Editor's note Nov. 14, 2018: This story has been slimmed from three barbecue joints to two. The last restaurant listed, Three Fires Grill inside the Hawthorn Suites hotel in Dallas, closed without warning the day before this story was published.
You've sampled barbecue at one restaurant, you've been to 'em all, right? Not a chance.
At these two new barbecue joints in Dallas and McKinney, you've got traditional order-by-the-pound meat; sliders and even salads. Meat you there.
Local Yocal BBQ & Grill in McKinney
The group behind popular McKinney butcher shop Local Yocal has opened a barbecue joint. But Matt Hamilton explains that Local Yocal BBQ & Grill doesn't just sell "dude food," as he calls it — though there's chicken-fried steak, Wagyu brisket and a pretty serious cheeseburger on the menu.
The new McKinney restaurant also sells salads and lighter sandwiches. With nearly every menu item, "there are little touches of smoke throughout the menu," Hamilton notes. There's smoked onion dip, a smoked chicken-salad sandwich and a caesar salad with smoked cheese.
Local Yocal has been part of downtown McKinney's growing popularity since it opened eight years ago. Their Local Yocal Farm to Market butcher shop is known for sourcing its beef from within a few hundred miles, and it championed responsibly-raised cattle from the beginning. Hamilton and his team decided to expand their business, from a butcher shop to a nearby barbecue joint, when Hamilton realized that he was missing a business opportunity.
"How many times did you grill out with friends in the last year?" he asks. (You might answer: a few times.) "Now how many times did you eat in a restaurant last year?" (Too many to count.) "I need a piece of that [restaurant] pie," Hamilton says.
Eventually, the butcher shop will be moved so it can share a space with the new barbecue joint. That way, people who want to grill out and those who want to dine in can comingle inside the same store.
He's been a McKinney resident since 2002 and notes that it's "a dining out market" — one where menus need to have food for kids, given the family-focused neighborhood.
"It's been a fun journey," he says.
Local Yocal BBQ & Grill is located at 350 E. Louisiana St., McKinney. It opened Oct. 2.
Louie King in Dallas
Will Fleischman got married and opened a restaurant in the same month. "Talk about crazy," he says. "I'm lucky to even know what day of the week it is."
His new barbecue joint Louie King opened in early October after quite a bit of prodding from a fellow restaurateur. See, Fleischman says he was done with the barbecue business after working as the pitmaster for Lockhart Smokehouse for seven years: "How do you kill something you love? Be around it six to seven days a week," he says. "Everything you own smells like it and you become the immune to the smell. ... I didn't want anything to do with barbecue."
But a restaurateur partnered with him to open a barbecue joint on Greenville Avenue in Dallas, not a 24-hour diner like Fleischman suggested. Louie King moved into the former Daddy Jack's — an address that is "so sentimental" for people who live in the neighborhood, Fleischman included.
The barbecue "represents Lowest Greenville," he says: It's "high-end barbecue in a scratch and dent way."
The restaurant is small and purposefully shabby, with beer signs on the wall and taxidermied animals wearing trucker hats. The menu is familiar — brisket, turkey, hot links, St. Louis ribs — and sides like extra-garlicky mac and cheese and vinegar-based coleslaw. Fleischman is especially jazzed about the rabbit sliders, one of the indicators that he's working with unique proteins. ("How many barbecue joints are even cooking rabbit anyway?" he asks.)
Diners shouldn't miss the freebies, like the hot pickles and three barbecue sauces: mustard, Alabama white and bourbon barbecue. Central Texas style barbecue doesn't need sauce or pickles, but you'll want to try these anyhow.
Lowest Greenville has been a revolving door recently, with Tacos Mariachi expected to move in after restaurants Blind Butcher, Yucatan Taco Stand, Pints & Quarts, BBBop and Don Chingon recently shuttered.
But there's been an influx of new restaurants, too, many near Louie King. "The sense of community down here," Fleischman says, "it's awesome."
Louie King is located at 1916 Greenville Ave., Dallas. It opened Oct. 5.