“I wasn’t born in Texas but I got here as fast as I could”.
This well-known local car bumper sticker was made for Dallas. It’s been a year since we were here in this fantastic city, catching up with BBQ friends Justin and Diane Fourton from Pecan Lodge.
Last time their tiny little operation in Dallas Farmer’s Market was punching above its weight turning out incredible barbecue, and making Texas Monthly headlines. Now, one year on they’ve put down roots and invested in their very own 240-cover restaurant. It’s sited in Deep Ellum, a cool, creative area of Dallas punctuated with live music bars, bric-a-brac shops and tattoo studios.
This couple is super-laid back and unassuming, but don’t let that cloud any preconceptions you may have about their desire to succeed. The former Accenture corporate consultants claim part of their success is down to their previous roles, helping them bring discipline and an exacting, scientific approach to the art of barbecue.
Justin towers at well over 6’6”, and is built like a second row rugby player. His wife Diane is one of those women who makes you feel so at ease that you can end up losing a few hours just shooting the breeze with her.
We shared stories over a pint of their new house beer – Boss Lady – a collaboration between them and local brewery, Four Corners, whom we met last visit. The past 12-months have been a baptism of fire, as they’ve grappled with the demands of serving 3,000 people a day at weekends, and regularly selling out by 3pm.
Thankfully despite the move further into town, they’ve managed to maintain their use of steel barrel smokers with offset fireboxes, all housed in a covered area at the back, overlooking the outdoor seating area. We popped back to check out the guys just starting their overnight shift, tending the brisket and pork butts.
As we moved outside you could smell Justine’s choice blend of oak and mesquite, floating down the road like a lasso ready to snare any unwitting passers by. Before we left we spent a brief moment in the kitchen quizzing one of his kitchen staff, Red, about Pecan Lodge’s housemade sausages and managed to mine some good nuggets to bring back home.
True to the generosity of this fantastic couple, their parting gifts were two huge full bags, brimming with a whole brisket, two giant beef ribs, an entire spare rib slab, half a butt of pulled pork and a tray of Diane’s famous Mac and Cheese. Amen to Pecan Lodge.