by Steven Doyle photos by Bryan Coonrod
The owners of Pecan Lodge, Justin and Diane Fourton, have been blessed. In 2010 they decided to leave their corporate jobs to take on their first restaurant and took up digs in Shed #2 at the Dallas Farmers Market. The plan was to recreate the same solid BBQ that Justin grew up on in Abilene, and mix in some terrific sides and fried chicken straight from Diane’s family table. It was slow going at first even though Justin was blazing a trail and highhandedly resurrected the Dallas BBQ scene. The love and expertise in which Justin throws down his succulent brisket, meaty ribs, and heavily sought after burnt ends is legend unto itself.
It probably didn’t seem like an over night success for the Fourton’s. In the beginning the foot traffic was not the same as it is today at the downtown farmers market. That all came after a few key television appearances, specifically on the Food Network’s Guy Fieri circus, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Although Fieri is abrasive, his audience is loyal and soon queued up around the building for a taste of what the Fourton’s knew to be the best BBQ around. And it is.
The lines started stacking up early to obtain the coveted sweet spot, and for the privilege of ringing the opening bell. That i when the meat started slicing off the cutting board and onto the plates of hundreds of hungry revelers.
It takes a true devotee of BBQ to understand how to create the perfect beef rib. Large and meaty with a perfect lean to fat ratio, the monster-sized beef rib is heavenly in its brilliance. All it takes is one rib to satisfy a small family.
Not to be left out, the fried chicken is also in a class by itself. However, after waiting in line and breathing in the intoxicating smoke fumes for three hours, the fried chicken seems like a participant prize for some. This is definitely a winning plate. Same with the Hot Mess which is an over-the-top sized baked sweet potato stuffed with moist pulled pork. For a while Diane was creating angel dusted baby fried pies that were a easy on the eyes as in the belly. Banana pudding fans raved about Diane’s grandmother’s recipe that has always been a perfect ending to any Pecan Lodge meal.
This past Sunday the Fourton’s served their last rib in Shed #2 and will soon rise in ranks with their own spot in Deep Ellum. Some time later in May fans will be able to sit in comfort at the new Pecan Lodge located at 2702 Main in Deep Ellum. Presumably this will eliminate the lines. Presumably. The new restaurant will also offer a full bar menu, new menu items and plenty of space,even for special events (book your Christmas party now).
We have a retrospective of photos that detail the early days, and this weekend where we enjoyed the last slice of brisket to roll off the line at the Dallas Farmers Market.
Diane and Justin courtesy of Facebook