Monday, February 27, 2017

Uncommon Ramen Featuring Aaron Franklin

Franklin BBQ
The Lineup

My first real BBQ crawl started at Franklin BBQ back in 2014 where I waited in line for nearly 4 hours to taste the best brisket I’ve ever had.  As I enjoyed my lunch, owner and Pitmaster Aaron Franklin sat down and gave me advice on his favorite places in Austin.  One of the places he mentioned was Uchi.  Not long after my trip, Uchi opened in Dallas along with a sibling restaurant, Top Knot. When I heard Top Knot was having an event featuring Aaron I knew I wanted to attend.

My reservations were at the very beginning at 5 PM, but I showed up a little early hoping to see a little bit of the behind the scenes action, and boy did I ever.  Aaron and the entire Top Knot staff were generous enough to allow me and all those interested access to the cutting board and seeing the bowls come together.  Like the artist he is, Aaron sliced brisket like the knife was an extension of his body.  Each bowl of Ramen consisted of both fatty and lean brisket in addition to pho broth, sprouts, herbs, pickled chili and of course noodles.  The brisket was actually cooked at the restaurant in Austin, and then transported to Dallas in coolers giving the brisket plenty of time to “rest” and taste just as good 200 miles away as it would in the restaurant.  Each time I eat Franklin brisket I’m always amazed how consistently good it is, it really is worth the hype.  Now for the Ramen, this was the first time I had any that didn’t come from a 49 cent package and of course I’ll never go back.  The broth was beefy and spicy and the handmade noodles were the perfect texture.  I’m a meat eater (obviously) and soups have never been my thing, but even without the brisket this is a meal I would eat all the time.
Franklin BBQ
Smoked Brisket Ramen

In addition to the smoked brisket ramen, there were two other special menu items.  The Bacon Pimento Cheese dog included creamy pimento cheese and smoked sausage with pickles and onions.  I normally don’t like pimento cheese, but this was amazing and paired well with the sausage. To wash it down I had the beer of the night which was called Figlet. Figlet comes from Jester King Brewery and is a Farmhouse Ale brewed with figs that were cold smoked at Franklin Barbecue.  The beer was very sweet, not smoky and very refreshing.  Had I not driven I could have easily had more than one.

Bacon Pimento Cheese Dog

I love events like this as it exposed me to a restaurant I would have never really considered going to, but now I cannot wait to get back and try their extensive menu.  The staff at Top Knot was fantastic from the hostess to the bartenders.  In addition to opening my eyes to something new, the event is also
providing a portion of the proceeds to No Kid Hungry.

Top Knot
2817 Maple Ave
Dallas, TX

Sunday, February 5, 2017

407 BBQ

For those that know me, I’m a walking, talking Texas cliché.  I love my BBQ, Dr Pepper and Dallas Cowboys, so the fact I’m a hunter too should come as no surprise.  In addition to numerous BBQ and Texas Tech related forums, I also spend a lot of time at  For the past few months there has been a buzz on there of a new BBQ trailer just north of Texas Motor Speedway called 407 BBQ that was opened up by a forum member and I finally got the chance to head that way and try it out.

Finding the place is easy as it’s right of I-35 W and 407 next to Paradise Grocery which is a must stop for my brother and I every race weekend.  Pitmaster Bryan McLarty started in October with just the trailer, but last week he installed a cabin kit to give dinners a place to get out of the elements and it was much appreciated as temps were in the mid-forties.  The trailer opens up into the dining room where you order and pay and then your food is brought out to your table.  The menu has your staples of brisket ribs and sausage, but they also have pulled pork as well.  Like normal I went with the Texas Trinity.

Since my daughter was with me I went with the more mild black peppered sausage which was very flavorful and not overpowered by the pepper.  While the sausage was very good, I thought it could use a little more smoke, but my daughter devoured all but the two bites I got.  Next I went with the brisket which had an ink like bark and smoke ring, but sliced VERY thin.  I thought this might have been because it wasn’t done enough, but it was not as bad as I thought it would be, but it was a bit dry.  I loved the amount of hickory smoke and seasoning and despite the dryness it was still a very flavorful piece of meat and the spicy sauce paired well.  Finally to the highlight of the meal, and that was the ribs.  Nice salty rub, perfect smoke and a good tug.  These ribs are worth the drive out west alone.  As for sides, the baked beans were pretty standard; the potato salad was well above average and went fantastic with the ribs.

For a place that has only been open for about four months now, I’m impressed and looking forward to what the future holds. Bryan says he plans on opening a brick in mortar in the next twelve months, but I will for sure make my way out to the trailer again before then for race weekend or when my daughter begs for a Buc-ees fix.

Also be sure to check out their segment this past week on WFAA in Dallas.

407 BBQ
1213 FM 407
Argyle, TX