Meat U Anywhere, 91 Trophy Club Dr, Trophy Club. email@example.com. 6am-3pm Sun, 6am-8:30pm Mon-Sat. All major credit cards accepted.
Just across the Tarrant County line, where the northern suburbs start their long, slow bleed down to the Red River, a restaurant clad in timber and stone stands sentinel over the endless stream of traffic on Highway 114. Meat U Anywhere (please stop snickering), the Grapevine-based barbecue joint with a growing following, has opened a second shop, this one up the road in Trophy Club.
The new location is on the way to quite a few places, but it isn’t near much. My guest amd I finally made it to the joint just after the lunch rush on a Saturday afternoon. Walking in the door, we were greeted with smiles from the counter staff and bite-size samples of sliced brisket and turkey. On the list of things the place does well, first impressions are near the top.
The building itself is attractive, with a limestone veneer and metal roof that pays homage to the Hill Country. The interior has a broad front-porch feel, permeated with the tang of hickory smoke. The place looks and smells the way Texas barbecue ought.
The perfect composition was marred somewhat by the boxes upon boxes of disposable cutlery and Styrofoam serving containers that had been arranged into a snaking maze through which my guest and I had to pick our way to reach the counter. It’s hard to argue sustainability over a mountain of meat, but the amount of trash generated from a meal at Meat U Anywhere is of an order that would have seemed tone-deaf as recently as, oh, two months ago. Everything used for service (except the plastic cafeteria trays) is disposable. It’s a missed opportunity that detracts from an otherwise pleasant dining experience.
The barbecue is sold by the pound and sliced while you wait. The standout was the brisket, carved a half-inch thick with a heavy, smoky bark. The pork ribs were also remarkably good, so tender they melted in my mouth and left nothing on the bone. The sliced links of German sausage were also worthy of some clichés, their taut casings bursting around the juicy morsels contained within.
The only meat that didn’t make the grade was, interestingly, the most expensive — a “famous” peppered beef tenderloin that is available only on Fridays and Saturdays. Barbecue is a technique for redeeming lesser cuts of meat, but it doesn’t do tenderloin any favors. The smoke and spices that work wonders in a brisket are too aggressive for the delicate tenderloin. The limp, wet wriggle of beef coiled on a paper tray could have been — should have been — a steak. No matter how it was cooked, though, trying to eat it with a plastic knife and fork was an exercise in indignity.
If seven bucks seems like a lot to spend on a baked potato, rest assured that ours was a potato in name only. Even the mammoth one-pound russet was a mere delivery device for the pile of butter, cheese, and sour cream which crowned the spud, with nary a chive to mar the blonde expanse.
The other side dishes were near misses, and some minor adjustments would have made them quite pleasant. The bacon-jalapeño mac ’n’ cheese was awfully salty, though it had a nice creamy texture and was full of perfectly cooked penne pasta. The “Notcha Mamma’s” slaw, dressed with vinegar and tossed with sliced almonds, was nicely flavored and a great refresher for the palate, but the addition of crumbled ramen noodles was confusing. All they did was get soggy and mealy. The “country style” potato salad was a uniform material that appeared to be equal parts mayonnaise and boiled potato, with personality to match.
One curious note about Meat U Anywhere is that it’s open at 6 a.m. every day to serve breakfast tacos, which are available all day. A single brisket taco with scrambled eggs and cheese may be more than enough calories to see you well past lunch, but the flavors can’t be beat, especially when topped with the house’s spicy “West Texas Heat” barbecue sauce.
If you’re still hungry after a meal like this, you could do worse than the kitchen’s pecan or pumpkin pies. They’ll be pre-sliced and waiting in their plastic containers in the fridge by the register.
Meat U Anywhere
Breakfast taco $3
¼ lb brisket $4.75
¼ lb St. Louis Ribs $4.25
¼ lb German sausage $3.75
¼ lb peppered tenderloin $6.25
Baked potato $7