We recently ran across Jimmy Fell, the general manager over at the Katy Trail Ice House. You will know Fell most recently from Red Dog Right in Grapevine, but most prominently when he worked for Jim “Sevy” Severson at his namesake restaurant on Preston. Fell was excited to talk about the latest addition to the menu at the Ice House, and how it has drastically improved not only the cuisine but what can be long wait times for the food to arrive at your table.
Enter a giant behemoth of a smoker that is a bit displaced for the moment while the owners build a shed complete with its own exhaust system on the property. Until then, the smoker is located about a block away in a parking lot owned by Katy Trail Ice House.
“We didn’t really expect to do this much in food when we first opened and the kitchen is really small here. Wait times would exceed 40 minutes on busy weekends for a burger and that isn’t acceptable to us. Even though food sales is just 20% of our business, we still did $1.4 million in just food our first year,” said Fell.
The answer was to have a smoker custom built. Now they begin smoking their briskets, ribs and a custom made sausage on Thursday evenings and it continues to operate through the weekend. They only offer barbecue Friday, Saturday and Sundays all day while it lasts.
The barbecue is patterned after Franklin’s in the Hill Country. They actually purchased the various meats offered at Franklin’s and tried to decipher how they might make the barbecue themselves. The result is genius.
To replicate the sausage, which is a spicy and juicy course grind, they took specimens to Rudolph’s Meat Market in Deep Ellum and asked the owners there to emulate the product to the best of their abilities. After a bit of trial and error they finally came up with a more than acceptable version of their very own.
Once the recipes were down they soon figured they needed to hire someone to tend the fire 24 hours a day. The resulting product brings Katy Trail to the very top of the list of barbecue in the Dallas area, joining the ranks of Pecan Lodge and Lockhart in the Bishop Arts District.
The barbecue goes fast, but the kitchen staff compensates by adding more to the smoker each week. Included wit each plate and sandwich comes a side of side of beans and close slaw and both hold up on their own very well. The beans are actually haunting.
The crowd at Katy Trail is very mixed with families and people of all ages coming out during the day and early evenings and a more party centric crowd late at night.