at both are usually mediocre.
Usually, I will pick up brisket and make my own sides at home.
If you are driving any distance to either, I suggest heading down to Lillian and going to Casstevens Cash and Carry. Far better than either.