Thursday, March 24, 2016

Best BBQ Sandwiches in DFW

Valera Style Sandwich
The Valera Style Sandwich

When eating BBQ at restaurants, I tend to stick with the Texas Trinity (brisket, ribs and sausage) as I like the variety to fully appreciate the pitmaster’s skills, but a visit to Big O's BBQ in Valera, TX made me fall in love with the BBQ Sandwich all over again.  My brothers and I were coming back from hunting when we approached Big O’s. I had just eaten breakfast and wasn’t hungry, but can never pass up the opportunity to try a new BBQ spot.  Since the trinity wasn’t an option (I wasn’t hungry enough) I opted for their Valera Style Sandwich which included brisket, grilled onions and jalapenos on a hoagie roll.  One bite and I was in love and tweeted out I might have had the best BBQ sandwich of 2016 on the second day of January.  Opening my mind back up to the Sandwich world I decided to go on a quest locally to find the best BBQ Sandwich in DFW.

1.  The Toddfather- Cattleack BBQ, Dallas, TX

This sandwich includes brisket, pulled pork and sausage covered in BBQ sauce on a soft white bun.  The sandwich includes a small side of coleslaw giving you the option to add it if you would like.  I took the first bite without and loved the sweet sauce paired with the perfectly smoked meat.   I then added the slaw to the sandwich and with the added crunch, it put this one over the top for me to make it #1 on my list.

Cattleack Barbecue
The Toddfather

2.  The Pitmaster-Pecan Lodge, Dallas, TX

There is a definite trend with BBQ sandwiches. Like others, this includes brisket, pulled pork, sausage, slaw, BBQ sauce but differentiates itself with fresh jalapeno peppers.  The bun here was the best I tried as it was soft, sweet and held together nicely.  This bun reminded me a lot of a yeast roll which I love.  The Pitmaster was a lot like the Toddfather, but the sweet heat of the jalapenos on top made it stand out.  The only reason why this sandwich didn’t come in number one is because the sauce didn’t pair as well with the meat as it did on the Toddfather.

The Pitmaster
The Pitmaster

3.  Chopped Brisket Sandwich-Winner’s BBQ, Plano, TX

While Winner’s doesn’t have a signature sandwich, the way they prepare theirs makes it unique by using moist brisket piled high on a soft white bun seasoned with their rub.  Eating it alone or topped with their sweet BBQ sauce, this is one of the best basic BBQ sandwiches you will find.

Winner's BBQ
Simplicity at it's best

4.  Brisket Cheesesteak-3 Stacks BBQ, Frisco, TX

This sandwich was the closest to the sandwich I had at Big O’s, but still not there.  Like Big O’s, it has brisket, onions and peppers covered in cheese on a Hoagie roll.  The roll was soft and damn near perfect, but the amount of queso on top took away some of the flavor from the brisket.  Unlike the Valera, 3 Stacks uses green peppers versus jalapenos.  I will be back for this sandwich, but when ordering I’ll ask for jalapenos instead of green peppers and get the queso on the side.

Almost a VSS

5.  @BBQsnob-Heim Barbecue, Fort Worth, TX

Heim BBQ’s signature sandwich includes jalapeno cheddar sausage, brisket, pulled pork and their famous bacon burnt ends on a jalapeno roll.  This sandwich was one of the most expensive of the ones I had, but it also was the biggest.  I was looking forward to this one the most as Heim is probably my favorite BBQ joint in DFW, but this sandwich disappointed me for one reason only, the bun.  It was dry and fell apart making it impossible to eat like a sandwich.  I ditched the bun and took advantage of the wonderful BBQ that was left on my plate.  If this sandwich was on a bun similar to Cattleack or Pecan Lodge this could easily jump to the top of the list.  It is still worth getting as it gives a nice sampling of all their meats except for the rib which I added to my order.  You can’t go to Heim and not get ribs.


Best Non-Traditional Sandwich

Brisket Breakfast Taco-Dell Norte Tacos, Godly, TX

The brisket, egg and cheese taco is the best in DFW.  It has perfectly smoked brisket with fresh scrambled eggs topped with cheese on a flour tortilla.  If I lived it Godley, TX this place would get my business multiple days a week.

Breakfast Bliss

Honorable Mention Cattleack Barbecue’s Que T Pies

These are little pie crusts piled high with chopped brisket then folded over and baked.  They aren’t served every day, but you can sign up for their email list to know when they will be on the menu.   Limit 3 per order to ensure more people get to taste these awesome creations.

Other Sandwiches I tried in my search

Pulled Whole Hog Sandwich-Smoke Plano
The Jambo Texan-Jambo’s BBQ Shack
Jalapeno sausage/Brisket Sandwich-Macs BBQ
Brisket Sandwich-Hutchins BBQ
Jalapenos sausage/Brisket Sandwich Ten50BBQ

If you agree or disagree let me know in the comments!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Shed BBQ and Blues Joint

The Shed

When I started cooking BBQ, I watched as many BBQ shows as I possibly could.  The Food Network aired a competition show called “Best in Smoke” that featured Brad Orrison, Co-Owner of The Shed BBQ in Ocean Springs, MS.  Brad’s enthusiasm and energy made me cheer for him to win and even though he didn’t,  I knew one day I would have to make a trip to MS to “Get Fed at the Shed.”

TV Listing

Southwest Airlines had some wicked good deals on flights to New Orleans and The Shed is only 95 miles away, so I booked a birthday daytrip.  I left my house in Allen, TX at 7 AM and pulled up to The Shed at 11:55 AM.  Less than a mile off I-10 at Exit 57 (BBQ Heaven) The Shed was easy to find.  Pulling up, you see exactly what the name implies, a big shed, along with an RV park and “junk” collected by Brad.  Upon arrival, I saw Brad and went up and introduced myself.  I was immediately greeted with a handshake and a hug.  Brad was nice enough to give me a tour of the place including the kitchen and smokers.  After the tour I went to the counter and ordered The Sampler Platter.  The sampler included brisket, pulled pork, chicken leg, chicken wings, sausage, baby backs and a spare rib.  This pile of meat came with 3 sides and I chose Mac and Cheese, Potato Salad and Mama Mia’s Famous Mac Salad.  Brad graciously bought my meal, but it has no impact on my review.

Guns Up
The Sampler

Once my plate arrived I immediately realized I wasn’t in Texas anymore!  All the meats came sauced which is something I’m not use to.  I was ok with this as the Shed has their own line of sauces and I buy them often as they are some of my favorites.  Brisket was “pulled” which again was a new one for me as most places in Texas serve sliced.  I was not a fan as it was mushy and gave it a pot roast consistency and flavor.  Next up, their specialty the baby back ribs. They were much better than the brisket and you can tell why they are one of the most popular items on the menu.  The baby backs, smoked with pecan, paired well with their sauce.  I moved onto the pulled pork which was very dry. The sauce wasn’t helping, so I moved onto the spare rib and it was the same story.  I was starting to get discouraged, but then I moved onto the smoked chicken.  I normally don’t like smoked chicken, but it came on the platter so I decided to give it a try.  The chicken was absolutely amazing, hands down the best smoked chicken I’ve ever had.  The smoked chicken had the perfect amount of smoke, seasoning and sauce.  I cleaned every single bone.  Finally, I tried the sausage. It immediately took me back to my childhood and the BBQ sauced covered Eckrich sausage my Mom used to make.  I was very happy to end on a good note.

Now my blog is about BBQ and I hardly ever talk about sides, but the sides I had at The Shed were amazing.  First up was the potato salad which was baked potato style. It was very creamy with perfectly cooked potatoes.  Next up was the mac and cheese which was rich, creamy and the first that can compete with what I make.  Lastly I had their famous mac salad which you can find the recipe to make at home here.  It had a wonderful bite from the onions and peppers and I finished every single bite.

Trophy Room
Competition Trophy Room

The Shed is an amazing place that you need to put on your BBQ bucket list.  It's amazing how many nice people you meet on the bbq trail and Brad and Brooke are right on up there with the best of them.  I can't thank Brad enough for his hospitality on a busy day.  I'm already planning a family vacation to Biloxi and when I do I'm going to The Shed at night when they have bands playing, beer flowing and good times rolling.  It really is one of the best BBQ atmosphere’s you will find.

The Shed BBQ and Blues Joint

7501 Hwy 57
Ocean Springs, MS

(228) 875-9590