Dallas and Fort Worth have a burgeoning barbecue scene that has come to prominence in just the past five years. The openings of Cattleack Barbecue, Pecan Lodge, Slow Bone, and Lockhart Smokehouse in Dallas seem like ages ago. Over on the Fort Worth side, Heim BBQ, Derek Allan’s BBQ, Panther City BBQ, and Smoke-A-Holics BBQ have recently joined the established ranks of Cousin’s, Angelo’s, and Railhead, and BBQ on the Brazos just moved to town.

Whereas the Austin BBQ Guide is focused inside the city limits, this territory is vast. The barbecue joints that populate this list are from seven counties. It’s a ninety minute drive from Del Norte Tacos in Godley up to Tender Smokehouse in Celina. The Dallas/Fort Worth area is massive, and your appetite will have to be too if you want to conquer this list.

bbq guide
Trays at Cattleack Barbecue.

FROM THE 2017 TOP 50 BBQ LIST:

Sometimes barbecue requires a little patience. You’ll have to wait in line at these joints, but it’ll be worth it when you have a tray full of smoked meat in your hands. It also shouldn’t be much of a surprise that you might have to contend with loads of other barbecue fans at these locations, because they are the best barbecue joints on this list.

4-T’s Bar-B-Que; Forney – I’m not sure which I like better: the sweet glazed baby back ribs or the smoked chicken. Either way, pair it with some excellent smoked brisket.

BBQ on the Brazos; Fort Worth – Some of the best brisket in the area is being served here, but nothing they smoke is bad. Get here before 1 p.m. if you want a little of everything, or arrive way early for some barbecue breakfast tacos on house-made tortillas.

Cattleack BBQ; Dallas – Don’t come here unless it’s a Thursday or Friday (they do whole hog barbecue on the first Saturday of every month). Make sure to get a beef rib, brisket, spare ribs, turkey…who are we kidding. Get it all.

Harris BBQ; Cedar Hill The new location along the highway service road may not look like much, but it’s what’s inside that counts. Don’t sleep on the pulled pork, but it’s the meaty ribs and the sliced brisket sandwich on Texas toast that keep ’em coming back.

Heim BBQ; Fort Worth – They’ve settled nicely into their new digs and now have the glorious beef rib on the menu daily. All of the barbecue is solid, but of course the bacon burnt ends get lots of love for good reason.

Hutchins BBQ; McKinney – The line is pretty steady through the lunch and dinner rushes, but it moves fast. Weekends mean Texas twinkies, which are giant stuffed jalapeños. The brisket and ribs are also excellent, and the smoked chicken is some of the best anywhere.

Lockhart Smokehouse; Dallas, Plano, and Arlington – The Dallas and Plano operations are stand-alone, while the new Arlington location is part of the Texas Live! development in Arlington. As always, Friday through Sunday are the most crowded, so get here early, or just come on a weekday. They cook in two batches every day, so the meat is fresh for dinner.

Pecan Lodge; Dallas – Yes, people wait over an hour here for meat, but you don’t have to. There’s an express line for those who want to order more than five pounds of meat. “The Trough,” which includes a bit of each meat, counts toward this minimum, so bring some friends (or make some) and order the Trough with little to no wait. Don’t miss the fried chicken either.

Terry Black’s Barbecue; Dallas – While the Top 50 designation was for the original Austin location, a second Terry Black’s has opened in the Deep Ellum neighborhood. Early signs are good that it can match the quality of the original.

Top 5 BBQ; DeSotoSadly, this joint closed in early 2019, though their barbecue operation has been resurrected on a smaller scale at the Greene’s new food truck, KG’s Pitmaster BBQ.

FROM THE 2019 BEST NEW BBQ LIST:

Panther City BBQ; Fort Worth – They’ve traded their food truck for a brick-and-mortar on the same lot. Pork belly burnt ends are on the menu, but the prize is found when they’re stuffed into a bacon-wrapped jalapeño. The brisket also shines.

Smoke Sessions BBQ; Royse City – There’s nothing this food truck puts out that isn’t worth traveling for. The brisket and ribs are standouts, and the house-made sausage alone makes them noteworthy. A brick-and-mortar location is also under way.

Panther City BBQ's brisket elote cup.

Panther City BBQ’s brisket elote cup.

Photograph by Trevor Paulhus

DALLAS:

18th & Vine BBQ* – The burnt ends are better than any in Kansas City, and fried okra is the best in town. For lunch, rumor is that those burnt ends are even better on a grilled cheese.

Baby Back Shak – Where else can you get boudin as a side item? The ribs and cornish hen are the stellar smoked meat options here.

Back Country Bar-B-Q – Open for lunch and dinner daily, this is a good spot for brisket-stuffed potatoes and a generously layered barbecue po-boy.

Bakers Ribs – The namesake ribs are always solid, and the fried pies made fresh daily are great for any meal of the day.

Big Al’s Smokehouse – Ask for fatty brisket, and don’t come here without ordering some of their sweet glazed pork ribs.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit – The barbecue at Dickey’s is what you’d expect from a multi-national chain, but the original, which opened in Dallas in 1941, is still operating.

Ferris Wheelers Backyard & BBQ* – Come early or late every day for a taste of smoky brisket, sweet ribs, and you’ll even get a chance to ride the real live Ferris wheel in back.

Hardeman’s BBQ* – Few names in Dallas barbecue go back further than Hardeman. It’s hard to choose between the soul food and the barbecue, but ribs and banana pudding are always the right answer here.

Mike Anderson’s BBQ House – Solid barbecue and a huge array of sides are available until they close the doors at 2:30 p.m.

Mac’s Bar-B-Que* – Only open for weekday lunches from 11-2. Expect a great chopped beef sandwich and some of the best fries in Dallas.

Odom’s Bar-B-Que – Open 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. The smoky pork ribs coated with the thin barbecue sauce are a perfect match for the excellent greens and mac & cheese.

Off the Bone Barbeque – They close up shop early (5 p.m.) during the week, but you can quench your craving for good brisket and ribs until midnight on the weekends. Don’t miss the fried corn.

One90 Smoked Meats* – It’s more of a smoked meat sandwich shop than a barbecue joint. The duck BLT is incredible as is the smoked Reuben sandwich, and the smoked cheesesteak.

Peggy Sue BBQ – Open until 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Get the saucy baby back ribs, and don’t forget the fried pies.

The Slow Bone Barbeque* – Great smoked meats in Dallas without a line, and ridiculously good sides to go with it all. Try all three sausages, or just get a pile of fatty brisket. Also check for other brisket-based specials, like chili-mac and Frito pies, for another way to enjoy smoked beef. Expect the “sold out” sign at 2 p.m.

Smokey Joe’s Bar-B-Q* – The old brick pit is gone and has been replaced by steel offset smokers. The change has improved the smoked brisket immensely, and the ribs are as good as ever.

Smokey John’s Bar-B-Que* – The soul food sides go best with the pork ribs and the homemade beef sausage.

Smoky Rose – Valets and servers aren’t the norm in Texas barbecue, but they pull it off here with solid barbecue and great appetizers like house-smoked salmon.

Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse – This is an old-school joint with a good chopped beef sandwich and cool school desks for seating, and it’s the only Texas barbecue joint open 24/7.

A sliced brisket sandwich with chili and cheese at the Slow Bone in Dallas.

Photograph by Daniel Vaughn

FORT WORTH:

Angelo’s – This is the best of the living legends. I like the the ribs better than the brisket, but the cold beer helps if the meat isn’t up to par.

Bailey’s Bar-B-Que – They’re only open on weekdays, and only until 4 p.m. Don’t expect to eat anything that doesn’t come on a bun, but be sure to add some of their spicy sauce to whatever you order.

Cousin’s Bar-B-Q* – Ask for the brisket fatty, and grab a slice of homemade cake if there’s any left.

Cowtown Brewing* – This is mostly the same menu can be found at their Mansfield location, but inside a craft brewery. Come on Friday for a massive smoked pork chop special.

Billy’s Oak Acres Bar-B-Que – They have great barbecue, incredible desserts, and a few good local beers on tap.

Campo Smokehouse* – They picked up where Flores BBQ left off in Fort Worth. They took over the old trailer, and have made the menu their own. However, they’ve just taken a break through the winter of 2019-2020 and haven’t announced a re-opening date.

Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Q – Open until 8:30 on weekdays and 9:30 on Friday and Saturday. Get a beef rib and a Big Chop along with a bucket of longnecks.

Derek Allan’s Texas BBQ* – Now serving breakfast, this little joint puts out their own house made sausage, and every bit of beef on the menu is Wagyu.

Joe Riscky’s Barbeque* – Joe split from the family business to open his own shop the grounds of Wild Acre Brewing. The meats are all admirable, and don’t forget about the sides, including the incredible butter beans with ham.

Off the Bone* – It’s hard to find better smoked ribs than the simply seasoned baby backs they serve here.

Railhead Smokehouse BBQ – This rival to Angelo’s pumps out decent smoked meats, but they sell a whole lot more beer in schooners.

Riscky’s Bar-B-Q – The Sundance Square location stays open until 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 11 p.m. on the weekends. That means $10 AYCE beef back ribs until late into the night.

Smoke-A-Holic’s BBQ* – This new joint in southeast Fort Worth smokes excellent brisket and turkey, with great sides and desserts too. Get a real bargain with a pound of their rib tips.

Smokey’s Barbeque – Open until 8 p.m. during the week and 9 p.m. on the weekends. Get the sweet glazed ribs and a slice of buttermilk pie.

Woodshed Smokehouse – Open until 11 p.m. daily. The ribs are good, but the best item here is the lamb brisket when available. The beer list is impressive compared to other local barbecue joints.

Smoke A Holics

Sliced brisket, smoked turkey, and rib tips from Smoke-A-Holics in Fort Worth.

Photograph by Daniel Vaughn

MID-CITIES:

Berry Best BBQ; Watauga – Lunch and dinner every day, but Sunday means plenty of chopped beef sandwiches and zesty ribs.

David’s Barbecue; Pantego – The chopped beef sandwich and homemade onion rings alone are worth the trip, but the ribs, slaw, and sauce are great too.

Green’s Texas Bar-B-Q; Euless* – The whole menu is solid at this Saturday-only food truck, but be sure to ask for a deep-fried brisket biscuit.

Zavala’s Barbecue; Grand Prairie* – Flawless brisket is the prize for stopping in on either Friday and Saturday at this joint, which was the first to bring truly excellent barbecue to the mid-cities area.

Chopped beef sandwich and rings at David’s BBQ in Pantego.

FOOTBALL/BASEBALL/NASCAR:

Here are a couple of places to find quality barbecue near a Cowboys or Rangers game in Arlington or a NASCAR race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Hurtado BBQ; Arlington* – There’s a building under construction that’s the future home of Hurtado BBQ. For now they’re serving great brisket and beef ribs out in front of the building on Friday evening and starting at 11 on Saturday.

Lockhart Smokehouse; Arlington – The Dallas and Plano operation are stand-alone, while the new Arlington location is part of the Texas Live! development right between the homes of the Rangers and the Cowboys.

Hard Eight Pit BBQ; Roanoke – This is the newest location of this mini-chain, and it’s just minutes from Texas Motor Speedway. The barbecue is good, but the best deal is the made-to-order 16-ounce ribeye cooked over live mesquite coals.

A ribeye from Hard Eight Pit BBQ.

AIRPORT:

Sometimes you have just the length of a layover to get your Texas barbecue fix. These will all do the trick, but take a taxi or rideshare off airport property for best results.

Bartley’s Bar-B-Q; Grapevine – 4.1 miles from the north entrance of DFW Airport. Get the ribs and the pecan cobbler.

Hard Eight Pit BBQ; Coppell – 4 miles from the north entrance of DFW Airport. Order an array of barbecue straight from the pits.

Meat U Anywhere BBQ; Grapevine (& Trophy Club)* – 4.5 miles from the north entrance of DFW Airport. They’ve got you covered for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Get the brisket or splurge on smoked beef tenderloin.

North Main BBQ; Euless – 4.4 miles from the south entrance of DFW Airport. Take a quick trip through the buffet, but don’t come unless it’s Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

Cousin’s Bar-B-Q; DFW Airport/Three locations in Terminal B – This is the best barbecue inside DFW Airport.

Salt Lick BBQ; DFW Airport/Gate A16 – If you can’t get out of the airport for your barbecue, you can get a fine chopped beef sandwich here.

Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse; DFW Airport/Gate E13 – You can’t go wrong with an order of these hand-battered onion rings.

A brisket sandwich from Tender Smokehouse in Celina.

THE HINTERLANDS:

Not all the good stuff fits inside the major city limits, but every one of these joints warrants a mini road trip. You can even hit them all up in a single epic journey, but be prepared to put about 250 miles on your car.

407 BBQ; Argyle* – The new building on the other side of I-35W from the original location is far more comfortable with a bigger menu including smoked meatloaf and several brisket burgers.

Bakers Ribs; Weatherford – Open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. The namesake ribs are fantastic, and the fried pies made fresh daily are great for any meal of the day.

Big D BBQ; Mansfield – Open until 9 p.m. every day but Sunday, come by for excellent baby back ribs, country ribs, and impressive sides. They also have a vast array of beers on tap.

Del Norte Tacos; Godley – Get a chile relleno stuffed with smoked brisket or pork, and you’ll leave happy.

Frank’s Holy Smoke BBQ; Ovilla – They don’t serve any small plates of food here, and the mound of barbecue atop the baked potato puts all other joints to shame.

Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery; Garland – It’s hard to pass the long bar and the wall lined with taps (of course they brew all the beer), but make your way to the back of the room to the barbecue counter. Try the brisket and ribs or look for the smoked bologna special.

Jambo’s BBQ Shack; Rendon (and in Arlington) – They make their own beef sausage here, and it’s fantastic. The giant pork chops and the even bigger five-meat Jambo Texan sandwich are both worth the trip. Lunch only.

Juicy Pig BBQ; Denton – A vegetarian smoked jackfruit sandwich is better than it sounds, and so is a scoop of potato salad in the smoked gumbo.

Local Yocal BBQ and Grill; McKinney* – The smoked chicken-fried steak is a standout the lunch or dinner menu. Come for lunch for a bigger barbecue variety, and the steaks at dinner are great too.

Longoria’s BBQ; Everman – Come for the unique brisket sausage, and be sure to bring home some of their homemade beef jerky.

Marty B’s; Bartonville – This massive restaurant takes on more of a steakhouse feel at night. For lunch get the 44 Farms brisket, bacon-wrapped stuffed jalapeños, or the smoked meatloaf special.

Meshack’s Bar-B-Que; Garland* – Snag an always-satisfying rib plate, or go for an overstuffed “Da Jasper” sandwich. You’ll have to take it to-go unless you can find a big enough pecan stump for a makeshift table.

Randy’s Bar-B-Que; Red Oak – The ribs and fatty brisket can be great here.

Stiky Ribz BBQ; Forney* – Having outgrown their food truck, Stiky Ribz BBQ now has a brick-and-mortar next door. The ribs are indeed great, as are the half pound barbecue sandwiches.

Tender Smokehouse; Celina (and Frisco)* – One of the best brisket sandwiches you can find is the one here served on buttered Texas toast.

*Denotes our favorite joints around the area that aren’t already on the Top 50 list.

DALLAS/FT. WORTH BBQ MAP: