Panther City BBQ serves Hell's Half Acre, a tray full of brisket, pulled pork, sausage, pork ribs, smoked turkey and pork belly. Panther City BBQ and Smoke Sessions Barbecue were named two of the state's 25 best new barbecue joints.

Panther City BBQ serves Hell's Half Acre, a tray full of brisket, pulled pork, sausage, pork ribs, smoked turkey and pork belly. Panther City BBQ and Smoke Sessions Barbecue were named two of the state's 25 best new barbecue joints.

Tom Fox/Staff Photographer

Expect the crowds at Panther City BBQ in Fort Worth and Smoke Sessions Barbecue in Royse City to swell after today.

Texas Monthly released its list of the 25 best new barbecue joints in Texas, and Panther City and Smoke Sessions made barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn's list. Every four years, Vaughn puts out a list of Texas' 50 best barbecue joints, as he did in 2017. The magazine considers this 2019 list a "midterm report" — to highlight the delicious work of new businesses.

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"We know that four years between lists is just a long time," Vaughn says, especially for barbecue joints that opened just after his 2017 list came out, like Austin shop Leroy and Lewis Barbecue, named on the just-released list of 25 newcomers.  

Vaughn writes in the Texas Monthly article that "it seemed wrong to make readers wait to hear about the worthy rookies until we released our next Top 50 list," which won't land until 2021.

Texas Monthly also makes a list of the state's best new restaurants, and in early 2019 it named three local shops, though none of them serve barbecue.

Both Panther City BBQ and Smoke Sessions Barbecue started as food trucks, and both are building permanent restaurants. When they open, they "are going to be able to serve so many more people," Vaughn says.

He likes Panther City pitmasters Chris Magallanes and Ernest Morales' stuffed jalapeno, a spicy snack of cheese and pork belly wrapped in bacon. "They're pretty amazing," Vaughn says. 

Look at photos of Panther City's barbecue

At Smoke Sessions, he added them to the list because of pitmaster Chad Sessions' creativity. Beyond Sessions' traditional menu of brisket, turkey and beef sausage, he also sometimes sells garlic-Parmesan ribs reminiscent of chicken wings. Vaughn also likes his pulled pork taco: "It's pulled pork, barbecue sauce, chopped-up dill pickles, fried onions out of the can, and it works," he says. "It's really good."

Look at photos of Smoke Sessions' barbecue

Barbecue joints that opened second restaurants weren't considered for this list, Vaughn says. Heim Barbecue is one example: The second Heim opened this month in Fort Worth but wasn't eligible. However, barbecue joints in Fort Worth are getting Vaughn's attention.

"You can see that other areas of the state have certainly ramped up their barbecue game over the past two years a little more than we've seen in Dallas," Vaughn says. "I think Fort Worth is going to be a big contender for our next top 50."

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In 2017, Texas Monthly's top 50 list included a slew of shops in or near North Texas. Near the top of the list were Cattleack Barbeque, near Galleria Dallas, as the No. 3 in the state, and Bodacious Bar-B-Q in Longview as No. 4. Others named were Lockhart Smokehouse (Dallas), Flores Barbecue (formerly in Whitney, moving to Fort Worth), 4T's Bar-B-Q (Forney), Harris Bar-B-Que (Waxahachie), Heim (Fort Worth), Hutchins (McKinney), Pecan Lodge (Dallas) and Stanley's Famous Pit Barbecue (Tyler).

Panther City BBQ is located at 201 E. Hattie St., Fort Worth, and Smoke Sessions Barbecue is located at 7126 FM 548, Royse City.

Find more stories like this one at guidelive.com/barbecue.

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