Back in 2017, when I first wrote about Big D Barbecue in Mansfield, owner Jordy Jordan told me about his upcoming project: Cowtown Brewing Co. would bring together his two loves of barbecue and beer. It opened last fall in Fort Worth, serving plenty of barbecue along with craft beers from head brewer Shawn Kidwell.
Ten beers were on draft when I visited on a Thursday afternoon. Rock Island Red had just come on tap, and the rest of the lineup ranged from a light Mexican-style lager to a heavy and high ABV Imperial Milk Stout, appropriately named Cow Topper. Jordan recommended La Cabra Dorada, a maibock beer to accompany the barbecue. They were fresh out of brisket, but the baby back ribs and country-style pork ribs stood in well. The only difference between Cowtown’s cuts and Big D’s is the Bewley smoker they run in Fort Worth (it’s an Ole Hickory in Mansfield), but the sweet rub and tender pork were familiar. I was plenty satisfied until Jordan informed me I’d arrived a day too early.
On Fridays, Cowtown serves a double-cut smoked pork chop with a side and a beer for just $20. Hearing that settled my lunch plans for the following day. Jordan cuts whole racks of bone-in pork loin down to forty portions and brines those overnight in a salt-water solution. Before they go into the smoker, the chops are coated heavily with Cowtown’s standard rub of salt, brown sugar, and paprika that has been amped up with black pepper and cayenne.