Christmas 2021 presented a number of challenges, primarily driving 700 miles to my mother’s house and returning over a three-day weekend.
But, because of something my brother did for me, it was a fantastic vacation.
It started in October when Texas Monthly magazine and its grill editor Daniel Vaughn, one of the top 10 living human beings in my book, announced that newcomer Goldee’s Barbecue in Fort Worth had been named the number one barbecue place in Texas, surprisingly taking down the more established ones. BBQ places like Franklin Barbecue in Austin and Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, Texas.
This certainly got me excited because my family members live much closer to Fort Worth than they do to Austin (and the lines at Franklin and Snow seem ridiculous so I don’t want to drive all that way and then spend five hours in line).
Then Mike Chen, the YouTube host my wife and I see who now lives in St. Louis, visited Goldee’s, which is less than two years old and located in a shack. Once he reached the end of a long line and was finally able to taste the brisket, Chen declared that it was the best barbecue he had ever had: “Without comparison.”
If there was any doubt that we would visit Goldee’s on our next visit to Texas, it was left to see Chen taste all the wonderful meats and sides on December 15th.
So I checked Goldee’s Facebook page, only to get hit over the head with a proverbial baseball bat. They are normally open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays every week, but they would be closed all the Christmas weekend!
However, there was a caveat. Goldee’s was going to be open for four hours on Thursday, December 23, selling whole smoked breasts and turkey breasts to go.
Since I wasn’t going to get to Texas until the end of December 23rd, I texted my brother, Brad, who was hosting our family for Christmas, and asked if I could pick up some chicken breast and turkey at Goldee’s. With the Goldee site in South Fort Worth nearly 40 miles from Brad’s home in the North Dallas suburb of Lewisville, I thought we had as much of a chance of getting fresh brontosaurus meat as Goldee’s brisket.
But, to my surprise, Brad replied that I could go pick it up.
Then on December 22nd, I looked at Goldee’s Facebook page and saw that they had posted the prices for turkey breasts and breasts. I knew it wouldn’t be cheap, but I was still a bit surprised to see that the brisket would cost $ 165 and the turkey $ 65.
I texted Brad with a screenshot of the pricing and he still said he’d go.
I was a little worried because I didn’t hear anything before we packed up the car and headed to my brother’s house from my mom’s house on Christmas day. But we got to the smell of barbecue in the hallways.
I walked into Brad’s kitchen and saw the amazing spicy crust covering the piece of meat. It was clear that it was real.
Apparently my dad helped Brad with the cost of the food.
My brother co-hosted a Texas Artisan BBQ podcast a few years ago, so I was surprised when Brad asked me how to cut it. He had started cutting the brisket into chunks, so I showed him to slice the rest as if you were slicing a loaf of bread (with my poor hand-eye coordination, I didn’t want to risk trying to cut this masterpiece myself).
Finally, dinner was served. I had a couple of slices of breast and one of turkey and went to a little piece of heaven. The brisket was fatty enough, with perfect crust (unlike another Fort Worth BBQ highlight we went to on our last visit that had brisket that was a bit too spicy and spicy). Even the Goldee turkey was excellent, and I’m not a huge fan of the turkey on vacation.
It was the best Christmas food I’ve had in a long time. And it really made me feel good that my brother did his best for me that way.
While I want to try some of the other places on the Texas Monthly Top 50 list (as well as more BBQ spots in Missouri), I still want to eat at the real Goldee restaurant at some point.
Not only do they have good meat, they also serve my all-time favorite side dish, hash and rice. The dish is primarily popular in South Carolina and features pork and potatoes over rice.
I’ve never seen hash in Texas where most people don’t know it exists. Mike Chen had never heard of it before, but said Goldee’s hash was the best garnish he had ever had.
So I definitely need to go to Goldee’s, but an amazing Christmas dinner will hold me back for a while. I would love for barbecue to become a Christmas tradition.