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Los Angeles 'hound ISO finger lickin' BBQ!

I'm heading to Dallas for 4 days and 3 nights. Not sure where we are staying yet - likely downtown, with a visit up to McKinney for at least a day.

During that time, I want to experience to-die-for-BBQ. So much so, we are basing our itinerary around all things food. (Our last trip was to Portland, OR, where we discovered Pine State Biscuits (thanks to other 'hounds). Best biscuit/egg sandwiches I've ever had. It was so good and we visited it 3 times in 5 days. Besides the Columbia Gorge, it was the highlight of our time there. I'm looking for a similar find (or finds!) in Dallas.

I've spent some time researching the threads and it seems like there is a consensus that good BBQ cannot be found in Dallas.... however, I have to believe it's better than what we get in Los Angeles! So, from that perspective, I'm hoping that I'll be wow'd.

On my radar so far are the following:
Off The Bone
Big Daddy Roadhouse
Baby Back Shak

What am I missing? Lockhart isn't on my list because it seems a tad gimmicky and the no-sauce available was a turn-off.

Are Bone Daddy or Mike Anderson worth a stop?

We usually order ribs (beef or pork) when we have BBQ - but are not limited to that and both love a good beef brisket.

Thanks in advance!

Big Daddy's
6001 N Main St, Fort Worth, TX 76179

Bone Daddy's
415 Interstate 20 E, Arlington, TX 76018

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  1. Ok. To start, really good beef ribs are hard to come by in Dallas. The exception of course would be the renowned "Big Rib" at Smoke. It's, huge and delicious. But then again for $24.00 it should be. I'll add though, the smoked bed of grits it sits on helps make the price easier to digest. Otherwise, it's going to be pork ribs at most places.

    Mike Anderson's BBQ is OK BBQ but a bit "pedestrian".

    I really like the pork ribs at Bakers Ribs at their Greenville
    Avenue location only. NOT, their Deep Ellum location.

    Despite the wildly pro and con reports of Lockhart Smokehouse, I'd still go. They do offer sauce and plastic forks, now. Make sure you ask for "moist" brisket cut from the fattier "point" section. It's certainly far from the cheapest BBQ in town but it is the closest we have in Dallas for that famous Central Texas BBQ smoke flavor. (most of the time)

    You might also want to consider the Memphis style pork ribs at Red, Hot, And Blue. They've developed a very large following.

    Although I haven't been, most folks rave about Meshacks. But remember, this is "take out" BBQ only. No inside seating!

    There is one place I would really like to recommend to you for both, (EXCELLENT) BBQ and, really good southern style soul food (meat and three style).
    Sweet Georgia Brown in Oak Cliff (south Dallas) serves huge portions of surprisingly good BBQ as well as their incredible soul food. Their ribs are crazy, falling off the bone good! But, all their food is great. Huge portions so share, or you'll be eating leftovers in your hotel room. (YUK)!

    Also, although I've personally never been to Baby Back Shack, I have heard good things.

    Same go's for Bone Daddy.

    For some sensational genuine South Carolina coastal "low country" food, try Hattie's in Bishops Arts in Oak Cliff. Just be sure you have their addictive shrimp 'n grits. http://www.hatties.net Not BBQ but, I just love their food which is served in a lovely restaurant.

    Have fun and please, tell us how you fared.

    Bone Daddy's
    415 Interstate 20 E, Arlington, TX 76018

    1 Reply
    1. re: twinwillow

      Thank you SO much. This is just the info I was looking for! I appreciate your input and will definitely report back.

    2. go to the dallas farmer's market in downtown dallas and try pecan lodge bbq. Probably the best brisket in dallas.

      5 Replies
      1. re: zeruel13

        Yes, excellent. Look for them in Shed No. 2. And again, ask for "moist" cut.

        1. re: zeruel13

          Nice! What are the hours/days of the farmer's market?

            1. re: zeruel13

              Though those are the hours for the Farmer's Market, not all of the Shed 2 restaurants are open every day. In fact, at one point in time the Pecan Lodge was only open Wed. to Sun. Just suggesting to confirm the hours before going.

              And agree that it is the best brisket in Dallas.

              Also, I think the Wednesday Special Beef Rib at Lockhart's is very bit as good as Smoke's beef rib.

              1. re: DFWGuy

                Glad to know about the Wednesday beef rib special at Lockart Smokehouse. Thanks!

        2. Mike Anderson's BBQ is good Dallas BBQ - it's what the Dickie's and others *used* to be. Anderson's is one of the few that has remained independent, serving good BBQ at fair prices - they're across from one of the city's leading hospitals, so be prepared for a line depending on the time of day.

          Sweet Georgia Brown - I've never been, but it always pops up in the "good" list for BBQ. Just be aware it's in a sketchier part of town, so be aware of your surroundings when/if you go.

          Meshack's BBQ Shack is the best of the best - go early, especially on Saturday (before noon), because they sell out. Sometimes they'll tell you to come back and there'll be more, but there's no where in the immediate area to hang and wait. As twin said, it's take out. I'll add it's a walk-up, order at the window, shack; so find a park and have an old fashioned picnic or you could swing by (short detour) on your way to McKinney. (Tip: get the lemon cake!)

          Bone Daddy has ok-average, bbq - it's the Hooter's of bb.

          For my off-topic suggestion - Babe's Chicken Dinner House for a good sampling of Southern Fried Chicken and "hospitality". Original Roanoke location on your way for a site-see in Fort Worth. ;) http://www.babeschicken.com/

          Southern Fried Chicken
          2418 W Sherman, Grand Prairie, TX 75051

          Bone Daddy's
          415 Interstate 20 E, Arlington, TX 76018

          7 Replies
          1. re: CocoaNut

            Reference, Sweet Georgia Brown. It IS in a "sketchy" neighborhood but I've never had a problem. You won't either! They have their own, security patrolled parking lot. The best time to go is LUNCHTIME. But, NOT on a SUNDAY! It's a ZOO there after church breaks.

            Chowhound does not allow the pasting of www websites to your comments anymore so, Google "sweet georgia brown dallas"
            and the Google page will come up with all reviews like YELP, etc.

            1. re: twinwillow

              >> Chowhound does not allow the pasting of www websites to your comments anymore

              ?? What am I misunderstanding?? I pasted the Babes website "www" in my comment above. Will it soon be removed/edited out???

              1. re: CocoaNut

                ...Unless I've just forgotten how to do it. (???) Using a Mac, It won't "stick" when I paste the website link to my comments. And, I'm not doing it any differently than before.

                1. re: twinwillow

                  hmmmmm....... The gremlins are active.

                  1. re: CocoaNut

                    Funny, I can do it with one of my other Mac's in the house. I must have changed a setting by accident in the Mac I usually use.

            2. re: CocoaNut

              CocoaNut - LMAO!! re: Bone Daddy being the Hooter's of BBQ. Say no more - it's off my list!

              re: Meshack's - thanks for the tip on going before noon. I'm glad you said something, because I just checked their hours (closed Sun/Mon). We are getting in at 2pm on Saturday, but staying til Tues... so I think that will be our stop on Tuesday, for sure (assuming they are sold out by the time we could get there on Saturday (I figure 4pm, after getting out of the airport, etc.)

              And, LOVE the off-topic suggestion. We'll definitely be making a stop there! Sounds perfect! If any other 'must-visit' type places come to mind, I'm all ears (we are also huge burger fans and biscuits and gravy fans...) :)

            3. Sweet Georgia Brown:

              Lockhart Smokehouse:

              Red, Hot, and, Blue: The Dallas location is on 75 (North Central Expressway) just north of Walnut Hill Lane.

              1. Just had lunch at Meshack's this afternoon. I'm in a meat coma. IMO, the best ribs in DFW. Brisket is decent, but not as good as thier ribs. Make sure to ask for at least one "roll up". Not on the menu (which is painted on the side of the buidling). It's a hot link, rolled up in a piece of white bread......dunk it in sauce....heaven. Best part, they're only $1 each.

                They sometimes have sweet potato pie as well, although, sadly, not today.

                2 Replies
                1. re: planojim

                  I cannot WAIT to try it! Thanks for the roll up info! Are the hours really Tues-Saturday til 7pm? Do you think if I showed up around 4pm on Saturday I'd be out of luck?

                  1. re: The Oracle

                    FWIW, the past 2 times I've tried going, I've gotten there at 1:30-2 and they were out of everything but the sausage. The hours are really more like "until they run out of food."

                    I'd suggest calling in a larger order cuz they will hold that for you (as in, at least 1 lb of brisket, ribs).

                2. a couple of additional thoughts...
                  1) Central Texas style bbq has no sauce - it's all about meat+smoke, which to me requires a higher level of skill than dousing something in a good tasting sauce. So I wouldn't skip Lockhart for that reason... although you might skip it because their performance can be a bit uneven... great some days, not good others.

                  2) If you go to Off the Bone, make sure it's the one near Arlington, not in Dallas.

                  3) Pecan Lodge (brisket) is definitely worth adding to the list.

                  4) this is more for the locals... has anyone tried Smoke's BBQ lately? In my initial experiences it was pretty weak - tender ribs, but hardly any smoke flavor. Same for the brisket. But I've recently heard some reports that it's improving. Any thoughts about adding this to the list of suggested spots?

                  Off the Bone
                  1734 S Lamar St, Dallas, TX 75215

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: gavlist

                    3) pecan lodge has housemade sausages now too, in the style of central tx bbq (coarse ground). That is worth adding to the list as well.

                    1. re: gavlist

                      1. From what car club buddies tell me, Lockhart is pretty awful if you go towards the end of the day and the best products tend to come out right when they open the door. That might explain my poor experiences given that I've only been there during dinner hours.

                      2. Off The Bone's even more to the south/west than Arlington! More like near Kennedale or maybe Mansfield. Plus if you go here, it's easy to do a 1-2 combo hitting Longoria's as well for their delicious brisket sausage.

                      Main thing the OP should know: the best BBQ in Dallas isn't in Dallas - it's in FW. Pecan Lodge and Meshack's are fine, but since you're willing to drive, it's best to focus on the FW spots instead. Read this too:


                    2. You definitely need to include FW's Off the Bone in your BBQ itinerary. I went yesterday - the ribs are smoky, meaty, tender (with a little resistance from the bone) and moist. The flavor was not covered up with rub, though they do well season with salt. Definitely get this place on your list!

                      The brisket was good with a well rendered fatty edge - though a bit dry, the flavor was very good.

                      I'd order the well, porky-seasoned green beans and the cheddar mac 'n cheese (NO Velveeta here!) over and over again.

                      Initially, I thought it a little expensive for bbq, but when the plate was put before me, not so. A combo of ribs/brisket came with 4 very meaty ribs and maybe 8 slices of brisket, 2 sides, Texas toast, onion, pickle and jalapeno slices. For average appetites, I'd think it would be sharable. Probably about 40 minutes from downtown Dallas.

                      Off the Bone
                      1734 S Lamar St, Dallas, TX 75215

                      1. Any thoughs on Sonny Bryan in Oak Lawn?

                        Between that location & Off the Bone in South Dallas.... who has better ribs?

                        Off the Bone
                        1734 S Lamar St, Dallas, TX 75215

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: The Oracle

                          Sonny Bryan's is the worst BBQ in Dallas. The worst! No, wait! Dickey's is the worst BBQ in Dallas! Fuggedaboudit!
                          I've never been to Off the Bone so, can't advise you on them.

                          Please see what I wrote about 9 posts up. Wouldn't lie to ya.

                          1. re: The Oracle

                            Nevermind... I answered my own question & am sitting at Baby Back Shak, waiting for them to open! :)

                          2. UPDATE: Thank you all for your tips and suggestions. I am still STUFFED from all the BBQ we consumed during our short trip, and we didn't even get to all of the spots I would have liked to have tried.

                            We ended up at 4: Sweet Georgia Brown, Baby Back Shak, Red, Hot, & Blue, and Meshak's BBQ Shack.

                            I'll update in chronological order:

                            Straight off the airplane, we made a beeline to: SWEET GEORGIA BROWN. Holy cow (or should I say 'pig'), we loved this place. We ordered the 3 meat combo that came with 3 sides. They were all out of beef ribs, so we got double pork ribs and sausage - with mac n cheese, baked beans, and mashed potatoes. Side note: can someone PLEASE tell me how they make their beans because those were the BEST beans I've ever tasted in my entire life!! I could not figure out flavors I was tasting but they were delicious! I wish I would have asked them what their secret was. The sausage was AMAZING. Great flavor and it gave me the eyes-roll-to-the-back-of-your-head type experience. I enjoyed the BBQ sauce as well. I found the pork ribs to be a bit on the dry side. Good flavor, just a bit dry. I didn't care for the cornbread muffin at all - too dry and flavorless, for me. The mashed potatoes weren't my thing (they were thin - almost like out of a box), and I wasn't crazy about the mac n cheese, either - the cheese they used was delicious, but I didn't care for the consistency. Super nice people working there - we really enjoyed it and it was the perfect first stop. Out of the four places, this was my husbands #1 pick and my #2 (if it wasn't for the slightly dry ribs, it would have been #1). If I had only one place to go, on a future visit, this would be it.... for those baked beans and to try other sides!

                            Next stop - Monday morning and b'fast. I almost made the fatal mistake of thinking Off the Bone in Dallas was the same as the one in Arlington. Fortunately, we pulled up before it was open (to the Dallas location) and it made us scratch our heads. My husband did some quick thinking, and looked up other BBQ spots in the area and we headed to BABY BACK SHAK. We ordered their sampler plate: pork ribs, boudin sausage, links, chicken, sliced beef with sides of baked beans and cole slaw. Everything was delicious and solid. No one thing particular stood out - as it was all good. The boudin was probably my least favorite - only because I didn't know what to expect (and didn't expect rice in a sausage!). I was surprised how tender and flavorful the chicken was. The beans were good (but nothing close to Sweet Georgia Brown), the cole slaw wasn't very noteworthy, but not bad either. The only mis-step in the experience was not finding the BBQ sauce until we were almost done. It was in a separate bag with the white bread, and all along I was assuming this was one of the no-sauce places. I think had I discovered the sauce prior, it would have been MIND-BLOWING. I also appreciated the rolls of paper towels on the tables. Of all of the places we went - this was my #1 pick, and my husbands #2.

                            Later that night: dinner at RED, HOT, and BLUE. This ended up being our least favorite of the 4 places we visited. It had that 'chain' feeling right when you walked in (which, IMO, is never a good sign). We ordered the 5-meat sampler: ribs, pulled pork, brisket, sausage, and turkey. We also ordered a side of baked beans. The ribs are what I was most looking forward to - and they were the BIGGEST disappointment. I felt the dry rub was heavy-handed, overpowering the meat to almost inedible proportions. The pulled pork and the brisket were my favorites of the meats - with a slight edge to the brisket, because it was so fall-apart tender. The turkey and sausage were 'ok'. Nothing really special. The side of beans were gross and seemed like they came out of a can. My favorite part of the whole meal was the cheese? biscuit that were served with the plate. I also appreciated the 32 oz 'glass' of water and was slightly disturbed it was the soda serving size. This was both of our least favorite of the bunch and we would not return.

                            Our final day: MESHAK'S - boy was this place hard to find! Blink twice and you miss it, even knowing it was a side-of-the-road type place. We ordered a meat platter (are you sensing a theme?), even though I desperately wanted my own slab of ribs (I almost did it - but thought I'd be too full!). In our meat platter - we got ribs, hot links, sliced beef (it came with sides of baked beans and potato salad-no other options) and I also ordered a roll up (thank you @planojim!) . The ribs were INCREDIBLE - and my favorite of all the ribs we'd had. My husband didn't share my affinity for the ribs - but I think he was getting all bbq'd out. The ribs were moist and succulent. The roll up was fantastic - we both loved it and the snap it the sausage was perfection! The whole sausage was so much better than the sliced version they served with our meat plate. I thought the sliced beef was ok - wrapped in bread and dunked in sauce, it was fine. It was the ribs there were the true stand out for me. Beans and potato salad were ok - nothing mind-blowing, but good complements to round out the meal. While the ribs were outstanding (and definitely the best, in my book) - overall - this spot was both of our #3 pick overall.

                            I wish we had more time - I'm really regretting not getting to Off the Bone in Arlington, Longoria, or Pecan Lodge... and we never made it out to Ft. Worth. Unfortunately, I learned that one can only eat so much BBQ in such a short time (and that was sharing a plate at each spot!)!

                            Thank you, again, for all your help!

                            @CocoNut - I missed out on Babe's as well, sadly.

                            The only other eating we did were a couple corn dogs at the fair, a brisket quesadilla at Primo's in Uptown (which was fantastic), some misc. bar food at Christie's and Trinity Hall, and a random dinner at BJ's Brewhouse (which we didn't have any control over - and I wish would have been different). I had the most difficult time plotting points and figuring out neighborhoods. I made the mistake of not plotting out all the BBQ spots and taking my map with me.... my next food-adventure will definitely involve that crucial step! I kept getting places mixed up in my head - for example - I didn't realize how close I was to Meshak's and almost drove out to Ft. Worth.... I'm glad I looked it up while en route, or I would have been sorely disappointed!

                            I hope this mammoth update helps others, in the future!

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: The Oracle

                              Great review! Thanks for taking the time. Red, Hot and Blue IS a chain out of Memphis, so no surprises there. But putting them against our local, home-grown independents-gone-chains of Sonny Bryans and Dickeys, you chose correctly with RHB.

                              1. re: The Oracle

                                Thank you for your report and vindicating my love for Sweet Georgia Brown. Glad you enjoyed your visit. My stomach got full just from reading your report,

                                1. re: twinwillow

                                  I was full for days.... not to mention, still cursing the pounds I gained (even though we tried to take the DART and walk often!).

                                  Do you have ANY idea how Sweet Georgia Brown makes their baked beans? I am STILL thinking about them and would LOVE to know.

                              2. Ok, I am a Phx CHer reviving this string because it is right on point for me, but I have a twist. I am leaving on Friday and have time for one very short stop on the way to DFW Airport, coming all the way in from East TX (Marshall) and basically crisscrossing the whole city...So, if you had your choice, but couldn't drive too far out of the way on the way to the airport with a late afternoon flight to catch...where do you send me?

                                Pecan Lodge, Meshack, and Baby Back shack strike my taste as the best from all the responses, but admittedly, I am starved for good BBQ coming from AZ, so whereever you send me will be excellent, no doubt!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: danieli10

                                  Since my last post in this thread, I've (very happily) discovered Pecan Lodge in Shed 2 of the Dallas Farmers Market.
                                  Without a doubt, the best BBQ in Dallas! Not only is their BBQ great but unlike others you've mentioned, It's clean, air conditioned and, you can sit down in comfort and watch the "passing parade" while you are in BBQ nirvana. Order your brisket fatty and I guaranty you'll be a very happy camper!
                                  They're open Thursday thru Sunday from 11:00AM-3:00PM.