Pecan Lodge – Dallas, Texas

IMG_5118Justin and Diane Fourton set up shop in Shed #2 of the old Dallas Farmers Market in 2010, and did nothing less than take the Texas Barbecue scene by storm! Most would expect with a name like Pecan Lodge, they stoke their fires with pecan wood. You would be wrong. The name comes from Justin’s grandfather’s ranch out near Abilene, and the meat is smoked over mostly mesquite and little oak. Still, there’s just something about the flavor they infuse into their brisket that makes you wonder what they are doing in the pit-room.

IMG_4780After a few years at the Dallas Farmers Market, Pecan Lodge moved into their new location on Main and Pryor in Dallas (Deep Ellum). The fires may burn 24/7, but the dining room is only for lunch (11am-3pm) other than Friday and Saturday, where they stay open until 10pm. And don’t even think about making the drive on a Monday, because you’ll only see a CLOSED sign in the window and feel sorrow in your soul (ask me, I know!)IMG_4784

The Brisket:

IMG_5120I have tried both the moist brisket and the burnt ends. At most places, I prefer the burnt ends, as they have the most flavor. However, at Pecan Lodge, I have stopped ordering the ends and just stay with the moist, as it packs PLENTY of flavor and just falls apart with ease, whereas the ends can be a bit tough and dry in comparison. Even though the brisket slices were served thick, there was absolutely no need for a knife! The thick cut brisket just pulled apart with a fork, and was truly SUPERB! The bark was full of flavor, and the fats just melted in the mouth, exploding in deliciousness! Chewing was optional. Even the center meat was tasty, smoky flavor throughout. Frankly, this is what all brisket should strive to be!

The Ribs:

IMG_5119Delicious! The flavor of Pecan Lodge’s pork spare ribs leave nothing to be desired. Texas Monthly called them out for being a bit on the sweet side. It’s true, they use some kind of a sweet glaze, but not as heavy as Luling City Market. My only complaint was that the few times I’ve been there, the pork ribs were consistently a bit tough to pull from the bone. But with such a fantastic bark, excellent flavor, and tender meat, I found myself forgiving them of this trespass!

The Sausage:

IMG_4785I only order “original” sausage when judging a BBQ joint. I don’t care if they offer a myriad of other options (Smoky Denmarks, Micklethwait’s Craft Meats, etc..), I only judge the sausage that I am served when I ask for their “original.” Pecan Lodge has two sausages, the Regular Pork, and the Jalapeno Cheddar Beef. IMG_4787As I ordered the “original”, I suppose I was given the Pork, but cannot be certain. I say this because I have found the sausage to be different on the various occasions I have been there. This could just be a function of the hand-packing and grinding that goes in to produce the sausage, creating a slightly different product over time. IMG_5150However, the constant theme has been that I find whatever sausage I am served to be fantastic! It is always delicious, and some of the few sausages I have completely devoured at a tasting (more often than not I take my leftovers home to my wife!) It is that good! The casings seem to be a bit thick, requiring more effort to get a clean cut. I wasn’t patient enough for that, so most of my bites were ragged and half falling apart! I just couldn’t get it in my mouth fast enough. Of all the sausage I’ve tried, I put Pecan Lodge sausage in the same grouping as LA Barbecue, Lambert’s, and Freedman’s. Definitely better than the traditional “Lockhart” style sausage you find at Smitty’s, Kreuz Market, or Black’s.

The Sides:

IMG_5148If the smoked meats weren’t enough to make you plan a trip to Dallas to stand in line for lunch, the sides just might! The beans are terrific, not just your ordinary ranch style pinto beans. These beans have a kick! Very tasty. IMG_4782Aside from the beans, the macaroni and cheese with bacon crumbles is the very best I have ever eaten! Ok, maybe not to the level of the crab mac & cheese at Truluck’s, but compared to anything less than $8 per serving, it is tops! Truly a gourmet flavor unlike anything you’ve probably ever had. And if that wasn’t enough, The Dallas Observer named Pecan Lodge as having one of the six best baskets of fried okra in Dallas. And I haven’t even gotten to the collard greens, rolls, banana pudding, southern fried chicken, or the famous Hot Mess (loaded sweet potato).

IMG_5137Pecan Lodge is rightfully in the top five BBQ joints in Texas by anyone’s calculation. IMG_4783By my calculation, Pecan Lodge scored an impressive TRULY EXCELLENT rating, the highest ever given out by The Best of Texas Barbecue.

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