California has wine trails, Kentucky has bourbon trails, and Texas has a long and winding barbecue trail. Low and slow is a way of life; state-wide competitions occur almost weekly to find the best brisket, burnt ends, ribs, and beans, inspiring backyard enthusiasts to become restauranteurs.
Classics aren’t the only thing on the menu in Texas. Pitmasters include every type of protein, history, and heritage. Today you can find Texas barbecue with influences from Ethiopia, India, Mexico, and Korea, cooking for hours in offset smokers over wood from Texas-grown trees. These influences incorporate into each region’s typical fare.
Traditionally, each part of the state has its style of Texas barbecue. And while each area is unique, it would take us a lifetime to compare the best in each regional specialty. Each of these pits is doing something special across the state. But just know this: it is all deliciously Texan.
4. Cattleack Barbecue
There is nothing fast about Cattleack’s barbecue technique. Housemade sausages take days to complete. Beef and pork ribs smoke for hours until the meat falls off the bone. Out back, Cattleack has a half-dozen smokers and pits, where owners Todd and Misty David have instituted an in-house coal-making program.
Expect to find the usual suspects on the Cattleack BBQ menu in Dallas. Whole hogs and brisket are slathered with peppery spice and slow-smoked over post oak at 210 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, as buttery and melt-in-your-mouth as the standard options are, arrive early for the featured specials of the week. Items like flavor-packed Jerk chicken, pastrami-style burnt ends, spicy garlic andouille sausage, and Carolina-style whole hog are regularly offered, elevating the experience beyond your typical barbecue. Cattleack is only open on Thursday, Friday, and the first Saturday of every month and only for lunch beginning at 10 am until the food runs out. The restaurant is BYOB, so bring a six-pack of Shiner and get there well before noon.