From the barbecue legends to the upstarts to the hidden gems, Daniel Vaughn takes on them all on his Full Custom Gospel BBQ site. Here, we slice off a few excerpts from some of his reviews and ratings of favorite barbecue joints in DFW. (Vaughn's ratings are on a scale of one to six stars.)
3201 Riverfront Drive, Fort Worth
"Beef back ribs are rarely done well, but what they're putting out here can be held as an example of how well they can be smoked. A crust was crisp with the meat between the bones (there's very little over the bones, which is normal for beef back ribs) remaining moist. Even coverage of a flavorful rub allowed for a good crust and a nice smokiness. Pork ribs were almost as good and a bit meatier."
2533 White Settlement Road, Fort Worth
"Angelo's delivers great smoked meat. It might be a bit fatty, but the flavors are always smoky, and the beers are always ice-cold. I'd be a regular if I lived a little closer." (from a 2009 update)
2900 Montgomery St., Fort Worth
"Oftentimes the quality of a joint's BBQ can be overblown in the mind of the beholder if absolutely everything else around it is done flawlessly. This seems to be the case at Railhead. While it's been voted best BBQ in Fort Worth I think since before the city was founded, it holds a special place in the minds of its clientele because it's a damn fine place to hang out that serves decent barbecue.... What Railhead does not deliver on is intensely smoky meats with bold Texas BBQ flavors." (from a 2009 update)
2314 Azle Ave., Fort Worth
"Ribs were tender, moist and had a good flavor from the rub. They were missing solid smoke flavoring, but were decent overall. Brisket was a good version of salted roast beef, but couldn't be confused for high-quality smoked meat.... The only flawless dish was the chili, [which] showed some real Texas roots. It's too bad that just the chili really satisfies at this Texas BBQ joint."
Uncle Willie's BBQ
1506 Miller Ave., Fort Worth
"Perfect brisket was my reward.... Pull-apart tender, beautifully seasoned with salt and smoke with fat rendered down so well I didn't want to leave a morsel uningested. The crust was a luring shiny black, and cracked under my teeth. I was actually saddened to find only four slices, but with four ribs in this combo plate, I had plenty left to gnaw on."
5300 E. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth
"After the first bite of brisket, I was chomping down the rest of it with gluttonous abandon. The meat was perfectly smoky, moist and lined with silky fat. The meat could have been a bit more tender, but this is great brisket. Ribs are just as good. The sweet and spicy rub creates a nice caramelization. This does keep a nice smoky bark from forming, but the flavor is distinct and addictive."
Off the Bone BBQ
5144 Mansfield Highway, Forest Hill
"Ribs were simply perfect, and some of the best I've had anywhere. The meat was perfectly tender, deeply smoky and well seasoned. Chicken was also incredibly smoky, even under the skin. The white meat was plenty moist, and the flavor was intense."
1010 S. Pearl Expressway, Dallas
"Wagyu brisket is an indulgence at $25 per pound, but it must be ordered if it's on the menu. My preference is to splurge for slices from the lean side where the intense marbling of the Wagyu beef creates a difference from the standard cut.... The buttery slices melt and fat envelops your tongue as chewing commences. The bold smokiness takes the meat to another level. There are few briskets in the state that can touch it."
Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse
2202 Inwood Road, Dallas
"Let's face it, Dallas ... we continue to bow to this shell of a formerly renowned BBQ joint because it's really all we've got to point to in Big D that can be considered a historic 'cue icon." ( On the original Sonny Bryan's, in a 2009 review; a 2012 revisit found little improvement.)
Compiled by Robert Philpot