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Eats Beat: Smokey's keeps barbecue pit fires burning

Posted 11:51am on Friday, Mar. 15, 2013

Smokey's Barbeque is staying.

Pitmaster Paul Calhoun and employee Rene "Rasco" Carrasco have teamed up to buy the East Lancaster Avenue restaurant with a 35-year barbecue legacy.

Calhoun and Carrasco brought Smokey's back to DFW top-20 lists in recent years, working for East Texas barbecue caterer Eddie Deen as he breathed life back into founder Ray Standard's rib-shack landmark.

They're proud of Smokey's new homemade sausage and fresh breads, and weekend breakfasts with thick, house-smoked breakfast bacon.

But they might be proudest of something Deen brought from East Texas: Smokey's vanilla buttermilk pie.

"We're keeping the barbecue and trying to do just a little extra," said Carrasco, a former grocery butcher and meat company professional from West Texas.

That would include Sunday dinner, when the restaurant serves chicken-fried steak and chicken, and the weekend breakfasts including brisket omelets with pico de gallo, steel-cut oatmeal and biscuits with bacon gravy.

Calhoun's pit work put Smokey's on D Magazine's "best" list and also won it a four-star rating from Dallas writer and "BBQ Snob" Daniel Vaughn, author of the new book The Prophets of Smoked Meat.

Smokey's is open Mondays through Saturdays for lunch and dinner, plus breakfast Saturdays and breakfast and lunch Sundays; 5300 E. Lancaster Ave., 817-451-8222, www.smokeysbbqtx.com.

The annual Savor Dallas restaurant festival is this weekend, with a special Sunday event mixing St. Patrick's Day fun.

The Savor the Arboretum event features two hours of food tastings and wines for $65 as the Dallas Blooms festival continues.

It might be too late to buy tickets for the Savor "grand tasting" of 60 restaurants and 400 wines Saturday night in the Irving Convention Center, but if not, they're $135 for an "early-entry" ticket, $110 for regular entry or $75 for a food-only evening; savordallas.com.

St. Patrick's Day isn't a dining event, but Olenjack's Grille in Arlington will offer a special menu.

Olenjack's will serve corned beef Sunday, along with Irish potato soup and a bread-pudding dessert with whiskey sauce; $20, 770 Road To Six Flags East, 817-226-2600, olenjacksgrille.com.

Arlington's perennial St. Patrick's destination is J. Gilligan's Bar & Grill, celebrating Saturday and serving its cottage-fries "Irish nachos."

Danny's Celtic Pub in Bedford, near the new Twisted Root Burger Co., is among the destinations offering a St. Patrick's Day all weekend.

Danny's will serve Irish stew, "Irish nachos" potato skins, corned-beef-and-cabbage and shepherd's pie.

It's at 2824 Central Drive; 817-571-9999, dannyscelticpub.com.

Bud Kennedy's Eats Beat appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in DFW.com Weekend. 817-390-7538

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Twitter: @budkennedy

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