The name “Pecan Lodge” originated with owner Justin Fourton’s grandfather’s ranch in Abilene, and much of what Justin and his wife Diane do is rooted in their heritage. The formula seems to have worked: What started as Shed #2 at Dallas’ farmer’s market is now a local favorite in Deep Ellum.
Pecan Lodge’s three offset pits burn 24 hours a day, fueled by “nothing but wood and passion.” The smokehouse sits next to the restaurant and is filled with a combination of mesquite and oak wood to elicit low, slow, and indirect heat.
The brisket is made in the classic Central Texas style but its spice rub is more complicated and aligned with East Texas, reflecting nearby Louisiana and its spicy Cajun roots. The brisket is blackened to perfection, its thick, peppery crust a mix of perfectly rendered fat and tender meat. We get ours in a combination plate to which we add pork ribs (basically completely off the bone), and an almost-too-juicy cheddar jalapeño sausage.
The brisket is also used for the “South Texas barbacoa” that sits atop the Hot Mess, which is a jumbo sea salt-crusted baked sweet potato that’s piled with butter, cheese, green onions and chipotle cream. The meat has much of the brisket flavor but is significantly less fatty, and takes on a totally different tone with the sweetness of the potato and the cool chipotle cream. It’s unique and oh, so filling. It could easily feed four.
Burnt ends are thick, dense, and more meaty than fatty, more smoky than sweet. The thick pulled pork is made from shoulders, not the entire pig. Though it doesn’t need it, it comes with what Pecan Lodge calls “pork sauce,” a vinegar-based number that was inspired by the Fourtons’ time in Charlotte, North Carolina. A traditional sauce, though really unnecessary, is more Texas-style with dried guajillo chiles, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, and a few other goodies. It’s more acidic and less sweet than you’d expect.
Tangy sliced pickles and white onions are included with every meat order, and we also get a side of creamy mac ‘n’ cheese with buried bits of jalapeños, and lightly fried okra. A scoop of gooey peach cobbler finishes things off.
We order more than enough for two, and will have leftovers for days. But I have a feeling it’ll only get better.