3 surprising Dallas-Fort Worth restaurants make NY Times new best BBQ list
The New York Times has shined its spotlight on the new faces of Texas barbecue. In an article titled “The 20 Best Texas Barbecue Restaurants From the New Generation," the paper considers restaurants that opened after 2011 and are serving more than the traditional brisket and ribs with cole slaw and potato salad.
The list was written by Brett Anderson, former restaurant critic for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans where he still resides; according to the Times, he visited Texas seven times in two years to conduct his research.
The list is presented alphabetically by name. Houston and Austin lead the way with five restaurants each. Dallas-Fort Worth has three spots, and San Antonio claims two.
The remaining five restaurants span the state, covering Beaumont, Marfa, Weslaco, and two towns near Lubbock: Slaton and Wolfforth. Each entry gets a brief profile and suggestions for what to order.
Dallas-Fort Worth spots that make the list include no actual Dallas restaurants but instead three from Tarrant County, as follows:
- Goldee’s Barbecue in Fort Worth, buzzy newcomer that vaulted to fame after being ranked number one on Texas Monthly’s list
- Smoke ‘N Ash Barbecue, Arlington restaurant that has earned acclaim for its use of Ethiopian flavors
- Vaqueros Bar-B-Q, Grapevine spot that serves barbecue-influenced takes on Mexican dishes such as cochinita pibil and birria tacos
Houston's entries include:
- Blood Bros. BBQ, Asian-influenced restaurant in Bellaire
- Brisket & Rice, Asian-influenced restaurant in Northwest Houston
- Gatlin’s BBQ, staple Black-owned restaurant featured in Netflix’s High on the Hog documentary series
- Ray’s Real Pit BBQ Shack, Black-owned restaurant in Third Ward
- Truth BBQ, Washington Avenue restaurant ranked third in the state by Texas Monthly
Austin's entries include:
- Distant Relatives, known for incorporating flavors of the African diaspora
- Japanese-influenced Kemuri Tatsu-ya
- farm-to-table food truck LeRoy and Lewis
- Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ, which just opened its new location in Buda in June
Anderson also includes Barbs-B-Q, a restaurant in Lockhart that only opened at the end of May but whose three female owners boast serious resumes.
San Antonio is represented by two Mexican-influenced spots: 2M Smokehouse and Burnt Bean Co., the restaurant in Seguin whose owners Ernest Servantes and David Kirkland earned nominations for Best Chef: Texas in this year’s James Beard Awards.
"The New Generation"
Some guidance for the criteria used to identify the members of the New Generation comes via Anderson's companion essay.
Titled "Texas Barbecue Is the Best It Has Ever Been. Here’s Why," he explains that Texas barbecue has evolved beyond its Central Texas, European-inspired roots to include a more diverse set of influences.
“It is a malleable cuisine, one that is open to newcomers and includes the traditions, notably Black and Mexican American styles, that have long thrived here,” he writes. “The new Texas barbecue gives voice to a population that has been diversified by new arrivals from other states and countries, and to a cultural dialogue between rural and urban artisans; much of it nods to American barbecue’s origins in the live fire cooking of Indigenous people and enslaved Africans.”