Right now is my favorite time in Texas. Spring is starting to fade into summer meaning that it’s starting to warm up, but it is not yet hot enough to pack an extra shirt to change into after driving to work (kinda gross, but this is a real problem in Texas!). Weather aside, this is also the time of year that Texas Monthly releases its annual feature highlighting The Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas!
As a born-and-bred Texan, I am fully aware that BBQ is more than just food for many Texans – it is a way of life. Making great BBQ is a painstaking(ly slow) process from choosing the meat to cooking low and slow for many hours. For those who cook BBQ for the masses in Texas, making it to the Texas Monthly list is a right of passage.
This past weekend, my wife, dogs, and I made the trip to Stephenville, TX for wedding and I naturally had to make a couple pit stops along the way. We stopped by two great meat meccas featured on Texas Monthly’s list and, HOLY SMOKES (bad pun intended), they did not disappoint.
Our first stop was at Heim BBQ on Magnolia Avenue in Fort Worth. As with any good BBQ stop in Texas, we got in line at 10:45am before they opened at 11am. Once the doors opened, the line moved surprisingly fast (PRO TIP: You can save a lot of time by ordering from the bar if you’re willing to sit at the bar.). We ordered a half pound of brisket, one beef short rib, a quarter pound of bacon burnt ends, and an order of green chile mac & cheese, which proved to be a little much for two people, especially considering we had more stops along the way. The brisket was excellent, very moist and not too fatty, but the beef short rib and bacon burnt ends stole the show. The rib was ginormous (about 1.5 pounds worth of meat) and fell apart with every prod of my fork. I will mention that at $22/lb., both you and your wallet will be groaning at the end of the meal for different reasons. The burnt ends seemed to be seasoned more than the other meats, but that was fine by me given their addictive properties. After 30 minutes of saying “one more bite” to each other and entertaining the thought of another bite over a sip of Mosaic IPA, both my wife and I could go no further.
Our first stop at Heim BBQ was excellent to say the least: quick lines with helpful staff and BBQ that was certainly worthy of the Texas Monthly list. I was also able to glean some exciting news from an employee who stopped by to see how we were doing. Heim BBQ with be taking over and completely renovating a property in the Riverside area of Fort Worth for a second location in June. The opening date is currently TBD.
Although we were already sufficiently full, we just so happened to be heading west to another fine BBQ establishment in Cresson, TX – BBQ on the Brazos. Located right off of Highway 377, BBQ on the Brazos is not what one would expect. No covered patio overlooking the Brazos River and no nice, natural scenery. Instead, the restaurant shares space with a Texaco gas station with no water in sight. We arrived around 1pm and, to no surprise, they were already sold out of most meats with only jalapeno sausage and smoked turkey remaining. Apparently they have been running out earlier and earlier in the day after the release of the Texas Monthly article. Nonetheless, I was happy that there was anything left so I got my turkey, sausage, cornbread salad, pecan cobbler, and bottled Mexican Coke and quit my whining about not getting to try the brisket.
After getting my tray I met my wife and dogs on the second story patio and, while there was still no water to be seen, there was…an exotic car course? I kid you not. I was not expecting this in the middle of the country, but I’ve always preferred my BBQ with some Lamborghini, Audi R8, and Porsche in the mix. I hear the roar of engines aids in digestion. Anyway, despite being not as hot as I would have preferred, the flavor of both the turkey and sausage was excellent. Smoky, moist, and a little kick to the sausage. I, of course, had to eat all of the pecan cobbler (the last one at the counter, by the way) and with that last bite of cobbler I began my unintentional 24 hour fast that lasted until lunch the next day.
I love Texas. I love BBQ. I love Texas BBQ. I highly recommend trying out both Heim BBQ in Fort Worth, TX and BBQ on the Brazos in Cresson, TX. Check back for more Restaurant Reviews soon!