Barbecue enthusiasts in Texas are about to lose their minds. In Daniel Vaughn’s Texas Monthly list of the 50 best barbecue joints in Texas, Dallas-area restaurant Cattleack Barbeque nabbed an incredible No. 3 slot.

We’ve written many words about Cattleack, including that it might sell the best brisket in Dallas. (And if you want to learn how to make its delicious brisket in your backyard, we’ve even got an explainer.) According to Vaughn, the state’s most dedicated professional barbecue taster and the world’s first barbecue magazine editor, Cattleack owners Todd and Misty David are selling North Texas’ very best barbecue.

We’d already suggested people go to Cattleack Barbeque recently because the restaurant will be featured on Food Network soon. It’s only open Thursdays and Fridays for lunch, and occasional Saturdays. If you’ve already been, now’s the time to brag that you knew Cattleack before it got its first Texas Monthly barbecue nod.

Does that really matter? Absolutely: Vaughn’s list of the 50 best barbecue joints is the most important ranking for smoked-meat eaters in Texas. It’s been four years since Texas Monthly released its last top 50 ranking, and plenty of barbecue enthusiasts — me included — use it as the one resource for choosing which barbecue joints to put on their brisket bucket lists.
You have a brisket bucket list, don’t you?

This year, Vaughn separated the best into a ranked top 10, then named the remaining 40, unranked. In essence, you and your friends can argue over the top 10, then dream about where the other 40 would have landed if only you had Vaughn’s job. Texas Monthly’s June 2017 list includes the usual suspects — Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, Kreuz Market in Lockhart — as well as some surprises: Bodacious Bar-B-Q in Longview? Blue Moon Barbecue in that little house on the side of the highway in the middle of nowhere?

Missing from Vaughn’s list of the top 10 is Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum, though it did land in the full list of 50. Pecan Lodge landed at a lofty No. 2 — tied with Snow’s and Louie Mueller — on Texas Monthly’s list four years ago. It was the only Dallas-Fort Worth barbecue joint in the top four at that time.

And for Pecan Lodge fans, Vaughn says there’s still much to like at the Dallas restaurant. “If we were judging beef ribs alone, they might have been in the top spot this year,” Vaughn says. (Wow!)

This time around, Cattleack is the only D-FW barbecue joint in Vaughn’s top 10.

Here are Texas Monthly’s top 10 of the 50 Best BBQ Joints:

  • Snow’s BBQ, Lexington
    Franklin Barbecue, Austin
    Cattleack Barbeque, Dallas
    Bodacious Bar-B-Q, Longview
    Louie Mueller Barbecue, Taylor
    Tejas Chocolate Craftory, Tomball
    CorkScrew BBQ, Spring
    Micklethwait Craft Meats, Austin
    Evie Mae’s Pit Barbeque, Wolfforth
    Truth Barbeque, Brenham

On the list of 50, seven establishments are from North Texas: Lockhart Smokehouse — which has restaurants in Oak Cliff and Plano; Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum; Top 5 BBQ in DeSoto; 4-T’s Bar-B-Q in Forney; Heim Barbecue in Fort Worth; Hutchins BBQ in McKinney; and Cattleack in Dallas/Farmers Branch.

Outside the immediate D-FW area, but still close, are BBQ on the Brazos in Cresson; Bodacious Bar-B-Q in Longview; Stanley’s Famous Pit BBQ in Tyler; and Harris Bar-B-Que in Waxahachie.

Notably, Snow’s BBQ in Lexington is Vaughn’s No. 1 barbecue joint in the entire state. It’s only open on Saturdays, starting at 8 a.m., and employs one of the few female pitmasters in the state, Tootsie Tomanetz. Lines are long — and about to get longer.
But is it the best in the state? That’s the delicious dilemma.