1734 E El Paso St, FW. 11am-6pm Fri-Sat or until the meat runs out. 817-773-5557.
The name Riscky is revered in barbecue circles in our city, so another restaurant opening up with that name is cause for attention. However, Joe Riscky’s Barbeque is not part of the family chain. Rather, the man by that name had a falling out with his father and boss – and he’s now making far better barbecue than his family’s namesake eateries.
Joe Risky, armed with his lifetime of expertise, has opened his own eatery inside a former storage building on the Wild Acre Brewing property. Right now, the place serves lunch only two days a week, though you might be able to drop by for an early dinner if the kitchen still has meat. That serve-until-it’s-gone scarcity and the Riscky name had me dreaming of some mind-blowing barbecue experience that would alter the way I thought about ’cue. It wasn’t quite that, but it was very good.
Joe Riscky’s has a number of attractive picnic-style outdoor tables for seating, but I was unlucky enough to visit on a cold, blustery day. Had I known that you can text your order from the bar at Wild Acre and have it brought to you, I would have taken advantage. As it was, I sat down at one of the three seats inside the place, where you can see clear through to the back of the kitchen area. I ordered a side of the Pit Master mac ’n’ cheese, and I immediately appreciated the small scraps of brisket and fat that adorned the dish as a topping. It was a nice touch, but the pasta itself was bland and rubbery.
Whatever. You don’t judge a barbecue place by its sides but by its meats. I’m partial to sausage, so I ordered the tubed meat sandwich. The meat mélange was cut up into batons about two or three inches long, which turned out to be too big to comfortably pull out of the bread. Other places cut up their sausage into coins, which makes it likely to fall out of the sandwich, so maybe there’s no elegant solution to putting sausage between bread. I wound up having to spear the pieces individually with a fork. I didn’t have any complaints with the meat itself, plump and delicious with that nice snappy quality that you look for in the casings.
I knew I wouldn’t have another chance to eat there before I wrote up this review, so I bought a quarter-pound of brisket and took it home, neatly wrapped in foil. The next day, I took it out of my fridge and roasted it in my oven at 325 degrees until it was falling apart and filling my kitchen with enticing smells. I slapped it onto some sandwich bread with raw onions and store-bought sauce. I suppose I could have found some craft beer to go with it and made myself some truffle fries, but barbecue doesn’t need the fancy treatment — potato chips and iced tea were just fine. My dinner was deep, rich, and smoky, with just the right amount of fat marbling the whole. As far as restaurant leftovers go, this was superlative.
Joe Riscky said that he intends to add more dishes on the menu and perhaps expand his hours at a later date. Indeed, his catering menu has more options than the brick-and-mortar place. The prospect of that has me planning to go back when the weather is better and I can take his barbecue to the bar at Wild Acre and have a proper dining experience.
Joe Riscky’s Barbeque
Smoked sausage sandwich $7
Pit master mac ’n’ cheese $4.50
Brisket (quarter pound) $5.50