Rating: 4 Opened: 1968 Pitmaster: Shane Wilkinson, age 35 (since 2012) Method: Hickory; indirect-heat pit Pro tip: The pecan cobbler comes from the bakery next door.
We walked through the doors of this thoroughly nondescript suburban strip center spot and were greeted by the heavenly incense of smoked meat—which carried us to the counter in a happy daze. Next, came an unsolicited, excruciatingly upbeat testimonial from a fellow patron, waiting and antsy for service: “Best barbecue around!” he blurted out. Finally, we ordered, and the sensory experience we’d been waiting for unfolded: The brisket was ringed in deep maroon, and walloped with smoke flavor; a stack of short, juicy pork ribs hid their fatty goodness under a slightly sweet and crackly bark; and the sausage was spicy and flavorful.
413 E. Northwest Hwy., 817-481-3212. Open Tue–Thur 10:30–8, Fri & Sat 10:30–9. bartleysbbq.com