Wednesday, March 5, 2008

BBBBQ News

Apparently this was in Friday's Startlegram, but I caught on today. Cooper's BBQ from Llano, Texas is opening a location in North Fort Worth.

If you've never been, Cooper's, to me, is the quintessential Texas BBQ joint (even though you don't see them everywhere in Texas). I can remember going to Cooper's and similar places (Hard Eight) back when my dad and I would go to Acuna or to West Texas for any number of reasons.

When you get to one of these pit BBQ places, you don't go inside first. You go to a giant pit smoker with a guy there in an apron and a camo hat. He'll ask what you want. Point to whatever type of meat you want in the pit and he'll cut you off an appropriately sized piece. Take that inside, where a sweet lady with a drawl will weigh it and ask if you want some sides.

Every decent pit BBQ place has free beans, so don't look like a fool by ordering some. Get your sweet tea and have a seat. You'll have a hunk of meat on a tray, some white bread at the table, some beans, and maybe some potato salad. It all looks manageable, but its not. It doesn't really matter though, because you'll be obese soon enough so fill up, you'll need the fuel.

For the vegetarians out there, I'm sure they have goat. Does that count?

Anyways, this place is opening in North Fort Worth and I've got mixed feelings. Its kind of like how you probably felt when Kincaid's starting expanding. You're happy for the owner but you know the replicas will probably fail in comparison. So if you go to Cooper's in Fort Worth and you don't like, go down to Llano and give it another chance.

20 comments:

cdees39 said...

I am a little scared also. I heard the Hard 8 in Coppell was not very good. Of course, country bbq place in Coppell sounds strange to me also.

I haven't been to Llano location yet. SHould I make a road trip before this one opens or after?

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Thats a tough question. The new one isn't opening until the Fall, so you wont have really good BBQ for awhile if you wait. However, you could really tell how good the original is in comparison if you had it later.

There are two other BBQ joints in Llano that some claim are better. One is not a pit BBQ restaurant and its really good. But different. The other is a much smaller operation out west of Llano near the county line. Apparently thats where the locals go now that Coopers is so crowded.

So I would recommend you take a trip down there and hit up one place for dinner on friday, one place for lunch on saturday and the third for dinner on saturday.

Also, please take you with me because that would be the vacation my dreams are made of.

Steve said...

Anyone who calls them self a Texan needs to stop by Cooper's in Llano at least once before they die. We used to stop there in college on our way to Lubbock for UT/Texas Tech football games. Walk up to the smoke pit outside, point at a piece of meat, they slap it on a red trey and you take it inside to be carved up to your liking. In addition to your normal BBQ they have great smoked steaks and pork chops.

cdees39 said...

We have been talking about that for years. We need to do it. I also think we should hit the Mason location also.
I will let you know. You are more than welcome to come with us.

Anonymous said...

I just hope it doesn't become a caricature of Coopers in Llano. Since it will be in the parking lot of Billy Bob's it will be a tourist trap and will probably play up to the "foreigners" by overdoing the extremes. Who knows? Hopefully it will be fantastic! It sure will smell good in the Stockyards, won't it?

You forgot to mention the onions, pickles and jalapenos on the butcher paper plate and the squeeze bottles of butter(?) and ranch dressing on the tables of all the best places. and the cobblers.

If you go to Llano at the right time you can see the bald eagles' nest as you drive in on 29. The eagles are very impressive!

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Anonymous, I have the same worry. I figure that if the food is good, I can push past all the overly done, fake "ambiance" and enjoy some beans and brisket.

Steve, I think you're right and I think we should require people claiming to be Texans to pass an exam. One requirement would be to provide a receipt from Coopers. A trip to the World Championship Goat Cookoff in Brady could also suffice.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Dear FWHITW,
1)Where on the North Side will this place be located?
2)And as a southerner, I gotta ask....will they also have pork BBQ?

Jeremy said...

Oh fantastic! I used to drive chartered buses, and found out about this place from a group that stopped there. Incredible! Later I met my wife, who is from Marble Falls, and every time we go to visit her parents I insist on driving the 30 miles (the eagle's nest is on the way) and stop in for some of that amazing BBQ. I used to think it was the best on the planet until I found the Baby Back Shack in Dallas (yes, I know, Dallas.) But it is definitely worth setting foot in the big d to eat there.

JR said...

Oh! I've been to the Goat Cook-off! Twice!

But sadly, I haven't been to Coopers. So far I haven't found any smoked brisket that can even hold a candle to the stuff my husband makes, but I'm more than willing to go there and give it a go!

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Did Jr just volunteer to enter a brisket into our BBBBQ off?

I've only been to the World Championship Goat Cookoff once, but it was a great trip. I was surprised at how good the goat BBQ was.

Anonymous said...

also just built a Coopers BBQ in New Braunfels/Gruene across from the Harley Davidson shop. They are NOW OPEN. Haven't been there yet will have to try it to see if the pork ribs are as phenominal as at the original Coopers in Llano that I always go to.

Anonymous said...

What is the latest?

Ned said...

All of you who haven't been to Cooper's need to stop pretending like you know barbecue and go to Llano. While you're making the trip, take a ride to Lockhart and hit Black's and Kreutz, also. Stop at Artz Rib House in Austin and The Salt Lick in Driftwood just south of Austin for pit stops between the two towns. It'll be a weekend you'll never forget. Then and only then can you claim to be properly acclimated to Texas barbecue.

Sepulchre - Of course they have pork! Are you kidding? If you've been to a barbecue place without pork they don't belong in Texas. Cooper's has goat; they have venison; they have everything.

JR - It doesn't matter how good your husband's brisket is. He's easily met his match. If you deny it when you taste Cooper's you are either biased, or your husband isn't from earth.

Cooper's is incredible! You will all love it!

Anonymous said...

To whoever said Hard Eight was not good: are you nuts?

I go there quite often and it has never let me down! Fantastic BBQ.

Anonymous said...

You guys are also forgetting the ACTUAL family owned Cooper's in Junction, Texas...I have been to both and I can say proudly that the Junction one is WAY better. Mark Cooper sometimes even rings my family up as we eat there during lunch sometimes...

Anonymous said...

I travel around the world and have eaten steak, ribs, and BBQ at some extremely expensive, a few 5 star restaurants and I can tell you that without a doubt, Cooper's in Llano is the best I have ever had. I routinely fly the family and friends down there from lunch and have never been disappointed.

It is a "must try" place in my mind,

Anonymous said...

The Pit in Saginaw has the best bbq and the coldest beer in town. I won't be tempted to go check this place out, even being only a few miles from my house.

Anonymous said...

The Cooper's in Junction is not even in the same ballpark as the Llano Cooper's! They're claiming it's the same, but NO WAY...it kinda disgraces the name in comparison. Can't wait to try Fort Worth. I heard they'll have live music too? Is that true?

lex luthor said...

Cooper's opened in Fort Worth today. It's huge and brand new, and, yeah, across the street from Billy Bob's, so that takes some getting used to.

But all of us had been to the Llano location many times and the food seems to be very, VERY close to what you get there.

There'll be locals who'll balk at an outside BBQ joint coming in, but it's now the best BBQ in town, by far.

lex luthor said...

oh, yeah, and to answer the southerner who asked if they have pork: just like the Llano location, they have pork ribs, double-cut pork chops, and pork tenderloin, but no pulled pork.