I love to travel, and try to take any chance I get to explore a new place. So when the opportunity arose to attend a work training in a new city, I jumped at the opportunity. After scanning the locations available, my eyes caught on Dallas, Texas. Visions of barbecue and tex mex danced in my head. And a couple clicks of the mouse later, I was registered. The next thing I knew I was boarding a plane, Johnny Cash rocking out in my earbuds during liftoff.
There are two ways to get to know a new city: run in it and eat in it. This is my life motto. So I hit the ground running and started asking around in the foodie world for dinner recommendations. After much collaboration, Hard Eight was a joint consensus. This texas eatery is truly one of a kind. I knew it had to be something fierce when we pulled up and saw the line wrapping around the building outside (pictured above).
When you get to the front of the line, you chose your meat straight from the mesquite wood barbecue pit. Most meat options are purchased by the pound. Being the newbie that I was, I just pointed to the turkey and said “one portion please”. (Strongly advise against this approach as you basically have “NORTHERNER” stamped on your forehead). I ended up ordering about a quarter pound of turkey, which was plenty for me when you add all the sides to it. However, a true Texan (aka my cousin) will convince you that you need at least half a pound of meat total. I’m not at that level yet, but it’s a goal to aspire towards in the future. Gotta dream big, ya know?
You then take your meat inside where you get all the fixins. Cornbread salad, potato salad, onion rings, fries, cobblers of different flavors, original BBQ and spicy BBQ (I recommend using both!), you name it, they have it! Basically any other side you could imagine might pair well with barbecue, you will find inside Hard Eight. Pinto beans are complimentary (talk about a win!) which can be scooped from a well at the end of the line.
This food is unbelievable. Serious mouth-watering, life-changing, Texas-style good eats. The meat is so tender and smoked to perfection. The barbecue flavors are a perfect synergy of sweet and spicy, which pair well with the savory cuts of meat. Complete the meal with a sweet cobbler and you are instantly transported to mama’s front porch swing and a simpler time on a cool summer’s night.
The place really gets rocking on a Saturday night. Live country music starts playing as people start off a good night on the patio as the sun is setting. I would have been very content to eat at Hard Eight twice in the short 48 hour period that I was in Dallas. It was that good. And obviously now that I am back in San Francisco, I am ordering the cobbler and barbecue from the online store so I can reminisce over this meal and relish in the “mama’s front porch feeling” forever.
My Barbecue Lineup:
Quarter pound roasted turkey
Original BBQ sauce and Spicy BBQ Sauce
Jalapeño Cream Corn
Pro tip: Pair meal with “Not Your Father’s Rootbeer Ale”. Take a sip. Find a cowboy. Never leave Texas.