4801 Edwards Ranch Rd, FW. 11am-4:30pm Sun, 11am-4:30pm Thu-Sat. All major credit cards accepted.
The inhabitants of Mexico were cooking meat low and slow over wood smoke for hundreds of years before the country existed. A useful place to recall that fact is Flores Barbecue, the food trailer that recently moved from the town of Whitney, about 70 miles south of us, to its current spot at the Trailhead at Clearfork. As noted on this page before (“Craft Rules Everything Around Me,” July 10, 2019), the surge of artisanal barbecue places has shown us distinctive variations on the traditional Central Texas way of doing ’cue. Flores was already drawing hype when it was in Hill Country, and its south-of-the-border take on the meat shows that the buzz was well-founded.
Located behind Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop, the truck offers no seating, so you’ll have to use the picnic tables at the trailhead. Dining al fresco might not seem like an appealing prospect when the temperatures are in triple digits, but it’s not so bad. The ample trees around the tables provide much shade, and two large electric fans keep the air circulating. When the breeze comes off the Trinity River, whose banks the truck is parked on, it’s downright pleasant – though I wonder what the conditions will be like in the winter.
Of course, the barbecue heritage I discussed earlier does a chef no good without some skills with the smoker or the knowledge of how to present the meat once it’s off the fire. That’s not a problem here. I watched my chopped brisket sandwich be cut up with a bench scraper, and for going under such a blunt tool, the meat arrived with an unexpectedly fine texture, moist enough to not even need the standard vinegar-based sauce at the condiment table, though I applied a bit anyway. I appreciated the buttered, toasted buns that provided a luxurious framing for the sandwich with just a hint of crunch to go with the meat.
When I ordered the sausage plate, I was informed that the truck had only the jalapeño-cheddar links that day. I’m not a fan of sausages with cheese, but there was only enough cheese to add its tang to the coins of meat rather than overwhelming the main attraction.
The Mexican touches shine through most clearly on the side dishes that come with the meat plates. If you want them with the sandwiches, you’ll have to order them separately. Instead of the traditional baked beans with a sweetener (molasses, bourbon, brown sugar), Flores’ beans are stewed in a savory liquid that’s reminiscent of borracho, with tiny pieces of bacon and jalapeño dotting the mix alongside a sprinkling of cotija cheese. I’m partial to the sweeter style myself, but these were good enough to win me over. Where other ’cue places give you potato salad that’s russets drowned in mayo, Flores offers firmer redskin potatoes with a more judicious amount of a mustardy sauce augmented by the heat of cayenne pepper.
I’ll admit I was disappointed with the truck’s tacos. It isn’t that they were bad. Far from it. The two varieties (brisket and pork carnitas) on flour tortillas were perfectly fine, but, perhaps unfairly, I was expecting something transcendent from a Mexican barbecue place. Flores’ tacos happen to be in line with what other taquerias serve, and if you’re in a taco mood when you stop by, you’ll find these satisfactory.
I was surprised in a better way by the truck’s one dessert offering of banana pudding. Whereas so many restaurants (not just barbecue places) serve up a gloppy, sugary mess when they do banana pudding, Flores’ is whipped to a mousse-like consistency that serves as a refined ending to a hefty lunch. Barbecue fans in Fort Worth are spoiled for choice these days, but when the price point for Flores’ food is so reasonable, it’d be a shame not to sample their meats now that they’re here.
Single meat sandwich $7
Single meat plate with w/two sides $9
Tacos (2) $9
Banana pudding $3