Thanks to the barbecue boom Texas has experienced over the last decade, ridiculously talented pitmasters have cropped up everywhere, breathing new life into a regional cuisine once associated with dusty roads and weathered picnic tables. (Okay, there’s still plenty of that.) These pitmasters and chefs are not only crushing classic ’cue like they’ve been at it for 70 years, but infusing their food with just as much culture as smoke. From a group of twenty-somethings who are masters of their craft to a former fine-dining chef whose approach to barbecue is refreshingly stripped-down and honest, these are the relative newcomers (all opened within the last four years) who are dominating Texas’ vibrant barbecue scene…
Panther City BBQ — named as an homage to Fort Worth’s feline moniker — was founded by buddies Chris Magallanes and Ernest Morales after the duo took top prize at a barbecue competition and decided to quit their AV jobs. Since opening in 2018, the Near Southside neighborhood trailer has earned itself a legion of fans for slinging killer barbecue and fun, Mexican street food-inspired “twists.” Drop in for brisket with a classic peppery bark that melts in your mouth, brisket elote (creamy smoked corn topped with brisket, queso fresco, cilantro, and salsa) and delicious crunchy pork belly burnt ends inspired by the trailer’s former occupant, Heim BBQ.
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