Back Forty Smokehouse Barbecue ~ North Richland Hills, Texas
Reader Michael had suggested this place on our Riscky's feature, and coincidentally Mrs. RJG had requested to go not long after. So here we are for the first time in nearly a year. We had stopped eating barbecue for awhile, but we're back, and this remains our favorite in NE Tarrant. But we haven't tried them all either. That's a disclaimer meaning... we need to go out and eat more BBQ!
As alluded to above, the barbecue here is excellent, and not a side show for the entertainment. We've tried many cuts of meat here, and almost without exception, we have come away pleased. The favorite remains the smoked chicken, and it is because of here that it became my test dish for barbecue as opposed to the traditional sliced brisket. In past visits we were quite enamored with the jalapeno cheese and German sausages, Carolina pulled pork, sliced brisket, pork ribs, and the country ham. Only the turkey has disappointed us - but again that was two years ago. As for sides, the mac and cheese continues to wow, and they even make corn on the cob interesting by leaving it vertical in a pile of sweet butter. Mrs. RJG did express some displeasure with the pinto beans stating they were a bit too much on the lard side. And the potato salad wasn't a hit either as she claimed it was too sour. Back to the positive, both the BBQ sauce and the hot pepper sauce are excellent condiments. Though they aren't needed to make the barbecue taste good.
They do have a full bar for wine and beer, but nothing on tap that is worthy (sure, I like Shiner Bock, but c'mon, they can have more than that). They do have a few craft brews in bottles though, but nothing too exotic. Also worth noting is they carry a full line of Dublin Bottling Works cane sugar sodas. But Mrs. RJG wouldn't let me have one. I'll have to sneak one in on a separate visit. (Shhh.....). So we had Coke Zero from the fountain. That's what we drink at lunch when at home (read: boring).
For the location, as the owner said to the Star-Telegram "The building just screams barbecue!" It's an old dry goods warehouse, smack dab in the middle of old town Smithfield. It sits prominently on the NW corner of Davis Blvd and Main. Across the street is the Cotton Belt passenger railroad line (which I presume will eventually be a stop if light rail ever surfaces in this area). Smithfield was eventually incorporated by NRH in 1960, but the old town has remained intact and includes historical markers dating back to 1872. In addition to the large indoor space, there's also a nice patio where live country music and other entertainment is performed on weekend evenings. Oh, and plenty of flat screens around to watch sports if so desired.
Back Forty is the 3rd barbecue restaurant to occupy this space. The prior two - Cotton Belt and Big Barn, each had a few year run before petering out. We tried them both over the years, and neither made much of a mark. Also worth noting that Back Forty is directly related to Fort Worth BBQ royalty: Cousins