2 barbecue joints in North Texas make Texas Monthly’s latest list

Expect the crowds at Panther City BBQ in Fort Worth and Smoke Sessions Barbecuein 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.

“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

  • Panther City BBQ co-pitmasters Ernie Morales and Chris Magallanes prepared a Southside Slammer sandwich comprised of (from bottom) smoked bologna, brisket, pulled pork, jalape–o cheese sausage and topped with pork belly on Hattie St. in Fort Worth, Saturday, April 19, 2019. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)Tom Fox/Staff Photographer
  • Panther City BBQ co-pitmasters Ernie Morales and Chris Magallanes smoke their meats on a trailer mounted Moberg smoker which is parked next to The Republic Street Bar in Fort Worth, Saturday, April 19, 2019. They have a permanent location being built on a vacant lot on the opposite side of the bar. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)Tom Fox/Staff Photographer
  • Co-pitmasters Ernie Morales (left) and Chris Magallanes are building a permanent location for Panther City BBQ in a vacant lot opposite of The Republic Street Bar on Hattie St. in Fort Worth, Saturday, April 19, 2019. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)Tom Fox/Staff Photographer
  • Panther City BBQ co-pitmasters Ernie Morales and Chris Magallanes are turning out barbecue for customers from their trailer adjacent to The Republic Street Bar on Hattie St. in Fort Worth, Saturday, April 19, 2019. Folks are able to eat inside the bar. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)Tom Fox/Staff Photographer
  • Panther City BBQ co-pitmasters Chris Magallanes prepares brisket tacos and sandwiches with Ernie Morales in their trailer adjacent to The Republic Street Bar on Hattie St. in Fort Worth, Saturday, April 19, 2019. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)Tom Fox/Staff Photographer
  • Panther City BBQ co-pitmaster Chris Magallanes (right) puts out the BBQ sign as they turn out lunch from their trailer adjacent to The Republic Street Bar on Hattie St. in Fort Worth, Saturday, April 19, 2019. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)Tom Fox/Staff Photographer
  • Panther City BBQ co-pitmasters Ernie Morales and Chris Magallanes serve pork belly poppers from their trailer adjacent to The Republic Street Bar on Hattie St. in Fort Worth, Saturday, April 19, 2019. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)Tom Fox/Staff Photographer
  • A permanent location for Panther City BBQ is being built in a vacant lot on the opposite side of The Republic Street Bar on Hattie St. in Fort Worth, Saturday, April 19, 2019. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)Tom Fox/Staff Photographer
  • Panther City BBQ co-pitmasters Ernie Morales and Chris Magallanes cut brisket with a blade labeled Vegetarian in their trailer on Hattie St. in Fort Worth, Saturday, April 19, 2019. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)Tom Fox/Staff Photographer

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.”

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