Pecan Lodge has been one of our go-to spots for BBQ in Dallas since their debut at the Dallas Farmers Market. Owned by Diane and Justin Fourton, the duo has been busy making their mark on the BBQ landscape one rib at a time. And damn are those ribs tasty.
Recently the Fourton’s were featured on the Food Network slice of insanity, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri. Not sure if this little restaurant that is located in the Market’s Shed Two qualifies as a dive or a diner, it certainly isn’t a drive-in. Regardless, the program made a huge impact on the young business.
We chatted up both Diane and Justin Fourton this weekend after they sold out of virtually everything on the Pecan Lodge menu. Justin explained that the business took a fast progression starting last Thursday.
“Thursday and Friday doubled and tripled the usual business, but Saturday doubled that,” said Fourton.
The Fourtons are only open for business Thursday through Sunday each week and typically Thursday is their slowest day, but this past Thursday broke all sales records. Then there was Friday. Then Saturday. And Sunday. Each day had higher sales numbers. The crowds could not get enough of Justin’s meat.
The young couple were totally prepared for the weekend and overall sold 900 pounds of brisket and 230 pounds of ribs. They also sold 175 pounds of sausage and 220 pounds of pulled pork. They didn’t keep track of the fried chicken, but the orders just kept coming at breakneck speeds.
“We would typically sell 18 hot messes a day, but were doing 85 each day this last weekend. Lurlene got a work out,” said Diane. The hot mess Diane refers to is an oversized sweet potato loaded down with sea salt, a pile of brisket and a cream sauce that elicits a total sensory meltdown.
Lurlene is the Fourton’s reliable smoker that is corralled out back of the tiny restaurant.
Bill Glover owns a shop in Shed Two called the Fudgemaker’s and he stood as a witness to this weekend’s meat festival. Glover mentioned that the lines on Saturday started swelling at 10:30am and snaked around the inside of the building with hundreds of guests eager to grab a taste. Just before the Fourton’s pulled the open sign out Saturday there were already 40 people eagerly waiting in line. Some waited up to an hour for their food.
Diane worked the crowd and mingled about keeping everyone happy. She stayed close to her Twitter account to keep her BBQ fans updated on wait times.
With all this eagerness to sample the Fourton’s food you might ask if all the attention was worthwhile. We can say positively yes. The brisket is one of the finest examples in our area, and the ribs are even better. There is a giant movement in the fried chicken trend in Dallas and Pecan Lodge makes some of the finest.
When Justin has the urge to make his burnt ends, crowds flock and for a very good reason. For the uninitiated, a burnt end is basically chunks of the brisket cap that are dipped in sauce and smoked for an additional few hours. The result is a sweet and savory meat bomb that is at once explosive and addictive.
Other vendors in Shed Two, including Fudgemakers, noted better than average sales for the weekend. All the restaurants benefitted from the Fourton’s good fortune and that made Diane extremely happy.
“We want everyone to do well here. We are a family,” said Diane.
We asked both of the Fourton’s if they had plans to open a second location of Pecan Lodge or possibly a different restaurant and each said separately that was not in the works at this time. They were both cautious and wanting to see how the new notoriety played out. Diane mentioned that if they ever did open a new restaurant it would feature their BBQ, but also items from their catering menu that is not on the Pecan Lodge menu such as quail and other meats and sides.
Until that time, the Fourton’s are taking the new business in stride. They were having breakfast this morning at Breadwinners when one of their guests from the weekend approached their table and said they waited in line for the BBQ and loved every bite. The happy gent also said he would be back this coming weekend. You can’t get a better compliment than that.