When Texas Monthly last ranked Texas’ Top 50 barbecue temples in 2013, BBQ on the Brazos had only been open a few days.
“They’ve said if we’d been open two weeks earlier, we’d have made the list, so that really put the pressure on,” said pitmaster John Sanford, newly crowned as a top-50 barbecue restaurant and the best in the Fort Worth area.
BBQ on the Brazos tied Dallas’ vaunted Pecan Lodge. But the way the barbecue business has boomed, particularly around Austin, it’s a triumph to have any Dallas-Fort Worth-area restaurants on the list.
The new “50 best” are a lot better than 2013’s best.
“This is the new and improved top 50,” Sanford said. “I just appreciate their time, and all the work everyone has put into Texas barbecue.”
For the first time, Snow’s in Lexington was ranked No. 1 over Franklin’s in Austin.
“I’m surprised the earth didn’t shake,” Sanford said.
Sanford’s restaurant started out as a barbecue takeout stand inside a gas station-convenience store at the Motorsport Ranch south of Cresson.
He added more meats, improved the side dishes and eventually added breakfast, banana pudding, brisket tacos and brisket burgers.
But BBQ on the Brazos is still a star for its Creekstone Farms brisket, and for its early hours. (You can make a morning run to Cresson and bring back lunch, or pick up a pound for a weekend trip to the lake.)
Making the top 50 is all about “crazy hours and hard work,” Sanford said.
“There’s a few copycats in the business, but everybody who’s in the top 50 is legit.”
He buys the freshest products he can find, he said. Instead of ordering from a commercial food supplier, he stops at H-E-B in Granbury each morning for vegetables and jalapeños.
He’s considered opening a Fort Worth or Dallas location, but he’d rather operate his barbecue trailer on weekend at festivals. This weekend, he’ll be at the Breckenridge Airshow.
BBQ on the Brazos’ 4.25 score led the only other Fort Worth-area restaurant ranked, Heim Barbecue (4.0).
BBQ on the Brazos is open Tuesdays through Saturdays for breakfast and lunch only (or until the meat runs out); 9001 U.S. 377 East (but it’s west of Cresson), 817-396-4758, bbqonthebrazos.com.
A trailer south of Dallas-Fort Worth also made the magazine’s list as the equal of BBQ on the Brazos and Pecan Lodge.
Flores Barbecue in Whitney opened last October. Pitmaster Michael Wyont was praised for brisket, pulled pork, ribs and better-than-usual side dishes.
It’s open for lunch Thursday through Saturday; 400 S. Colorado St., 254-580-3576, facebook.com/FloresBarbecue.
The annual Taste of Parker County was rained out and rescheduled for Thursday, and that’s good news.
That means more time to buy the bargain $35 tickets ($40 at the door) for the best of the Weatherford area’s improving restaurant scene.
This year’s event features Shep’s Place, Weatherford’s artisan burger grill, along with Cajun star Boo-Ray’s of New Orleans, home-cooking capital Weatherford Downtown Cafe and shops such as 2 Outlaws BBQ and Justice Burger.
Weatherford’s timeless Golden Moon Chinese-Thai restaurant is also on hand, along with Back Home Bakery and several other coffee and bakery cafes.
Doors open at 5 p.m. Thursday at Canyon West Golf Club; tickets at wc.edu/taste, or information at 817-598-6275.