The Quintessential Guide to Fort Worth Barbecue

Where to go, what to try, and why they're so good.

There’s no better way to pick a fight in Fort Worth than saying five simple words: “Who has the best barbecue?” › In a town with so many great answers, passions run deep. In no time at all, you’ll be duking it out with someone over which is better: Railhead or Angelo’s, fatty brisket or lean brisket, a sweet glaze on ribs or a spicy rub? And, of course, the most important question: Sauce — yay or nay?Fort Worthians love to debate the merits of barbecue, but lately we’re not the only ones. The cuisine that we hold so dear is currently in the throes of a nationwide change and renaissance, with a newfound focus on organic, local and high quality. In its infancy, barbecue was often the parts no one else wanted. Now, many of the new places that have opened near and far — and even some grizzled vets — use only best-in-show stuff, sourced as locally and responsibly as possible.In and around Fort Worth alone, nearly a dozen new barbecue joints opened last year, from small mom-and-pops to iron and steel giants. Add these spots to an already long list of worthy ’cue joints, and you’ve got a thriving BBQ scene worth bragging — and arguing — about.  The time seems ripe for a guide to these joints — where to go, what to get, a cool little tip or two. Welcome, then, to Fort Worth Magazine’s first-ever guide to the best barbecue spots this side of the Trinity.

By Malcolm Mayhew  |  Photos by Olaf Growald

Other local ’cue joints of note:

407 BBQ Named after the Argyle farm road upon which it sits, this new joint offers Central Texas-style ’cue along with rotating weekend specials, including brisket chili and a smoked rib-eye sandwich. 
14003 Corral City Drive (FM 407), Argyle, 214-908-3461,

Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que Stockyards offshoot of storied Llano original serves ’cue essentials in a ginormous space, outfitted with communal tables. Before splurging on sides, remember excellent pinto beans are complimentary. 
301 Stockyards Blvd., Fort Worth, 817-626-6464,
Hard Eight This Roanoke branch of popular Stephenville a restaurant features gigantic beef ribs, brisket, two kinds of sausage and smoked baked potatoes. 
205 S. Oak St., Roanoke, 817-837-8888,

McKinzie Barbecue There’s not another place around here like Jerry McKinzie’s 15-year-old spot: It’s a barbecue joint housed in a liquor store. Not a bad choice for super-cheap ’cue: a chopped sandwich on Texas toast for only $3. 
154 N. Riverside Drive, Fort Worth, 817-838-0005.    

Off the Bone Eddie Brown’s popular Forest Hill spot, inside an old Dairy Queen, is always buzzing with locals chowing down on hickory-smoked ribs, brisket and unbelievably juicy chicken. 
5144 Mansfield Hwy., Forest Hill, 817-563-7000,

Railhead Smokehouse Packed open to close with movers and shakers, one of the city’s most beloved spots serves excellent chopped sandwiches, fries loaded with jalapeños and fried onions, and snappy jalapeño and cheddar sausage. 
2900 Montgomery St., Fort Worthhv, 817-738-9808,

Robinson’s Bar-B-Que East Side landmark, open 30 years, serves ’cue doused in housemade BBQ sauce – what the restaurant describes as Kansas City-style. Look for the old chuck wagon sign.
1028 E. Berry St., 817-924-1009. 

Smoke Pit At this nearly 60-year-old mainstay just east of downtown, brisket and ribs are delivered to your table by scantily-clad women — hence the restaurant’s “BBQ with a view” nickname. 
2401 E. Belknap St., Fort Worth, 817-222-0455. 

Sausage Shoppe The Chambers family’s terrific housemade sausage – in beef or pork – is reason enough to seek out this long-running ’cue and soul food joint, housed in a strip mall in far south Fort Worth. 
3515 Sycamore School Road, Fort Worth, 817-921-9960.