Dustin Reynolds and Tyler Derryberry want T&D Barbecue, just outside Fort Worth, to become the next breakout suburban barbecue joint. Since last November, T&D Barbecue has been serving barbecue every Saturday out of a food truck in Weatherford. In July, the partners will trade in that truck for a permanent home inside Pathfinder Brewery in Hudson Oaks, where the joint will be open Thursday through Sunday.*
Reynolds and Derryberry entered the barbecue business in early 2020 with bulk preorders for Super Bowl parties. In March—and this date should be setting off alarm bells—they bought a barbecue trailer. The pandemic delayed kicking off the business, but a few months later, Derryberry, Reynolds, and Reynolds’s wife Amanda Ogle hopped around to pop-ups in Granbury, Tolar, and Mineral Wells. They sold enough barbecue to purchase a five-hundred-gallon offset steel smoker from the welders at KCW Smokers, and eventually found a place to park the trailer in Weatherford.
“I wasn’t originally intending to be part of [the business],” Ogle admits, but her career as a freelance travel writer had stalled during the pandemic. She was put in charge of desserts, such as the joint’s spot-on banana pudding, and it’s a job she enjoys. She also handles the chore of tasting Reynolds’s loony recipe ideas before they’ve been refined into something T&D might actually serve. Recently, she says, he handed her a slice of peanut-butter-and-jelly sausage. She took a bite and gave an honest review: “That’s not going to sell. It’s gross.” Still, it reminded the couple of peanut sauce they’d had at Thai restaurants. They asked a Thai friend for direction, and he suggested adding panang curry paste and coconut milk. We owe this month’s specialty sausage, the Bangkok Banger, to him.
The only other time I’ve had nuts in a sausage was with an ill-conceived pecan-pie link, so the Bangkok Banger was an improvement. I enjoyed the spice and the subtle sweetness from the peanuts, but this wasn’t as compelling as, say, a link of the Thai green chile boudin from Blood Bros. BBQ in Bellaire. I’d probably sooner ask for another link of T&D’s expertly made Jalapeño-Jack sausage, which was the other sausage on offer. Every sausage is made from ground pork shoulder. The menu will always include staples like the Jalapeño-Jack, along with changing unconventional offerings like the Bangkok Banger or next month’s chicken-spaghetti sausage, which combines ground chicken and pork. In July, Ogle and Reynolds are planning to recreate last year’s popular peach, serrano, and Muenster cheese sausage, which is an homage to the Parker County Peach Festival. Reynolds is also certain he can pull off a blue-cheese sausage that is blue in color. I’m pulling for peaches.
By July, Reynolds will have quit his job at the local Ford dealership to shepherd the opening of the new brick-and-mortar location. He’s looking forward to four days of service per week, rather than just one, to hone his recipes and processes. The garlic-heavy corn needs some attention, while the comforting pepper-jack mac and cheese is further along. He just switched to a new recipe for potato salad, so no future customers will experience the large chunks of soggy bacon I got in mine (warm, crisp, chopped bacon will now be sprinkled on top just before serving). He’ll also test a smaller-gauge black pepper on the ribs, rather than the pepper that rolled like pebbles off the surface of my otherwise well-smoked sparerib.
The heavy coating of black pepper works just fine on the briskets supplied by Texas producer 44 Farms. They’re smoked over oak until tender, and were moist and satisfying when sliced off either the fatty or the lean end. The beef-cheek barbacoa was plenty juicy as well, and was served with pickled onions and a house-made chimichurri inside a hearty flour tortilla. Reynolds makes the tortillas with rendered beef fat harvested from brisket trimmings. The rest of the brisket trimmings are made into burgers, which weren’t available the day I visited. Ogle said I missed out by not trying the pulled pork, which is her favorite menu item, especially when served in a taco with peach pico de gallo.
For now, T&D is pushing the boundaries of what Weatherford clientele expect from a barbecue joint. Ogle said some customers balk at the $26-per-pound price for smoked brisket, and others are surprised that T&D makes its own sausage, sides, pickles, and barbecue sauce. I appreciate the creativity and dedication to making things from scratch, even when they don’t quite hit the mark. In its present state, T&D is what you might expect from some dedicated barbecue cooks who are new to the business (and maintain full-time jobs), but its future looks bright. T&D’s got the important stuff—brisket, sausage, and tortillas—down, and the rest is easy enough to tweak. “Everything’s about to change once we sign that lease,” Ogle says, noting that she might even get back to travel writing now that Reynolds will soon be in the barbecue business full time. My guess is that Derryberry won’t be far behind, and another Fort Worth suburb will have a craft barbecue gem.
*Editor’s note: T&D Barbecue will no longer move their operation to Pathfinder Brewery in Hudson Oaks, but will remain at their current location in Weatherford. They will expand their service there from Saturday-only to Thursday through Saturday.
1110 E. Bankhead Dr., Weatherford
Hours: Saturday 11–sold out
Pitmasters: Dustin Reynolds and Tyler Derryberry
Method: Oak in an offset smoker
Year opened: 2020