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Thursday, March 28, 2013
Railhead Smokehouse (Fort Worth, TX)
I've been trying to shift my local barbecue outings westward and focus more on Cowtown than the Big D. Today, I decided to try out Railhead Smokehouse in Fort Worth.
When I walked in around 12:15, there was already a long wrap-around line to place your over, so obviously Railhead isn't hurting for business. They have over a dozen plaques and framed certificates on the wall showing off their various awards. Although it didn't apply to me, I also appreciated the sign indicating a 25% discount to military, police, and firefighters. Go 'merica!
There was a large seating area, with even more in back behind the bar. Given the extra large lunch crowd, the amount of seating seemed completely necessary. I also noticed a wide variety in their motley clientele: everything from suits to sweatpants.
Today's (Thursday) special was a rib sandwich plate, which sounded awesome, but I was in the mood for a little more food than that. I settled on a Two Meat Combo with ribs and sausage, as well as potato salad, beans, and coleslaw that automatically come on the side. I had originally hoped that Railhead would have a three meat combo to offer, but after receiving my order I'm glad they didn't. I ended up with a massive pile of food for just under $11.00.
As usual, sides first. The potato salad was creamy and full of mustard, and it had a nice amount of crunch to it too. I also liked that they left some of the potato skins mixed in. The potato salad came served pretty ice cold, which is really my only complaint about it. The beans were cooked perfectly and had a ton of flavor. I would have preferred them to be a little spicier, but I'm sure they omitted the spice for the sake of universal appeal. Despite my dislike of coleslaw, I decided to sample it for the sake of completeness. It was sweet and crunchy, but I won't bother to critique it any further.
The sausage had coarse black pepper clearly visible through the casings, and it came with a perfect dark reddish-brown color. When I dug in, I found plenty of snap to the casings. There was also slight smoke ring penetrating just below the casings, made all the more evident by the great smoky flavor. I also caught a little bit of heat on the back end, which was nice. Their housemade barbecue sauce paired really nicely with the sausage in terms of flavor, but unfortunately it cut down on some of the spiciness that I had come to enjoy. Once piece of my sausage accidentally ended up in the beans, and I actually enjoyed that flavor combination much better than the sauce. Overall though, the sausage tasted best on its own.
My ribs had a nice visible char and looked big and glorious. The meat was tender, juicy, and packed with seasonings. There was also a nice rendering on the fat. I know other reviews have detailed a lack of smoke in Railhead's ribs, but much like my sausage, I found that the ribs had a pleasant and noticeable degree of smoke. Each bite came off the bone with ease, but had enough staying power not to entirely debone the ribs all in one pull. Just the way I like it. I didn't even bother with the sauce here, because it definitely wasn't needed.
I really wanted a t-shirt to commemorate my delicious lunch, but instead I settled for a souvenir cup that came full of lemonade and full of some serious Fort Worth cockiness.
If you want a great Fort Worth experience, add Railhead to your list.
2900 Montgomery St.
Fort Worth, TX 76107