I’m speechless…I, a jaded native Texan raised on “real deal,” small-town barbeque joints, just tasted the best beef brisket of my life. And it was a big, brash extroverted version of the dish, dressed up to make a statement with a complex mixture of spices, flavors and textures.
Last Sunday, Sarah and I ventured south of downtown Dallas to the Farmers Market food shed to check out Pecan Lodge. We’d heard about it from friends and a rapturous review by Guy Fieri of the Food Channel. We arrived 30 minutes before opening, only to find at least 100 people in line ahead of us. Rather than waste a Sunday morning, (especially since they stop serving when they run out of food. Rumor has it they place a “Slim Pickin’s” sign around the neck of the person in line they think will be last and he/she gets a free meal.), we vowed to come back early Thursday morning.
And so we did…This time, 30 minutes before the 11 a.m. opening, only 10 people stood in line, which gave us just enough time to peruse the small, but unique menu. We knew we wanted to sample the meats, but a baked sweet potato? Mac and cheese? How good could they really be? The man ahead of us heard my skepticism and said “Even if you don’t like sweet potatoes, I think you’ll like this one.”
So we ordered up a sampling of all the meats (beef brisket, pulled pork, sausage, ribs), “The Hot Mess” (loaded baked sweet potato), the mac and cheese and sat down in the food court to enjoy.
All the meats were good. The homemade sausage, its casing stuffed full of coarsely ground, but nicely seasoned pork, gave a nod to the sturdy country saucisse I’ve had in Alsace. The smoky pork ribs literally fell off the bone as I ate them, practically melting in my mouth. But the brisket on the sandwich…ahhh! It was the super-star. A deep, smoky flavor -what all barbeque joint aspire to- infused every bite. And how to explain the complexity? A rich combination of piquant spices, salt and lingering sweetness on chunks of crisp, but juicy and chewy, but crunchy beef. It was amazing.
And the gentleman in line ahead of us was right. I loved the sweet potato, largely because it was just a vessel for the brisket, chipotle cream, cheese and onions covering it. Again, I’ve never tasted anything quite like that before.
- Pecan Lodge is only open four days a week: Thursday-Sunday, 11 am to 3 pm (or until the food runs out) and, if you’re not familiar with Dallas, it’s in a rather out-of-the-way location.
- Go early on a Thursday to avoid the crowd