One of the top “food” spots planned for our trip was to make it to Pecan Lodge, in Dallas. We have an office in downtown Dallas, and I had heard about the consistently excellent barbecue they were putting out from their prior location in the farmers’ market. But I never seemed to be in town, and near the office at lunch time (they are only open for lunch Sunday and Tuesday – Thursday, all day on Friday and Saturday), on a day they were open. So when we planned this cross country sojourn, this was one of the points I stuck a pin in.
We arrived about twenty minutes before they opened, at 11:00, and found a place to park, around back. Keep in mind that most all parking in Deep Ellum is pay parking. In fact, if you think you’re parking somewhere that doesn’t require paying, you likely missed a sign. I did see a note on some comments about Pecan Lodge that there was a free parking lot two blocks away. Could be. Walking around the corner to the front, we passed the doors above and were hit with a wave of barbecue smoke. “I love the smell of barbecue in the morning. It smells like victory!”
There was already a line of about thirty in front of us, waiting for the door to open. As you walk in, the line queues off to the left, behind the half-wall that you see above. There also is a separate counter in the middle of the restaurant where there’s a minimum order of five pounds (I did consider that line). As we were coming in, the bartender was walking across the restaurant and said that we could sit at the bar and order, which we did. This effectively cut the line in half, for us. (There’s a tip for you)
Whether you order at the bar, or at the counter, they take your name and then call it when your order is ready. You then pick up your tray(s) at the window into the kitchen (showing your receipt) along the back wall. Please let me disclaim that almost all of the food that you see on the trays below is mine. We actually started with three trays when I went to pick them up, but they combined them into two so that I could carry them.
My dear one ordered the Hot Mess (actual name) that you see in the container at the bottom left of the above photo. The Hot Mess is a sea salt-crusted baked sweet potato, topped with South Texas barbacoa, chipotle cream, cheese, butter and green onions. I tasted enough to know that it was very good – the mix of the smoky cream with the cheese and the seasonings on the brisket made for a great meal, in and of itself.
I had decided on ordering a three meat combo. When was I going to be back? I decided on brisket, a pork rib and the jalapeño beef sausage, with a side of mac-n-cheese. They also have a beef rib that you can’t get on the combo plate – they’re all too large. Then I heard the bartender tell the guy sitting across from us that today’s special was burnt ends – they weren’t on the menu, but they had them. Burnt ends? I hadn’t had those in forever. The truthful answer to that was I had eaten burnt ends yesterday afternoon. And the night before that.
The mac-n-cheese was topped with bacon and green peppers – how can you go wrong with that? They did not, as it was very good – creamy and a little spicy. And honestly, I don’t remember the sauce – the meats were that flavorful. The jalapeño sausage was good (very peppery), with a lot of snap and the rib was very good (good smoke ring). But the brisket was better than either – moist, smoky and fork-tender. It was excellent, even the lean end.
The first bite that I took of the burnt ends may the best single bite of barbecue I’ve ever eaten. It definitely was the best that I have had in a long time. Crispy bark, tender brisket and caramelized fat – it could not have been tastier.
The only complaint I can come up with is the $0.50 charge to add a dinner roll to your meal. When you’re spending $15+ a piece on lunch, it seems kind of chintzy. Really? It’s a King’s Hawaiian dinner roll.
That being said, I would go back tomorrow. I just wouldn’t order the bread. I see why most every review I read says that they have the best barbecue in Dallas. They’re right.