Sonny Bryan’s brisket basks in hickory smoke until it is so tender that it virtually falls apart when you pick up a slice. Piled high in a sandwich, the meat needs no condiment; but Sonny Bryan’s sauce happens to be marvelous – tangy and complex, a great companion to the gentle-flavored beef. Turkey, ham, pork, pork ribs, and sausage are also on the menu; and every one is superb. It is possible to have sandwiches that include two kinds of meat, and even cheese. But if you are coming to Sonny Bryan’s for the first time, have a simple brisket sandwich – chopped or sliced, it doesn’t matter – and you will understand why Texans are passionate about barbecue.
Years ago when he was asked to tell the secret of his delicious barbecue, Sonny answered, “The only secret is that there is no secret. No spice, no tenderizer, no liquid smoke. Just good meat. Meat, time, and smoke.”
On the side with whatever meat you choose, Sonny Bryan’s offers a slew of good side dishes, including French fries, barbecue-sauced beans, potato salad, black-eyed peas, cole slaw, potato chips by the bag, and corn on the cob.
The Bryan barbecue dynasty goes back to 1910 when Elijah Bryan, Sonny’s grandfather, opened a smoke shack in Oak Cliff. The Sonny Bryan’s on Inwood Road opened in 1958, and it still features awkward but irresistibly charming school-desk seating. Sonny Bryan himself has since passed on, but the family tradition continues at several Sonny Bryan restaurants all around the Metroplex and two in Utah. For a list of current Sonny Bryan locations, log onto the Sonny Bryan website.