Monday, February 8, 2010

Cooper's Old Time Pit BBQ

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.

Cooper's Old Time Pit BBQ on Urbanspoon


Doohickie said...

Wait.... there's a Cooper's in FORT WORTH???!?!??? I had no clue!

Ashley said...

I went to the Cooper's down south and it was amazing! So excited to know there is a Cooper's here now...can't wait to try it :)

Anonymous said...

OMG - didn't realize they were open in FW...can't wait to go. Their sauce is unique, but once you've had it, your mouth will water just waiting for the next trip.

Funny review, as always. Thanks for keeping us informed.

Clay said...

I love feral cat.

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Ashley, I've been going to the Llano one forever so I appreciate your excitement. Doohickie, ride on over there then you can ride off all the BBQ on the way home.

Anonymous, you're exactly right, it is a unique flavor and it has ruined me for all thick bbq sauces.

Clay, they smoke it nice and slow so you can really taste the flavor of the feral cats.

Thanks for reading.

Blue Moon said...

I gotta disagree about Coopers Fort Worth -- brisket was tender, but was cooked without any smoke flavor. Ditto pork ribs -- nice, but no smoke. Off the Bone on Mansfield Hwy & 820 much better... and your sister BBQ blogger said it is #1 in DFW. Coopers FW has a cool atmosphere, and has some of the best bbq in Fort Worth (which unfortunately is not saying much), but is no where near as good as the Llano location or the aforementioned Off the Bone.

Anonymous said...

I haven't eaten at the FW Coopers, yet, but the one in Llano does pork ever so much better than beef. I found the brisket there to be lacking, but the big ol' pork chop was incredible. Now, when passing though I get pork chops and sausage. And eat the left overs for a week.

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Blue Moon, if you haven't noticed from the self-centered writing style and attitude, FWHITW is an only child. Plus, although I am now salivating for some of the BBQ you mentioned, its not in Fort Worth. There are probably lots of places throughout the world that are better than some of the places we have here, but they don't matter and you're not my real dad so you can't tell me what to do.

Anonymous, I think the Pork has got to be the highest rated food that Coopers serves. Everybody I talk to says that. I've always been happy with their ribs and the flavor that it comes with but maybe its time to spread my flaps and engorge on some pork chops.

Thanks for reading.

Blue Moon said...

I meant sister in the "we are all brothers and sisters" sense. And no, I am not your daddy, but can I still love your blog even when I disagree with you? Can we make Rodney King's dream a reality?

Michael Bourgon said...

I think it's amazingly flavorful meat enhanced with a sauce, but I don't count it as BBQ - no smoke flavor.

That being said, I enjoy it on Mondays. First visit I got a small hunk of brisket, 2 ribs, a hunk of sausage, a side and drink. And a $20 bill wasn't enough to cover it. W.T.F. (3 people went, each got something different, each paid over $20). Especially since the brisket had the fat cap still on. You tell me that I'm paying $10/lb for FAT?

Mondays it's more reasonable. Hunk of brisket, hunk of sausage, side, drink. $8.65. The flavor of the meats is superb (VERY seasoned rub), and the fat is "well-rendered", and it's worth trying. With caveats.

Anonymous said...

Blue Moon and Michael Bourgon,

You have both pointed out the lack of Smoke and implied your preference for that type of BBQ. Coopers "Old Time Pit BBQ" uses direct heat, hence the term "Old Time" In my opinion, this unique quality is what puts Cooper's in a class of its own and makes it enjoyable on a daily basis.

If you really need heart burn to make your bbq experience complete, four of the jalapenos and three whole onions should do the trick.

Ginny said...

Please don't tell Yankees to wear boots. They always get those cheap kind.

Jonathan M said...

FWHITW you need to try Smoke Pit on Belknap at Oakhurst Scenic. That place is a true Hole in the Wall, very close to downtown, and as far as I can tell you haven't visited!

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Ginny, a good policy would just be for all yankees to listen to Lyle Lovett's, That's Right You're Not From Texas.

Jonathan - I have reviewed the Smoke Pit but I didn't know the name at the time. The review is titled Some BBQ Joint.

Anonymous - Spot on with the difference in BBQ.

Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

I just came across this blog (while at work) while I was looking for info on the Paris Coffee Shop on Google.

This blog is great! You've definitely got a new fan. I've already forwarded the link to a handful of friends who also appreciate places with an atmosphere.

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

The James, glad you found the blog and enjoy it. But for the weather there would have been a new post this morning. Its tough to throw snow balls and post.

If you know of any places that I've missed let me know as I'm always looking for new options.

Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what an absolute joke of a review.

Folks, there is NO decent BBQ in the Metroplex. And it's quite obvious that the FWHIW wouldn't know what good BBQ was if it jumped up and bit him in the arse.

First, the original Cooper's in Llano used to be one of the great BBQ spots in Texas. However, that ceased to be the case over a decade ago. It's now living on it's former reputation and cashing in quite well. Good for them. This one is so far below the original that it's an embarrassment to the family.

Second, let's talk about the product. The meat was sub-par on every level. The brisket was nothing more than roast beef, the chop was underdone and the sausage is off-the-shelf grocery grade. The ribs were the only item I sampled that was in the "decent" category, but it's awfully hard to screw up ribs.

Lastly, let's talk about the price. One word: Outrageous. There is no way in hell I can recommend a sub-par product at top-end prices. 4 Ribs, a Chop, a half pound of brisket and 2 beers ran $60. Sorry, but anyone dumb enough to say that this is a "must go" doesn't know anything about Texas BBQ. Real Texas BBQ needs no dippin' in some sauce, isn't judged by "sides", is reasonably priced and generally stands alone with a simple salt and pepper rub. In other words, the meat does the talkin'.

The only places that rates in the Metroplex is Off the Bone down on 287. But it's hardly ethereal.

Hey FWHIW, want some real BBQ? Head to Snow's in Lexington, Meuller's in Taylor or City Market in Luling and write a real report. Otherwise, stay away from BBQ reviews until you've figured out what the real deal really is. This ain't it.

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Anonymous - you seem like a fun person. This blog is not sanctioned by any BBQ judging peoples or associations. It's my opinion on places I've been. If you disagree, that just means you're wrong. If you don't like being wrong, read another blog.

Daphne said...

Hey FWHITW - I thought the review of Coopers was great! Every person I've talked to who has been there has loved it! And they were all glad that we have gotten one here in the Fort (this is excluding wusses who write rants on this blog who try to sound like they know what they're talking about but who are too scared to post using their name). Keep up the good work! Last Anonymous Poster - go write your angry little rants on some other blog.

Joe T said...

holy crap. Can not wait to try this.

Arthur Eats said...

Love your blog. I just started a Fort Worth Food blog myself. Check it out.

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Arthur, thanks for reading - but whats the link to your blog?

Arthur Eats said...

What's your email?

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Anonymous said...

I went to Cooper's Barbeque for the first time after hearing about how great the food was. A big disappointment on the food and the service. When the wait staff makes no effort to greet you and does not bother to explain the menu items and how the sides are optional, the dining experience was just awful. How does an average portion size of a under cook pork chop cost $18 with beans. It was terrible, would not recommend this place at all, I'll stick with the authentic local barbecue eateries in town anytime.

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

They don't have wait staff at Coopers. They generally have crotchety grill guys and overworked cashiers. I could understand how unhelpful they could appear. Anyways, the ordering system can be a bit confusing if you haven't been. And the pork chop is so expensive because they coat it with the sweat of fairies.

Anonymous said...

One of the worst bbq places I have been in the Metroplex. I had the ribs that were so tough that I threw away most of it. My wife had the brisket and it wasn't anything special. I don't mind paying premium prices but I am pissed when you are the highest price in town and give far inferior product. Service? Nothing special but then again the cattle call line isn't too difficult to navigate. When compared to Hard 8 bbq I don't see these guys being nothing more than a tourist attraction. Reall bbq eaters will stay away.

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...


I'll have to agree a bit on the ribs. And this place doesn't have near the charm of their hill country locations. But, if you need BBQ in a pinch and you're laying in the parking lot of Billy Bob's on Saturday mid-morning - it'll work.

Thanks for commenting