For years, Texas Monthly published a single guide to cover all the barbecue in the Dallas–Fort Worth area. Then Fort Worth (and the Mid-Cities) went off and became the most exciting place in Texas for new barbecue joints, so it’s time for the Panther City to get its own directory. We recently published a list of the top fifty barbecue joints in Texas and fifty more honorable mentions, but our recommendations don’t stop there. You can get a great meal of smoked meats at any one of these Fort Worth–area joints.
In the city of Fort Worth
This Fort Worth staple goes back to 1958. The brisket and ribs are plenty popular, but don’t miss unique menu items like smoked salami and pork loin. Angelo’s is about the only place in Texas where you can get your barbecue sandwich on rye bread, and mustard is a standard condiment along with pickles, onions, and barbecue sauce.
The tiny red building seems out of place among the tall downtown edifices that surround it. Come here for a weekday lunch of barbecue sandwiches dressed however you’d like—though the spicy barbecue sauce is a must-try—from the generous condiment counter.
Open only on weekends for now, this food truck named for the owner’s dog is currently building its future permanent location. The fried Funkytown Hot Chicken sandwich is a big draw, but the barbecue staples like sliced brisket and spareribs that emerge from the smoker (dubbed the Brisket Bomber) are also excellent.
This mini-chain has three Fort Worth locations and two inside DFW Airport, but I prefer the original location on McCart. The classic trio of sliced brisket, ribs, and house-made German sausage has always been great, and newer menu additions include fantastic smoked and fried chicken wings. Get them with the hand-cut French fries.
Dayne’s Craft Barbecue (Top 50)
This little trailer packs a mighty punch three days a week. Pitmaster and co-owner Dayne Weaver is a sausage savant, so try the Beefy Texan, Jalapeño Havarti, or whatever specialty link he has on the menu. Pork belly lovers should try the bacon brisket, and no one should underestimate the Frito pie beans.
Derek Allan’s Texas Barbecue (Honorable Mention)
It’s all Wagyu all the time at Derek Allan’s. The owners use highly marbled Wagyu beef for their smoked brisket, burnt ends, beef sausage, and house-cured and smoked beef belly bacon. Try any of the above on a breakfast taco, in a biscuit, or on a tray with a side of bacon cheesy grits and chipotle mac and cheese.
Goldee’s Barbecue (No. 1)
This is the best barbecue joint in Texas. What more do you need to know?
Heim Barbecue (Honorable Mention)
With two locations in Fort Worth, one in Dallas (temporarily closed), and more on the way, the Heims have come a long way from their barbecue trailer days. The family ushered Fort Worth into the modern barbecue movement with their tender brisket, massive beef ribs, and famous bacon burnt ends.
Patrick Joubert is a preacher turned pitmaster, and his smoked chicken and dirty rice will touch your soul. You can get brisket, ribs, and sausage too, but check for seasonal specials like smoked turkey legs, meat loaf, and smoked chicken gumbo during the cold months.
Panther City BBQ (Top 10)
Between the brisket birria tacos, brisket-topped elote, and the pork belly poppers, you could fill up here without eating any barbecue standards—but then you’d miss some of the best sliced brisket, turkey, and spareribs in the state.
“Life’s too short to live in Dallas” is the motto of this barbecue joint that started in a (long gone) beer barn. It’s no surprise the joint is still known for cold ones, and the beer is just as popular as the barbecue. Both go well with the fresh cut french fries and hand-battered onion rings.
Smoke-A-Holics BBQ (Top 50)
Derrick and Kesha Walker are helping to revitalize their old neighborhood in southeast Fort Worth with their Tex-Soul version of barbecue. That means rib tips, dirty rice, and loaded cornbread. Stop by on Tuesday for turkey leg day, when they serve a variety of smoked and smothered turkey legs.
225° BBQ in Arlington (Honorable Mention)
There might be more variety on this barbecue menu than on any other in Texas. Impressive sliced brisket is only the beginning. Brisket birria tacos are served with a consommé that doubles as the base of the brisket birria ramen. Elote is topped with chopped brisket and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. For more heat, get the Cherry Bombs, the brisket-stuffed, bacon-wrapped habaneros.
BBQ on the Brazos in Cresson (Honorable Mention)
This joint left the friendly confines of its Texaco gas station for a while, but it’s back home and serving up the same great barbecue. The brisket tacos are popular for a reason, but don’t miss standout sandwiches such as the smoked turkey with melted mozzarella and crispy onions or the massive brisket torta (Thursdays only).
Big D BBQ in Mansfield
Try the brisket burnt ends or the St. Louis–cut pork ribs, and always order the skillet potatoes as a side. For a change of pace, order the Wagyu burger topped with a massive onion ring and sweet bacon jam. Look for a new location in Midlothian in 2022.
Hurtado Barbecue in Arlington (Top 50)
Brandon Hurtado opened this joint in 2020, and it already has become a barbecue destination from all corners of the Metroplex and beyond. The standards are done incredibly well, and even the pulled pork is impressive, but I’m continually drawn back for specialties such as the Big Red barbacoa tostada, bacon-wrapped jalapeños, house-made sausages, and creative weekend brunch items.
Meat U Anywhere BBQ in Grapevine and Trophy Club
Turn to Meat U for the earliest bite of barbecue you can get in the Metroplex (breakfast is served starting at 6 a.m.), or wait until lunch for tender brisket and juicy smoked turkey. Visit on Friday or Saturday for the smoked beef tenderloin and smoked prime rib.
Shaneboy’s Craft Hawaiian Grindz in Lillian
It might not be the Texas barbecue you’re used to, but you’ll enjoy the Aloha twist on smoked and grilled meats at Shaneboy’s. What once was a tiny food truck in Rendon (now temporarily closed) has grown into a new brick-and-mortar in Lillian. Try the smoked pulled pork, and look for the kalbi beef short ribs and pulehu brisket specials.
Vaqueros Texas Bar-B-Q in Grapevine
Peppery brisket, massive spareribs, and house-made sausage are just the start at this joint that serves at Hop & Sting Brewery. Owner Trey Sanchez was the first to bring brisket birria tacos to the Metroplex. The tacos are spectacular, as is the rich consommé they’re served with.
Zavala’s Barbecue in Grand Prairie (Top 50)
The sliced brisket always impresses here on the corner of Main and Brisket Lane (owner Joe Zavala initiated the street name change), as do the tortillas. The latter does the heavy lifting during breakfast taco service throughout the week, though they also come on the side of every barbecue order during the Thursday–Saturday barbecue service. Fill them with any of the smoked meats and a little green sauce and you’ll leave happy.
Monday is a popular day for pitmasters to take off. None of the Fort Worth joints in our top fifty are open, and the only honorable mention in the area that’s open is Heim Barbecue‘s Magnolia location. It’s joined by Angelo’s BBQ, Bailey’s Bar-B-Que, Cousins Bar-B-Q, Meat U Anywhere BBQ (both locations), and Railhead Smokehouse.
Pork belly burnt ends
Heim Barbecue was the originator of this delicacy, and its bacon burnt ends are alone worth a visit. Panther City BBQ serves pork belly burnt ends straight up or wrapped in bacon and stuffed into jalapeños. Just up the road, Dayne’s Craft Barbecue does a limited run of pork belly burnt ends, but you may be left with only bacon brisket as your pork belly option if the meat sells out. You can also find great versions at both Hurtado BBQ and 225° BBQ in Arlington. Brix Barbecue is on board with the concept, but it chooses to smoke beef belly burnt ends rather than the pork variety.
Smoked brisket birria tacos are all the rage in Texas, and you can find them at Panther City BBQ, 225° BBQ, Hurtado BBQ, and Vaqueros Texas Bar-B-Q. Zavala’s Barbecue will turn any of its smoked meats (except pork ribs) into a taco, but is best known for the saucy combination of chopped brisket and pork named the Sloppy Juan. BBQ on the Brazos serves chopped brisket tacos with pico de gallo, shredded cheese, and green sauce for lunch, and the barbacoa tacos at Brix Barbecue are a must-try.
If you’re up at 6 a.m. you can swing into either location of Meat U Anywhere BBQ for a variety of breakfast tacos. Heim Barbecue opens early at every location for breakfast tacos and scratch-made biscuit sandwiches. At Derek Allan’s Texas Barbecue in Fort Worth you can choose between a biscuit or taco stuffed with brisket and/or sausage. The Zavala’s Barbecue building in Grand Prairie also houses Mas Coffee, which serves barbecue breakfast tacos every Tuesday through Friday morning, and get down to BBQ on the Brazos in Cresson for barbecue breakfast tacos and burritos.
Both Heim Barbecue locations are open until 9 every day, and the River location is open until 10 on Friday and Saturday evenings. Brix Barbecue “after dark” is 6-8 on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Vaqueros Texas Bar-B-Q serves late on Thursday and Friday night from 4 to 8. Meat U Anywhere BBQ is open until 8:30 Monday through Saturday. Both Cousins Bar-B-Q and Railhead Smokehouse are open until 9, and Angelo’s BBQ stays open until 9 Monday through Thursday and an hour later on Friday and Saturday.