Dallas' Five Best Barbecued Pork Ribs

Categories: Barbecue

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Sarah Yu
Dear ribs from Off The Bone: Please get in my mouth.
For all we go on about brisket, the pork rib has a beauty all its own. Beloved in greater swathes of the country than brisket, it's nevertheless shunned across the Lone Star state as an not so worthy of barbecue. Well, if Kevin Spacey on House of Cards is constantly eating them, they're good enough for us too.

The thing is, it's very difficult to get a great brisket and a great rib going at the same time. Lots of places have a good to great one or the other, and the same is true with this list, as all the places here have average to non-existent brisket. Nevertheless, the art form of the perfectly smoked rib deserves a category all of its own, so here's to the perfect rib, which is smoky, tender, falling but not plummeting off the bone, and not skimping with the meat.

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Fatman's BBQ Is Great Southern Barbecue, Just Not Texas Barbecue

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Gavin Cleaver
This is the entire customer space.
Somewhere over on the east side of the airport, on an unassuming street corner, lies the tiniest hole in the wall barbecue restaurant I've ever seen. The front of the house is just a waiting room with two chairs, a window for orders, and for some reason a guitar, fully set up ready to go with an amp and pedal, all plugged in. It looks like a London cab dispatch office, and if you've never seen one of those, that's for the best.

The sign outside, in contrast to all the other signs in the strip mall, lights up, so a circle round the block including a near-miss with a pick-up truck in the dark eventually leads us to spot Fatman's BBQ (3701 Esters Rd, Irving, TX 75038) when we're about three feet from it. Even then it looks like the building next door. In summary, it is not easy to find this place. At all.

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And the Winners of Meat Fight 2014 Are ...

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Robert Strickland
The Meat Fight judges included Aaron Franklin, Jack Perkins, Daniel Vaughn and Jusitn Fourton.
Imagine this: Saturday night, while you and your fuzzy-ass slippers shiffled to the thermostat to crank your heater to 11, four teams of fancy chefs were huddled around smokers in a muddy West Dallas parking lot, drinking beer and cooking meat overnight in freezing temperatures, all in the name of charity. All in the name of Meat Fight.

This was the fifth year of the Fight, a charity barbecue competition founded by our longtime and award-hoarding Cheap Bastard columnist, Alice Laussade, and her husband, Mike. (The Observer is a sponsor.) It was the largest yet, held in a drafty warehouse across the street from Trinity Groves.

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How the Slow Bone Smokes its Sausage

Categories: Barbecue

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Slow Bone
What a sausage fest.
In "Shigging," we ask barbecue experts to give us some specifics about how they smoke their meats. In the spirit of barbecue secretiveness and competitiveness, they're allowed to lie once.

This week, for Shigging, we're switching meats. For the moment, we're moving on from brisket, and we'll be asking Jeffery C. Hobbs of The Slow Bone about his sausage. Sausages. We hear the joke and we don't care.

What kinds of sausage do you offer at Slow Bone?

Old Time: fine grind, spicy, toothsome with a great snap. Smoked Cilantro: coarse grind, herby and juicy.

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Al's Beef, a Respected Chicago-Style Dog, Is Coming to Dallas. How Well Will It Travel?

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Mr. Beef offers Italian beef sandwiches made with roasts cooked on site.
Earlier this week, news that Chicago-based Al's Beef would set up multiple locations in the Dallas area bubbled up like oil droplets in a pan of simmering jus. Much like Five Guys hired former Redskins player Mark Moseley to head up the burger chain's expansions, Al's Beef turned to Chicago Bears legend Mike Ditka to aid with theirs. They even named a hot dog after him. It's called the "spicy jumbo Ditka dog," and it's topped with onions, mustard and sport peppers.

Ditka's not just Ditkaing around; he's shipping Al's locations all over the country. There are now Al's beef in Las Vegas and California, and now five locations are planned for Texas, in and around Dallas. The first one will land in Addison, ironically in a space that used to house a Texadelphia, which sold a Texan take on Philadelphia's namesake sandwich.

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How Cattleack Barbecue Smokes Its Brisket

Categories: Barbecue

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Cattleack Barbecue
Yums.
In "Shigging," we ask pitmasters to give us some specifics about how they smoke their meats. In the spirit of barbecue secretiveness and competitiveness, they're allowed to lie once.

This week, we're asking Todd David, pitmaster at Cattleack Barbecue, how he smokes his brisket.

What is the name of your smoker?

My main girl is Big Mama and my little girl is Rosie.

See also: How Pecan Lodge Smokes its Brisket


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Meat Fight 2014 Tickets Go on Sale Tomorrow

Categories: Barbecue, Events

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Catherine Downes
Meat Fight founder Alice Laussade is slowly building Texas' coolest barbecue event.
Meat Fight, the barbecue competition, fundraiser and saucy brainchild of our Bearded columnist, Alice Laussade, returns to Trinity Groves on Sunday, November 16. You want to go. You need to go. But will you go? Depends on the accuracy of your clock and the quickness of your clicking fingers.

Tickets for the event -- which features 16 of Dallas' best chefs smoking meat for you to eat, all in the name of charity -- go on sale Wednesday at 10 a.m. They'll sell out in minutes. Don't be hungover.

More info at meatfight.com.

The Meat Fight Meat Scavenger Hunt Starts ... Now

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Catherine Downes for Meat Fight
Go do something meaty and photograph it. It'll be fun.
Last year, tickets to Meat Fight (my barbecue competition that benefits the National MS Society) sold out in a flash.

So, this year, we decided to have a meat scavenger hunt so that one lucky bastard could have easy access to our meat tickets before any other bastard. This is good for us for two reasons: 1) If anyone participates, it means that an actual meat fight occurred in the streets of Dallas because we demanded it, and 2) (see 1).

It's good for you because the winner receives the opportunity to purchase Meat Fight tickets without having to endure the possible scramble that could happen on October 1 when tickets go on sale to the general public. Also, you now have an excuse to fight a pig or cow in public. You're welcome.

Behold: the rules of the 2014 Meat Scramble.

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How Meat Church's Matt Pittman Smokes His Brisket

Categories: Barbecue

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In "Shigging," we ask barbecue experts to give us some specifics about how they smoke their meats. In the spirit of barbecue secretiveness and competitiveness, they're allowed to lie once.

This week, for Shigging, I'm doing something a little different, and speaking with a competitive barbecue champion. I've heard that in these competitions, there's a lot of injecting and spritzing and that the strategy for smoking meats in a competition is different than when you're smoking meats for the masses. To find out whether or not those awful rumors were true, I spoke with Meat Church's Matt Pittman.

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How Louie Mueller Barbecue Smokes its Brisket

Categories: Barbecue

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Louie Mueller Barbecue + Alice Laussade
In "Shigging," we ask barbecue experts to give us some specifics about how they smoke their meats. In the spirit of barbecue secretiveness and competitiveness, they're allowed to lie once.

This week, I'm asking Wayne Mueller (pit master and supreme badass at Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, Texas) how he smokes his brisket. After hearing his answers, I have decided that he is my new favorite meat person on the planet.

What is the name of your smoker?
I have four ladies, and their names depend on how temperamental they act on any given day -- but mostly (and privately) -- I refer to them as Hera, Athena, Aphrodite and Persephone (plus the occasional colorful metaphor).



What kind of smoker is she?
It's interesting that you would presume that my smoker is a female...I think you know more than your letting on, Ms. Laussade...I have two vertical flow pits (all steel), one horizontal flow (brick with a steel lid system) and one hybrid of the two (all steel and mobile) and all are totally female.

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