If you will recall, FWHITW and some of its friends did an extensive Fort Worth BBBBQ review. Many delicious places were discovered and the review was a culinary and literary success. People cried at its brilliance. That was before one of my favorite places in the state came to town.
Cooper's Pit BBQ comes from the Hill Country and has begun its chainification and Fort Worth is home to the largest location. At 15.4 million square feet, a patio the size of Rhode Island, and enough BBQ pits to cook the Stock Show's Champion Steer and all of his family and friends ("happy cows make good brisket"), this is the place to eat BBQ in town. Of course every real Texan has his or her own opinion on BBQ, but they're all wrong if they differ from mine.
Most BBQ places focus on a rich sauce that is typically thick and red. Cooper's has a vinegar-y sauce that is light and your meat is dipped in it (upon request) for ultimate flavorfulness. If you choose not to have your meat dipped in the sauce, that's completely acceptable and the crew will not look you up and down as a possible yankee. But if you're a non-dipper, take your clam chowder, latte and subaru back to where you belong.
When you enter you'll see two large pits with foil pans full of meat. These pans are filled with the meats of Angels. Amon Carter once said, "Fort Worth is only as good as the Angel meat it eats." Speaking of Amon Carter, lets bring back some dallas hate. As of this writing, Fort Worth has the least amount of indictments for former city council members, the number one blog in the metroplex according to Urbanspoon, and now, the best BBQ place in the 'plex.
Back to the meat. Tell the guys at the pit what you want and they'll cut it off the hock of meat sitting in front of them. Want some brisket, sausage, turkey, roasted chicken, or cabrito (spanish for "the brito" which is a small feral cat)? No problem. Want all of it? Less of a problem. They also have ribeyes and pork. Here's a hint on what to order: get a medium sized portion of something you know you like and then order a small portion of something unique. I get the brisket and cabrito (both dipped in awesomesauce). You can't go wrong unless you skip this place and go up the street to McDonalds, or to dallas.
After you order, your food will be put on a tray. Go inside and they'll weigh your food, wrap it in paper and give it back. Here is where you can get potato salad, cole slaw, cobbler and some other things. But don't over do it. Remember, you've just picked up eight pounds of meat and the beans are still waiting for you. Oh yeah, unlimited beans, patiently waiting for you beyond the cashier's area. After getting weighed, go pay, get your cup for some Big Red or sweet tea and go to the fixin's station. There you can get pickles, jalapenos, onion, more sauce, and beans.
The beans are served family style (big brother eats first and you wait behind him). Get beans or you've wasted your trip. It would be like going to Billy Bob's, grabbing a sprite and then playing sudoku on your phone all night long. On my recent trip the beans were a bit undercooked, but the flavor was there.
What about the meat, you're wondering. As expected, the brisket was so tender that I could have cut it with my wit.... The flavor, enhanced by the sauce, was terrific and smooth. I also wrapped a little white bread around some pieces to add some "nutrition". The cabrito was tender, flavorful and surprisingly moist. I ended up with about 6.3 cubic tons of meat and ate most of it. I would have eaten more but I filled up on beans and Big Red.
The people I ate with had brisket, sausage, a ribeye and a potato with brisket on top. All were reportedly delicious and many have made return trips since then.
I am generally pretty positive about places, but I'm telling you that this places is a must go. Take the family and let them run around tripping cowboys. Or go with adult friends and have a couple beers, sit on the covered patio and enjoy that famous Stockyards fresh air whilst tripping over kids.
Cooper's gets One Hole on the Hole-Scale. It's big, bright, clean, fresh, and not at all intimidating. The restaurant is located at 301 Stockyards Boulevard just north of Billy Bobs. Boots are not required, but yankees should consider them as a cover.
Let me know if you've been and what you think. Since we're about to get into road trip season, I'd encourage the Coopers fans to head down to Llano to visit their other shop and check out the Harley riders.