Dallas

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The Bryan Barbecue Empire

If you’ve eaten barbecue in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, there’s a good chance you’ve eaten it at Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse. For more than a century, four generations of Bryans have operated barbecue restaurants, eventually creating a national franchise that’s now nine strong (eight in DFW and one in Utah). Their saturation in the market and ability to weather a fickle food industry over so many years makes them one of Texas’s bonafide barbecue empires. Some of this comes across in…

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Gas Monkey Bar and Grill

At four month old Gas Monkey Bar and Grill, I thought I was walking into a made for T.V. joke where barbecue was going to be the punch line. Muscle car makeover maestro Richard Ray Rawlings started in the business world with an advertising and printing firm in Dallas. He sold that for a bundle and used the money to build a hobby – Gas Monkey Garage. From that shop came the merchandise line, the…

Smoked in Texas: Smoked Sturgeon Headcheese

In the video above, chef John Tesar of Spoon in Dallas raises the smoked-filled glass dome to reveal one of his signature dishes. It’s a headcheese made of apple wood smoked sturgeon. The presentation is dramatic, but the that’s only the beginning. The smokiness of the fish is deep. It seeps into the gelatin which allows the flavor to coat your mouth as it melts on the tongue. The dollop of caviar is an uneccessary…

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Cattleack BBQ

Along Alpha Road you’ll pass a few furniture stores, a discount mattress outlet and a block or two of banal single-story retail buildings. When you turn north on Gamma Road you’ll think for sure that you’re in the wrong neighborhood, but look for the sidewalk signs advertising BBQ. There will likely be a line out the door that’s right beside the pig-shaped neon sign. That means it’s Friday at Cattleack BBQ. The husband and wife…

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Big Al’s Smokehouse Barbecue

Big Al’s Smokehouse Barbecue has been smoking meats in Dallas for forty years. I recently sat down with owner Al Plaskoff to discuss a little Dallas barbecue history, and to learn where Big Al’s fits into the local story. It’s quite a legacy. There aren’t many restaurants of any type that last forty years, let along a barbecue joint in Dallas. For the first 39-1/2 years of that lifespan they’d been cooking their briskets completely…

Interview: Al Plaskoff of Big Al’s Smokehouse

Owner: Big Al’s Smokehouse, Opened 1973 Age: 69 Smoker: Wood-fired rotisserie Wood: Hickory I sat down with Al and his daughter Lauran Weiner to talk about the history of Big Al’s, the Plaskoff family and a little Dallas barbecue history. Al Plaskoff fell into the barbecue business. He wasn’t from a storied barbecue family, but rather came from a background in meat sales. Lauran’s mother is a Rosenthal and is related to Manny Rosenthal. The Rosenthal Meat Center at…