Dallas BBQ Trip – February 2024

We, the barbecue lovers, visited Dallas for our latest BBQ trip (if you are waiting for our Boston tripreview, here’s a travel rule: don’t go to Boston for bbq. Go for the lobster rolls!!!)

A four hour jaunt for the writer from his home in Houston. We are always looking for new locations for good BBQ and we decided to go with the tried and true Texas city.  While it isn’t Austin (aka BBQ heaven), we decided to give it a shot.

We started our trip with Slow Bone. They are in the middle of a bunch of business parks so there is not much to do around Slow Bone but you aren’t reading this to decide to do things other than BBQ right? For a refresher, our scale is excellent, great, good, poor, and try something else. We decided to go for a half pound of brisket, a quarter pound of pulled pork, and a beef rib. We also had gotten dill pickles. For the first time in our BBQ history, we decided against sides. They have you pay 5.50 for a small container of each side and we didn’t feel like we wanted to, monetarily, after getting the beef rib. Warning: beef ribs are expensive, even if you get a small one! Al saying: you really are paying so much for a big bone. Here’s how we graded everything:

  • Pulled pork: Excellent – Eric, Great – Al
    Notes: A lot of great flavor that pulled pork doesn’t usually have! – Eric
  • Brisket (Fatty): Great – Eric, Great – Al
    Notes: Soft with a good smokey flavor – Al
  • Beef Rib: Good – Eric, Good – Al
    Notes: Not sure if I’d say it’s worth it but you should try a beef rib sometime in your life. This one was not bad but lot of fat moved the rating down for me – Eric

We also wanted to talk about sauces and drinks. The sauces were forgettable. They tasted fine, just nothing memorable. The drinks were standard fountain drinks and, while we normally wouldn’t mention the drinks, the cups were big! Fantastic for driving with in the car afterwards! I recommend the Maine blueberry soda!

Next, we went to Frisco, a shortish drive north to visit the National Videogame Museum. While small, it houses a lot of great history for fans of both videogames and the eras in which videogaming grew. One thing this writer found to be delightful was a copy of Doom (playable) modded to be the layout of the very museum we were in! The staff gives you a few tokens per person with entry fee to play some arcade cabinets at the end of your tour.

After we left, we decided to play catch at a field nearby. A word of caution: make sure you find an actual park. A lot of places say they have a park on Google maps and it’s in a gated community. Live and learn!

We headed back for a nap (relaxation for BBQ adventurers is a must) and head to Smokey John’s. First of all, there are no prices on their big menu which felt misleading to this average consumer. They did have small laminated menus nearby that did have prices, but it felt weird.

Okay Smokey John’s earned it’s name! Smoke was the name of the game on all the meats we tried (except the brisket, weirdly enough. It was not bad but not filled with smoke like the others). All of the sides we tried were a hit and the sauce was good too. We had the turkey sandwich plate and the po boy (brisket and sausage) sandwich plate. Here are our rankings:

  • Turkey: Poor – Al, Good – Eric
    Notes: Texture was not what I expected, it came from more of a turkey roll than actual turkey. – Al, Smoke was overpowering but tasty. – Eric
  • Sausage: Great – Al, Great – Eric
    Notes: Love the smoke and flavor!
  • Brisket: Great – Al, Good – Eric
  • Mac and cheese: Great – Al, Great – Eric
  • Cole Slaw: Excellent – Al, Excellent – Eric
  • Beans: Great – Al, Great – Eric

The sides were very good! Portion sizes were the right amount, however Al wishes he had more Cole Slaw. A pretty awesome meal in general! Go!

We finished the night with trivia! Orrrr we tried to but the area that we went to had too many people and not enough parking spots! Oh well! We had a great night regardless.

Our first stop the next day was Oak’d BBQ. We got there just as they opened and they seemed unprepared to serve at the beginning of the day. This happens, of course, as we were the first customers but definitely something I noticed.

We felt like we got generous enough portions of everything and got to try both sauces. Here are our rankings:

  • Beef Burnt Ends: Great – Al, Great – Eric
  • Beef brisket: Great – Al, Great – Eric
    Notes: The bark was amazing! – Al
  • Pork Burnt Ends: Great – Al, Great – Eric
    Notes: For something we haven’t tried before, it was very tasty – Eric
  • Pork butt: Poor – Al, Poor – Eric
    Notes: Dry and had little to no flavor. Ok with sauce – Eric
  • Mac salad: Good – Al, Good – Eric
  • Beans: Poor – Al, Poor – Eric
    Notes: Heavy vinegar overtones – Al, Watery, very close to the worst score
  • Mac and cheese: Good – Eric, Good – Al
  • Brussel Sprouts: Try something else – Eric, Try something else – Al
    Notes: Flavorless mush. Very overcooked. Had raisins and nuts in it for some reason. Get something else, like more Mac and cheese. – Eric

I was not overly enamored by the meal but it was serviceable. Both sauces were good but not memorable.

We took a trip to the George W Bush Presidential Library at SMU. It was pretty awesome, even if I’m not a big fan of the guy. I highly recommend you go to these libraries and brush up on your history. It’s important to be informed, even on non-BBQ related topics. After our trip to the library, we visited the Texas School Book Depository which, if you didn’t know, is the place Lee Harvey Oswald is said to have shot President John F Kennedy. Again, great history museum!

All that walking around just makes you hunger for BBQ right? Well, we tried to get to the Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum but again, it was in a place with no parking and all of the people. Not just some of the people, ALL of them! So, we made a change of plans. We looked at other places. Most highly recommended places were closed or had weird hours (Wish I only had to work from Wednesday to Friday too!)

We landed on Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse. This was not our first choice and Al was iffy about going but we didn’t want to result to that sacrilegious option on the BBQ trip: Eat non BBQ food! Soooo, we tried Sonny Bryan’s.

The ambiance was grungy and not in the good BBQ type way. A little disorganized and cluttered. We weren’t given a lot of direction and…it just seemed like a poorly put-together place

Here’s what our rankings are:

  • Pork ribs: poor – Eric, Did not try – Al
  • Sausage (regular): Good – Eric, Great -Al
  • Pulled pork: Good – Al, Good – Eric
    Notes: Needs the sauce – Eric
  • Potato salad: Good – Eric, Good – Al
    Notes: Felt it was grainy, but the taste won me over in the end – Eric
  • Cole slaw: Try something else – Eric, Poor – Al
    Notes: sour taste, texture is off. If I could put them lower, I would. I’m not finishing them – Eric (Al didn’t finish them so Eric wins…or loses)
  • Brisket (chopped): Good – Eric, Good – Al
  • Turkey: Great – Al, Good – Eric
  • Notes: I never claimed to be a turkey aficionado – Eric
  • Beans: Try something else – Al, Poor – Eric
    Notes: If I could put them lower, I would. I’m not finishing them – Al, I finished them – Eric
  • Roll: Didn’t want to rate it because it was “just a roll” – Al, Good – Eric

You can do better than this place in Dallas. Might we recommend Taco Bell?

The next morning, our last BBQ stop was at Heim BBQ. First of all, big portions! For everything, including sides! Pretty easy to find, across from Love Field and the staff seemed friendly. Here are our rankings:

  • Brisket: Great – Al, Great – Eric
    Notes: A little dry but the flavor is awesome – Eric
  • Turkey: Great – Al, Great – Eric
    Notes: Tastes dry at first bite but the moisture comes in and surprises you – Eric
  • Beans: Good – Al, Good – Eric
  • Potato salad: Great – Al, Great – Eric
  • Pulled pork: Great – Al, Great – Eric
    Notes: Doesn’t need sauce, the Hallmark of a great pulled pork
  • Bacon burnt ends: Excellent – Al, Great – Eric
    Notes: This is unique in our experience. Good texture and nice somewhat sweet bark – Al
  • Sausage: Good – Al, Great – Eric
  • Cole slaw: Good – Al, Good – Eric
    Notes: It was missing some flavor. Looked and tasted like purple cabbage. On second tasting, Eric raised his ranking from poor to good. – Al
  • Mac and cheese: Good – Al, Good – Eric
    Notes: The Green Chile added to it massively but otherwise it was just regular Mac and cheese – Eric

This writer has always championed having a large amount of food, but, fair warning, they will give you big amount. Make sure you are hungry and only get the three meat if you didn’t eat breakfast or maybe even the day before. Happy eating!

Eric’s favorite place was Heim, though he enjoys the smoke at Smokey John’s. Al’s favorite is Heim as well with his second being Oak’d BBQ. Just make sure to get the burnt ends! Both were fantastic!

And so ends our BBQ trip! Make sure you find the places that make you happy to be there, with the people that make you happy!

Illuminating the Path to Enlightenment