Friends Chris Magallanes and Ernest Morales, who worked together in the audiovisual world, won an amateur barbecue competition and, fortunately for the rest of us, let it go to their heads. A few years ago, they quit their jobs and opened a food truck outside Republic Street Bar, in Fort Worth’s vibrant Near Southside neighborhood. Now the truck is gone in favor of a permanent space that includes a covered patio. Massive yet tender spareribs are glazed with sweet barbecue sauce, while the moist smoked turkey has a spicy kick. House-made sausages burst with juice, and the pork belly burnt ends, now a Cowtown barbecue staple, are sweet, sticky, fatty morsels that eat like meat candy. Even more over-the-top are the pork belly poppers: burnt ends stuffed inside jalapeño halves along with a bit of cream cheese, then wrapped in bacon. The sensation of biting through the crisp bacon into the meltingly tender cube of pork and fat beneath is pure heaven. But the showstopper is the brisket elote. Layers of creamed corn, chopped brisket, queso fresco, cilantro, and hot sauce are a full meal in a cup. Don’t miss the borracho beans or the collard greens, and although we’re die-hard banana pudding lovers, we prefer the Nutter Butter cheesecake pudding.
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Panther City BBQ
Get in line early, because the ’cue sells out fast.