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Anticipation grows in Tarrant County ahead of Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ list announcement

Who will make the Top 50 list?

TARRANT COUNTY, Texas — Every four years, Texas Monthly and barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn release The list of the top 50 barbecue places in Texas.

The last list came out in 2017. The new list comes out Monday, October 18, 2021.

“With barbecue as booming as it is right now, (narrowing it down to 50) is not an easy feat. I do not envy (Vaughn’s) job,” said Brandon Hurtado, of Hurtado Barbecue.

“(Making The List) is something that everyone thinks about at least once, right?” Trevor Sales of Brix Barbecue said. “To say that I haven't lost any sleep over the last two or three weeks would be a lie.”

“Daniel Vaughn's been in here quite a few times. I feel confident, but there's always that thought in your head like, ‘What if?’” said Derek Crudgington, of Derek Allan’s Texas Barbecue.

Hurtado Barbecue of Arlington and Brix Barbecue and Derek Allan’s of Fort Worth all opened after the last Texas Monthly Top 50 list was released.

In 2017, Texas Monthly ranked Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, first; Franklin Barbecue in Austin, second; and Cattleack Barbecue in Dallas, third.

But the Dallas-Fort Worth barbecue scene has changed since 2017.

“DFW didn't have a ton of representation beyond Cattleack, but that's about to change,” Hurtado said. “I feel like with Goldee’s, Derek Allan, Heim Barbecue, Hutchins, Dayne’s - things are going to change.”

Hurtado opened his barbecue joint in Arlington in February 2020 doing Mexicue, or Texas barbecue with “a Mexican spin on it,” he said. Plans are in the works to open a second location in Little Elm.

“It’s not just a food blog or something like that,” Hurtado said of the Top 50 list. “It's an actual accredited, in our mind, list that's formed by people who eat, sleep, and breathe barbecue just like we do.”

Meanwhile, Brix Barbeque – named after Sales’ dog –plans to open their first “Brix and mortar” on S. Main Street this spring in Fort Worth. They’re currently operating out of an Airstream trailer – called the SmokeStream – located across the street from HopFusion Ale Works.

“It's the list to make,” Sales said. “There's a lot of other good lists, and we're always thrilled to be included in other things. But the Texas Monthly Top 50 list, that is the cream of the crop.”

Sales said his “day job” is selling utility cable and wire products. And he’s learned a lot from the Fort Worth barbecue community.  

“Chris (Magallanes) and Ernie (Morales), the guys over at Panther City BBQ, just down the road from here, they're awesome dudes. They essentially taught me how to smoke a brisket. Pay tons of respect towards those guys,” Sales said. “If they're not on the list -- kind of the same as Dayne’s -- I would be confused 'cause they're putting out awesome stuff.”

Just down the road from the SmokeStream is Derek Allan’s Texas Barbecue, which opened in 2019.

“Oh, it would mean a lot. It's been a goal of mine ever since our food trailer, even before,” Crudgington said. “I've studied Texas Monthly and Daniel Vaughn and what all he does for years. Even getting to meet him the first time was awesome. I still have his picture up over there with me.”

Crudgington serves all Wagyu beef and is open early for breakfast, serving up brisket biscuits.

“It's people really giving it their all every week to make the list. It's the best places in the country,” said Crudgington.


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