Everything is like always at Cousins Bar-B-Q, but better.
The Payne family’s 34-year legacy barbecue restaurant joined the switch to all-natural briskets last fall. Cousins is making other small improvements in a restaurant long regarded as a Fort Worth favorite.
The menu now offers six salads, 13 vegetables and side dishes, three choices of baked potato, and the kind of fresh-cut flavor you rarely find in a cafeteria-style barbecue line.
The brisket, ribs and sausage are hormone-free Creekstone Farms meats, the premium brand used in Texas’ top-ranked smokehouses.
“There’s a taste difference,” said pitmaster Jason Cross, an Uncle Julio’s and On the Border veteran who grew up going to Cousins’ flagship McCart Avenue location and joined the company four years ago.
In a secret taste test, family matriarch Beverly Payne and other descendants of late founder Calvin “Boots” Payne chose the all-natural beef, Cross said.
Cousins also added smoked burgers on Thursdays, an improved potato salad and made-from-scratch banana pudding from an old family recipe.
Barbecue is in the news this week, not only for Texas Monthly’s announcement of Texas’ top 50 barbecue joints but also for a Texas Legislature flap over whether restaurants should be required to precisely weigh meat.
State Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller wants scales checked and licensed for a fee, because his staff does that. But do we really need state weighers to verify every 16-ounce rib-eye or Quarter Pounder?
“We weigh and keep our scales up to date, to be fair to the customer,” Cross said.
But WFAA/Channel 8 told how some restaurants, including Billy’s Oak Acres BBQ, are now selling barbecue by the “chunk” or “clod” of about a pound instead of paying a state fee.
If you precisely weigh, Commissioner Sid says you gotta pay.
CattleAck BBQ in Farmers Branch and Hutchins BBQ in McKinney were the top-rated restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth, with BBQ on the Brazos in Cresson, Flores Barbecue in Whitney and Heim Barbecue in Fort Worth also making the list.
Memorial Day brunches aren’t as common as on other holidays, but Little Red Wasp will be open and serving its popular biscuits and egg dishes.
The Wasp menu features a giant chicken biscuit, a short-rib eggs Benedict, chilaquiles with hometown Mrs. Renfro’s green salsa or the regular menu of excellent burgers and salads.
In the Dallas area, Memorial Day is two-for-one day at Big Al’s Smokehouse.
Every year for one day only, Big Al’s offers a free rack of pork ribs if you buy a rack, or if you buy 2 pounds of another meat.
A little more Love
The secret is out about Tim Love’s newest Fort Worth venture, but it’s not his last.
The celebrity chef of Lonesome Dove Western Bistro will open a rooftop bar-and-grill in a new SpringHill Suites by Marriott hotel going up across North Main Street in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards.
The hotel will replace a bank. Love said he’ll add a “very cool” skyline bar and that Lonesome Dove will cater food and beverage for events at the hotel.
He has not given any more details about plans for a new restaurant in west Fort Worth, including his “Back Dough” gourmet doughnuts from Denton.
Love also operates Lonesome Dove restaurants in Austin and Knoxville, Tenn., along with the Woodshed Smokehouse in Fort Worth and another opening soon in Houston, and Queenie’s Steakhouse in Denton.