Bryan McLarty doesn’t like to run out of barbecue at 407 BBQ, in Argyle, but that’s been harder to avoid since he started offering the Jack Reubie. The pastrami sandwich, which first hit the specials board at the beginning of the month, has been more popular than expected. A seven-day cure for the pastrami means McLarty had to forecast the demand, so he ran out of the stuff altogether last week. This week, McLarty promises a steady supply in hopes that anyone who would like to try the Jack Reubie can get their hands on one.
McLarty cures and smokes brisket flats for the pastrami. The slices have a great smoky flavor, and the peppery bark has a crunch to it. Pastrami is salty, so McLarty pairs it with a sweet bun, a warm, eight-inch hoagie roll. The sandwich’s name is an obvious reference to Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who killed Lee Harvey Oswald, President Jack Kennedy’s assassin. There’s a layer of melted jack cheese as well as sauerkraut and Russian dressing (as expected on a good Reuben). The dressing is made in-house with chunks of onion and dill pickle. I enjoyed the dressing’s subtle difference in acidity from the kraut, and although I wasn’t sure about a Reuben that didn’t use rye, the sweet bun worked. And at $11.50 for the sandwich, there is no skimping on the pastrami—they add at least a half pound to every sandwich.
Pastrami is just one item McLarty can prepare now that he has the room to work. His first barbecue joint was a small, mobile version with just a few tables on the other side of I-35W. The new 407 BBQ, which opened in February, is much larger, with plenty of storage space. McLarty recently added a third walk-in cooler that provides the real estate needed to store vats of pastrami in the process of curing. He even said with all the space they have, they might explore making their own sauerkraut. He added: “making our own pickles is on the horizon.”
Among the other new menu offerings is a beef sausage. “It’s our first house-made sausage,” he said. They’ll continue to smoke the sausages they’ve been serving from Syracuse Sausage, in nearby Ponder, but the new hot link should be available every day. “We want to have a nice variety,” McLarty said, but the new sausage is just as much about being more profitable. “I’m not one to waste anything,” McLarty said, and that includes all those beef trimmings from the brisket. They had all gone into the smoked meatloaf, but that was no longer enough. As popular as the smoked brisket has become, he simply has too much brisket trim. The kitchen even melts down tallow to cook some of their side dishes. McLarty has so much tallow he may end up selling it by the jar.
When it first opened in 2016, 407 BBQ served a classic Texas barbecue menu. The options have steadily expanded, and since they’ve moved it’s sometimes hard to keep up with all the new specials. McLarty hinted that there was plenty more to come this year. He has finally started making brisket chili again for the season and said he was working on some other sandwiches; he even mentioned test batches of smoked meatballs. When I asked him how he was keeping all his new projects straight, McLarty laughed and said, “Wait until we start rolling out our potpies.”