“The Trough” at Pecan Lodge in Dallas, TX. To me, the discussion on Texas BBQ really starts and ends with brisket. And Pecan Lodge has some of the best I have ever had. Pecan Lodge usually attracts a lot of tourists for the brisket and the beef rib. Veteran move is to skip the main line, go in the side entrance on the right of the building, and order The Trough (or any order of 5 pounds or more) in the express line. Save yourself a good 30 min to an hour standing outside in the Texas heat.
The Trough comes with a pound of brisket, one beef rib, a pound of pork ribs, half-pound of pulled pork, and three sausage links. Sides are ordered a la carte and are pretty average. The sauces here are fairly standard. They have one that is a thicker, most likely tomato-based sauce. And they have a thinner sauce that is probably vinegar based. The meat doesn’t really need any sauce though.
The brisket and beef rib have an excellent char on the outside and are my two favorite things here. The brisket slices you get usually range from lean to moist, so you get some different flavors. Even the lean brisket is tender and moist. The charred outside adds a great smoky, sweetness to the meat. The brisket has a buttery aftertaste and it just melts in your mouth.
I really like the beef rib because it is not served as often at other BBQ places. It has a nice peppery bark on the outside. Hard to describe, but you get some subtly different flavors from the beef rib as opposed to the brisket. The brisket flavor can be a bit overpowering at times, so I feel like the beef rib gives you a smoother flavor and the smokiness is a little more muted underneath the charred outside.
The pork ribs are great too. Very moist and have a nice glaze on the outside. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of BBQ sausage in general. Most people seem to like it here as it’s handmade, but I didn’t think it was anything too special. Same with the pulled pork. Next time I hit up the express line, I might just get five pounds of brisket and beef rib.
Ranking the best BBQ joints in Texas is a matter of great debate, but Pecan Lodge is the best I have had in Dallas so far. Lockhart Smokehouse is a great option as well. I have been to some great spots in Austin too, namely Freedmen’s and Mickelthwait Craft Meats. The best spot in Austin (and maybe the state) is generally considered to be Franklin BBQ, but I’ve yet to make it there. I would direct you to the recent ranking by Texas Monthly for some more in-depth analysis. http://www.texasmonthly.com/food/the-list-the-top-50-barbecue-joints-in-texas/