Fort Worth enjoys the best collection of young barbecue joints of any city in Texas. Just look at our most recent Top 50 list. But the city is missing in our just-published list of the best new barbecue joints in Texas. Fort Worth’s new Hurtado Barbecue is an Arlington transplant, Jefe’s Tex-Mex BBQ closed, and we’re still waiting on F1 Smokehouse to land. Because Brix Barbecue’s brick-and-mortar opened in late July, it narrowly missed our deadline for the new list, but it’s certainly the best new joint in town. Aside from the closing of the old trailer, dubbed the SmokeStream, so much has changed at Brix since I last reviewed it, in 2020.

The new restaurant had been in the works for a painfully long time for owner Trevor Sales. He and his investors closed on the property in 2021, and they secured construction permits in January 2022 to convert the former manufacturing facility for tiny homes into a barbecue joint. A new roof over the outdoor patio kicked in a requirement for a fire-sprinkler system that ended up adding a year to the construction schedule and $175,000 to the project costs. “It was the most disheartening, anxiety-driving process of my entire life,” Sales told me.

I’m sure he’d be happy to fill you in on all the frustrating details over a cold pint of Lone Star, the only beer on draft at Brix. There are plenty of other brews in cans, along with a full bar with many bourbon options and a carefully selected wine list. On Sales’s suggestion, I sampled a glass of Etiqueta Verde, an albariño from the Spanish winemaker Granbazán. The grapes are grown near the sea and take on the salinity of the ocean air. Sales described it as “a margarita in white wine form.”

Brix has expanded its hours from its trailer days, and it’s now open Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., though Sales said it’s been selling out of barbecue as early as 3:30 p.m. He’s added a second thousand-gallon smoker, and the aroma of fat dripping onto coals inside the direct-heat BQ grill permeates the air on the patio. That cooker is where co-pitmaster Jeremiah Jemente gets the sausage-link casings so taut—each bite snaps so clearly, it’s like a Hollywood sound effect. The jalapeño-cheese links are considered the house sausage and live on in my memory as one of the best versions in Texas; new flavors will be added on a rotating basis every month, starting in September. 

Brix Barbecue Feels Like a Whole New Joint
A spread from Brix Barbecue, including a smash burger with Dank sauce and pasta with brisket ragù.Photograph by Daniel Vaughn

Whatever issues I had with Brix in that three-year-old review have been ironed out. The beef-belly burnt ends that were chewy are now melt-in-your-mouth tender. A slice of fatty brisket was about as perfectly executed as it can get, with well-rendered fat, a stout bark, and a good dose of smoke. Spareribs were tender, with a sweet glaze, and the burger, which used to be reserved for Sunday evenings, is now on the daily menu. It’s a double-patty smash burger made with ground brisket and topped with melted cheese and Brix’s signature Dank sauce, which is like a thicker, more herbaceous ranch dressing. 

More fresh herbs transform a simple pork belly into what Brix calls Texas Porchetta (pronounced “por-ketta”). The belly meat is seasoned with thyme, parsley, lemon zest, and Calabrian chile oil before being rolled and tied for smoking. The dish brings an Italian flair to the menu, but it’s simpler than the traditional version, which usually includes loin, rib, and belly meat rolled inside crispy pigskin. This interpretation has a fat layer on the exterior with a stout bark covering a well-rendered fat cap. The long roll is sliced to order into spirals and can be eaten directly off the tray or in a sandwich. I loved the combination of rich, fatty pork, the bright flavor of lemon, and all those herbs.

A hearty new side has some Italian influence as well. “I make pasta at home a lot, and very rustic pasta dishes are my style,” Sales said, so he wanted to add a barbecue pasta to the Brix menu. The brisket ragù starts with Campari tomatoes that the cooks roast with fire in the pit room and then cook down for hours with chopped, smoked brisket, thick carrot slices, red wine, and parmesan. A hearty scoop of the ragù is spooned over cavatappi pasta and garnished with grated parmesan and basil. The deep-roasted tomato flavor goes well with the shreds of brisket, and a sweetness comes along with each bite of carrot. A single side of the dish could make a light lunch. The old butterfly pasta salad has been lightened up with a generous amount of shaved cucumbers, fresh parsley, and finely diced red onion. The elotes each get a dose of Dank sauce, cotija cheese, fresh cilantro, and Valentina hot sauce to bring some warmth to the roasted corn. 

The team is still trying to figure out how much barbecue to cook each day at Brix, but it’s producing at least triple the amount it served at the trailer, Sales said. It’s also doubled the size of the staff, added the bar, and will soon add an evening menu that’ll be familiar to those who enjoyed “Brix After Dark” on Sunday evenings at the old trailer. That menu will feature the smash burger, the Funkytown Hot Chicken sandwich (which is also on the regular menu), smoked and fried chicken wings, and rib baskets with fries. 

There isn’t anything I can find about the new Brix that isn’t an improvement over the old one, except the loss of the half chicken, which I hope is temporary. The chimichurri and the crisp skin the bird got with the direct-heat cooker made it stand out. One thing I certainly won’t miss is the parking enforcement at the old lot, which once nabbed me with a $50 ticket. The street parking on either side of the new building is free, but get there early if you don’t want to walk a ways in the Texas heat to the hottest new barbecue destination in Cowtown.

Brix Barbecue
1012 S. Main, Fort Worth
Phone: 219-363-6210
Hours: Thursday–Sunday 11–5
Pitmasters: Trevor Sales and Jeremiah Jemente
Method: Oak and pecan in an offset smoker
Year opened: 2017