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From corporate world to smoked meats: meet the men behind popular ‘Panther City BBQ’

Friends Chris Magallanes and Ernie Morales took the leap in 2018 and opened a BBQ trailer on Fort Worth’s near southside and haven’t looked back since.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Out of a tiny trailer on a quiet Fort Worth street, two men are living out their dreams, one brisket at a time.

“I do [pinch myself] all the time, I definitely do all the time,” said Chris Magallanes, one of the owners of Panther City BBQ. The business is located on the city’s near southside.

Magallanes and his longtime friend Ernie Morales worked in the corporate audio visual world for years, but they lived for the weekends when they fired up the smoker. The men said they learned to cook in their backyards.

“That’s how we would socialize is cooking, really,” Magallanes said. “It brought everyone together.”

After taking first place in the first BBQ competition they ever entered, things started to pick up steam. In 2018, the duo quit their jobs with the audio visual company and opened Panther City BBQ.

“It was very scary!” they said. 

But within their first few months, Texas Monthly did a favorable write up on the startup and they saw their crowds grow nearly immediately.

Now, day after day, people line up for sausage, ribs, even elote– Mexican street corn– with their brisket on top.

“I like seeing people get away from the gas and the industrial size, super easy-to-control smokers,” he said. “This is as old school as it gets.”

The men behind Panther City have quickly found themselves on the receiving end of big BBQ accolades.

“We made the 2019 Texas Monthly list of top 25 new BBQ joints in Texas,” Magallanes said of their most recent mention. 

And if their perch near Main and Pennsylvania looks familiar, it’s because it’s the same exact spot that Heim BBQ got its start, also in a trailer.

“Is there something in the water here?” WFAA asked the duo.

“Yeah, you would think so, but same thing with Travis and Emma [Heim],” Magallanes said. “Hard work will pay off.”

They’re now building a permanent spot on the property, next to Republic Bar, the bar where people currently take the barbecue to eat. They hope to keep the BBQ coming for years there.

“There’s just something about coming in at 3:00 in the morning and the peacefulness over the city and lighting these smokers up,” Magallanes said. “I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Original article

25 Best Barbecue Spots In North Texas for ABC

#9. Panther City Barbecue

201 E Hattie St, Fort Worth, Texas

The Pather City Boys are new to the Texas barbecue game but they’re already playing the game at full speed. Somehow these boys fast forwarded right to award-winning barbecue status. It might be because their serving bad azz brisket sides and sausage out of their little trailer on the south side off Fort Worth. I thought the sausage was stupid delicious and the bark on the brisket was stupendous. Such an amazing meaty flavor. You will stand in line, but trust me it is worth the wait. #NewBBQboyzInTheFort

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New BBQ restaurant with soulful touch opens on Fort Worth’s east side

The east side of Fort Worth will soon be home to a new barbecue restaurant, thanks to a chef who imbues his food with a soul-food touch.

Called Smoke-A-Holics BBQ, it will open in July at 1417 Evans Ave., in a spot most recently occupied by a bakery and cake shop. The 1,000-square-foot restaurant will be cozy, seating a dozen people inside and a dozen on a patio area outside.

The restaurant will be the first brick-and-mortar venture for owner Derrick Walker, a Fort Worth native who got started in the barbecue business in 2006, catering special events and hosting pop-ups.

Last year, he purchased a food truck from the owners of Panther City BBQ and started parking on weekends on South Hulen Street, where he quickly developed a following.

“After I got the food truck, it blew up,” Walker says. “At the same time, there was a paradigm shift toward barbecue. It really took off in Fort Worth. I’ve fought off investors. I wanted to open my own place, my own way.”

Walker’s take on barbecue is refreshingly different from others. In addition to staples such as brisket, sausage, chicken, and spare ribs, he’ll offer several items with a soul food twist, including smoked ox tails with cheese grits and smoked and smothered chopped steak.

Side dishes will include collard greens, candied yams, and hot water cornbread.

Some items will be available on his regular menu; others will as a special on Sundays only. His hours will be 11 am to 7 pm Thursday-Sunday.

He’ll also offer most of the items available on his food truck, including traditional barbecue sandwiches, brisket nachos, and a signature dish called the Big Macc, consisting of a pile of smoked mac & cheese topped with chopped brisket, green onions, sausage, and barbecue sauce.

“If I had to coin a phrase for my food, I’d call it ‘Tex soul food’,” he says. “There’s a lot of Texas in it, a lot of soul food, and a lot of me.”

Meats will be smoked in a 1,000-gallon offset smoker, over a mix of pecan and mesquite.

Walker has spent the majority of his life working in the food industry. For 18 years, he worked for the Baylor Health Care System in Fort Worth as an executive chef and food service director.

He learned how to barbecue from his grandfather. “Ten years old, I was outside, learning how to season meat from my grandad,” he says. “We had lands in east Texas, and we were always having big family get-togethers out there, big cookouts. That’s where I learned everything.”

The restaurant will be located about five minutes from where Walker grew up.

“I definitely feel like I’ve come full circle,” he says. “To be opening a place right around the corner from where I grew up – that’s something special to me.”

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BBQ pitmaster-preacher ‘Jube’ draws praise in Stop Six

What struck me right away about pitmaster Patrick Joubert at Jube’s Smokehouse1900 S. Edgewood Terrace, is how much respect he has for his fellow pitmasters.

“That Panther City BBQ — those boys are doing a good job over there,” he said last weekend.

“And Hurtado [in Arlington] — those folks are working hard over there,” he said. “We all pull together.”

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2 North Texas BBQ joints make Texas Monthly’s top 25 list

TEXAS, USA — Four years is too long to wait to recognize Texas’ best barbecue joints, Texas Monthly has decided. 

For the second time since 2015, the magazine has released a “midterm” report that focuses exclusively on new barbecue joints in Texas. The magazine notes that “the level of activity in the Texas barbecue scene had gotten so intense that it seemed wrong to make readers wait to hear about the worthy rookies until we released our next Top 50 list, which comes out every four years” and is scheduled to return in 2021.

Texas Monthly only evaluated barbecue joints that had permanent addresses and regular hours, and only original locations were considered for the list of new eateries.

Of the top 25 new barbecue joints in Texas, two are located within North Texas: Panther City BBQ and Smoke Sessions Barbecue.

Panther City, which is located at 201 E. Hattie in Fort Worth, currently is transitioning from a trailer to a brick-and-mortar establishment. Texas Monthly Barbecue Editor Daniel Vaughn touts the pork belly burnt ends topped with a cheese-stuff jalapeño that’s wrapped in bacon.

Headed up by Chad and Jessica Sessions, Vaughn says Smoke Sessions is worth the drive to the Royse City area for “flawless smoked brisket” and “stunning house-made sausages.”

Not surprisingly, many of the honorees were concentrated in central Texas.

Click here to read more about the honorees in Texas Monthly’s report.

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Panther City BBQ in the Texas Monthly Top 25 Barbecue Joints in Texas

Panther City BBQ Top 25 in Texas

Opened: 2018
Pitmasters: Chris Magallanes and Ernest Morales
Pro tip: Check their hours, as the transition from trailer to brick-and-mortar might affect their schedule.

Fort Worth’s Heim Barbecue is the originator of the pork belly burnt end, but when Panther City BBQ took over the lot where the Heim trailer once parked, they did their best imitation. It’s good, but more impressive is how they pair it with a jalapeño, which they cut in half, stuff with cheese, top with the pork belly, and wrap in bacon. There are plenty more smoked meats to love too. A brick-and-mortar on the site should be completed later this year. 201 E. Hattie, 214-532-3657. Open Thur–Sat 11–4, Sun noon–4.

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Fort Worth barbecue restaurant makes list of best new BBQ in Texas

One lucky barbecue restaurant in Fort Worth has earned a spot on a new list by the state’s top BBQ expert. Texas Monthly has released a list of Best New Barbecue Restaurants, and Panther City BBQ is on it.

This popular barbecue trailer on Fort Worth’s south side comes in at an impressive No. 8.

The magazine’s barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn calls the list a “midterm report,” which he’s providing as a way to keep up with what he calls a “staggering” number of openings that have occurred since the magazine published its top 50 BBQ joints in 2017.

This list has 25 entries, most spread across central Texas. The No. 1 pick is LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue, a foodie-ish place where they put kimchi on their sandwiches that opened in Austin in 2017.

As Malcolm Mayhew reported for CultureMap in 2018, Panther City is in the process of upgrading from trailer to real restaurant. Vaughn calls it a good imitation of Fort Worth’s Heim Barbecue:

“Fort Worth’s Heim Barbecue is the originator of the pork belly burnt end, but when Panther City BBQ took over the lot where the Heim trailer once parked, they did their best imitation,” he says. “It’s good, but more impressive is how they pair it with a jalapeño, which they cut in half, stuff with cheese, top with the pork belly, and wrap in bacon. There are plenty more smoked meats to love too. A brick-and-mortar on the site should be completed later this year.”

Panther City also earned a spot on CultureMap‘s 10 Best Restaurants in Fort Worth, as part of our annual Tastemaker Awards.

One other restaurant in the DFW made the list: Smoke Sessions Barbecue, which opened in Royse City in 2017 at 307 W. Texas Hwy 66.

“Chad and Jessica Sessions moved their food truck one town over from Fate to Royse City last year and at press time were moving again, to a spot on Highway 66, where they plan to open a brick-and-mortar,” the list says. “But thanks to flawless smoked brisket, stunning house-made sausages, and an array of satisfying sides made from scratch, it’s worth the trip for Dallasites who are willing to drive an hour or so.”

Vaughn gives praise to Smoke Sessions’ unusual offering of tacos, which they feature one day a week.

“Tuesday is taco day,” Vaughn says. “I like the smoked barbacoa and brisket, both of which are served with pickled onions, cilantro, and crema. But things get wild with the pulled-pork taco. I never thought I’d enjoy a taco with chopped dill pickles and fried onions from a can until I tried it here.”

Vaughn acknowledges that many of the restaurants on the list are trailers and pop-ups. “Our rules require that a place have a permanent address and regular hours,” he says.

This is the second time Texas Monthly has done a midterm barbecue report focused exclusively on new barbecue joints; the first time was in 2015.

“The level of activity in the Texas barbecue scene had gotten so intense that it seemed wrong to make readers wait to hear about the worthy rookies until we released our next Top 50 list, which comes out every four years,” Vaughn says. The next top 50 list comes out in 2021.

“And things have only gotten more intense lately,” he says. “When I compiled my last midterm report, I easily narrowed my picks down to 25. This year, though, it was harder because there was a lot more great new barbecue to evaluate.”

Original article

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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