Eats Beat: BBQ on the Brazos a popular stop in Cresson

Posted 7:27am on Wednesday, Jul. 03, 2013

Cresson has a new rarity for this part of Texas: a sellout barbecue stand.

The sign on the door of BBQ on the Brazos reads: “Close 3 p.m. Or Earlier.” After a few months’ start, BBQ on the Brazos is selling out daily of genuine, championship-quality barbecued brisket and ribs, and now opens only for lunch.

Founder and chef John Sanford used to work later. But he was running out of his near-perfect, hardwood-smoked brisket by midday, and now even the ribs and special-made sausage are gone by 2 p.m. some days.

So he moved up the hours and added breakfast, drawing morning diners to the stand at the Texaco Plaza on U.S. 377 on the outskirts of Cresson.

The barbecue is ready at 9 a.m., and briskets start going out the door by 9:30. The thick-sliced brisket is the highlight — it’s reminiscent of Texas Monthly top-50 Pecan Lodge’s — but Sanford also works hard at the side dishes, including cilantro coleslaw, chile-dusted pintos and cornbread salad.

He was cooking at a bistro and coffee stand in Granbury until last winter, when he decided to take his barbecuing skills to a vacant stand near the motorsports track. He said he orders special meats and smokes them in an Ole Hickory Pits trailer.

BBQ on the Brazos is open daily except Sundays, serving breakfast at 6:30 a.m. and barbecue after 9. It’ll be closed Thursday for the Fourth, but open Friday and Saturday; 9001 E. U.S. 377, 817-396-4758,

‘Best’ is in Joe T. family

USA Today and Zagat Survey named the best Mexican food in 20 cities, and the DFW winner wasn’t Joe T. Garcia’s.

It was his daughter’s place: Esperanza’s Cafe & Bakery, serving more homestyle, interior Mexico dishes and breads next door at 2122 N. Main St. and in a slightly different format at 1601 Park Place Ave. near the Fort Worth Zoo.

The Austin winner was Tacodeli, so this ranking was more about good food and enthusiasm than fine cuisine. Esperanza’s doesn’t have Tex-Mex, but it does have excellent green chicken enchiladas, carne guisada, chiles rellenos and catfish ranchero. Breakfast and lunch daily at both locations, dinner weekdays and Saturdays at the Park Place Avenue location; 817-626-5770 or 817-923-1961,

A custom cone

Best cooler on a hot day: homemade ice cream or shakes from the Malt Shop, a 1950s drive-in in Weatherford.

Ice cream comes in nine flavors at less than $2 for a cup and less than $4 for a quart; 2038 Fort Worth Highway, 817-594-2524,

Bud Kennedy’s Eats Beat appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in 817-390-7538 Facebook: Bud Kennedy’s Eats Beat. Twitter: @EatsBeat. Get alerts at

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