DALGuide

The Best BBQ In Dallas, Ranked

Where to go for tender brisket, sauce with a kick, and more in a city with stiff competition.
Dallas bbq

photo credit: Nancy Farrar

Dallas is a place with just as many signs for barbecue as cowboy boots. There’s a lot to choose from, whether you want the Central Texas-style of smoked meats pioneered by German and Czech immigrants during the 1800s, or places inspired by other cuisines serving Laotian sausage or cajun rice-stuffed turkey legs. You could spend days, even weeks, hitting up every smoke pit across town. 

That’s where we come in: to help point you in the direction of the moistest brisket, and the places with ribs so juicy you won’t be salty about waiting in line next to tourists complaining about the Texas heat. Here are the absolute best barbecue spots in Dallas—we even went ahead and ranked them. We also have guides to the best barbecue in Houston, Austin, and Lockhart, plus all the other great restaurants in Dallas when you can’t face another plate of beef. 

THE SPOTS


photo credit: Pecan Lodge

BBQ

Deep Ellum

$$$$Perfect For:Quick EatsLunchBig Groups
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The pinnacle of Texas-style barbecue is brisket, and Pecan Lodge does it the best. They serve beef so tender that it might just fall to shreds before you can get a fork of it to your mouth, and the simple salt, pepper, and a secret spice blend lets the high-quality meat shine through. And while brisket is the main attraction, it’d be a mistake not to try the Texas-sized (see: huge) fried chicken with crispy skin and moist meat, creamy potato salad, and mac and cheese with crunchy bacon bits. The airy dining room is where we post up when it’s 100 degrees out—otherwise, catch us outside on the patio listening to live music (this is Deep Ellum, after all) while finishing up the meal with their gooey peach cobbler. 

There’s no doubt Terry Black serves great brisket, ribs the size of boomerangs, and zesty jalapeño cheddar sausage. But this barbecue spot does sides and dessert like no other. Here, the cream corn has a perfect balance of spicy and sweet, with just enough capsaicin kept at bay by the cream cheese base. The smooth banana pudding is topped by a thick layer of whipped cream and gets some welcomed texture from wafer crumble. It all goes to show why it was only a matter of time before this Lockhart-born institution expanded into Austin and Dallas (and comes first in our barbecue ranking in its hometown).

Braving traffic on the I-30 is worth it for the barbecue and social scene at Goldee’s. Both the pork and beef ribs are standouts, which are a little less smokey than other places, but they’re so big that you’ll suck on them with the gusto of a dehydrated hamster on its water dispenser. If you swing by and they’re serving the Laotian sausage, you should get an order. The hints of lemongrass and basil in the meat go well with the jeow som spicy dipping sauce and a little scoop of sticky rice. There’s always a line and it sometimes takes three hours to get through, so come early or commit to camping out on a lawn chair. Strike up a conversation with whoever’s next to you in the queue—they’re probably fellow barbecue academics serious about getting their Texas BBQ doctorate. Or it might just be Jon Hamm.

Lockhart Smokehouse is the spot for heat lovers. The barbecue sauce has a kick, the brisket coleslaw packs a punch, and even the cayenne pepper-dusted deviled eggs come with little bits of the shreddy beef. Their Oak Cliff location brings together a nice mix of the neighborhood, where white-collar workers roll up their Jos. A. Bank shirt sleeves and local regulars swap chisme while eating off restaurant-supplied butcher paper. Lockhart Smokehouse also comes from a powerful barbecue lineage: it’s owned by a cousin of the people who run Kreuz Market in Texas’ barbecue capital (you know, Lockhart).

Loro, a smokehouse from the chefs behind Uchi and Franklin Barbecue, has food you won’t find at other barbecue spots in town. They remix Lone Star favorites with Asian flavors, making tasty creations like brisket seasoned with Thai herbs and sweet-and-sour sauce. Get some of that, plus the chicken karaage and grilled zucchini that comes with just the right amount of char. Portions here are on the smaller side, which might seem annoying at first, but it’s nice to come to a barbecue spot where you can share a bunch of dishes without feeling stuffed. The dining room at the East Dallas location has long tables, making it easy to spread out and have an easy lunch or chill dinner.

Sammie’s is the place to experience a Dallas barbecue legend. Sam Gibbins Sr. used to own Smoke Pit for 56 years, serving DFW’s juiciest pork chop until closing down in 2018. He took over and renovated Sammie’s before passing it over to his son, who keeps the family legacy alive and offers the two-inch slab of meat on Fridays. This spot doubles as a second home for local dads wearing AC/DC T-shirts and arguing about Texas sports—join them for the big pork chop and huge portions of vinegar-based coleslaw and baskets of fried okra, along with a couple of ice-cold Miller Lites. 

Really good barbecue in Texas pops up in unlikely places—just take Qulinary Oasis for example. We’ve followed this pitmaster and his smoker all around Dallas to farmers markets, music festivals, and other community events just to get a taste of the smoked-crusted turkey leg that puts state fairs to shame. It comes in different specials depending on the day, whether it’s stuffed with cajun rice and smothered in alfredo sauce or packed with seafood. While you’re waiting for your food, talk to the pitmaster’s wife about their son’s upcoming football games—she’s often the one ringing up orders and chopping it up with customers. You can track Qulinary’s meat migration patterns around town on Instagram.

While blue jeans were practically made to eat barbecue in, Douglas Bar and Grill is more of a slacks and dress shirt kind of place where you might see Mark Cuban. You can go ahead and ignore most of the $30-50 entrees, like salmon glazed with Texas honey, various smoked meats, and a wagyu surf and turf that’s pretty good. That’s because the move is to get the Douglas burger: a double smash patty topped with pimento cheese, barbecue sauce, and pulled pork. It’s massive and the condiments pull together the savory flavors of its parts. There’s also a great weekday Happy Hour with $10 Old Fashioneds, martinis, and appetizers like fried pickles. 

Cattleack is the go-to barbecue spot for catering large groups in DFW, so don’t be surprised if you find it at your cousin’s SMU graduation party. But the restaurant is the move for a BYOB weekday lunch (Wednesday through Friday, only) for juicy charred brisket that comes in you’ll-definitely-have-leftover portions. If you’re the designated table leader, tack on some pork ribs, burnt ends, and their deliciously-moist turkey for an ideal spread. It’s also worth checking out on the first Saturday of the month, the only weekend they’re open, for specials like pastrami brisket and smoked wagyu tenderloin.

Yes, Mo’ Bettahs is a chain, but it’s also where you can simultaneously get some of the best boneless meats and Hawaiian food in the city limits. Order the teriyaki chicken and kalua pig, both of which have a tint of smokiness that pairs well with the tangy-and-sweet signature teri sauce and creamy macaroni salad. About 20 minutes away from downtown, Mo’ Bettahs is a great option after walking around White Rock Lake or schlepping shopping bags through NorthPark Center mall.

Slow Bone makes our favorite barbecue work lunch, so it’s where you (and the cubicle crowd from nearby offices) can get some quick smoked meats and a hit of 1pm barbecue sauce. They have a reasonably priced and consistent menu of brisket, pork ribs, and other expected meats, but their fried chicken is the crispy dark horse. Get it in sandwich form so you can also enjoy a nice bit of heat from chimichurri slaw and sriracha aioli. The mac and cheese is some of the gooiest north of the Trinity River and you should always finish your meal with the sugary-crusted sweet potato praline.

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