How the New Crossbuck Restaurant BBQs Differently in North Texas

Eating barbecue has never been such a popular sport in North Texas, but many restaurants are working from the same playbook. That’s not the case at Crossbuck BBQ, pitmaster Tim McLaughlin’s new restaurant near Galleria Dallas in Farmers Branch, which opened on April 4, 2022.

Citrus Glazed Salmon is rubbed with a spice blend that smells of lemon, orange and lime zest. Healthy eaters might appreciate that Crossbuck BBQ serves up a rotating vegetable side dish every day.(Emil Lippe / Special Contributor)

Crossbuck BBQ serves smoked meat inspired by some of America’s best barbecue regions – Kansas City, Memphis, St. Louis, Central Texas and more. Then McLaughlin and his business partner Damian Avila break some rules, with delightful success.

Memphis-style pork butt, for example, is pulled pork dipped in a char siu sauce of dark molasses and sweet and tangy hoisin sauce. And the restaurant will be serving citrus-rubbed salmon daily, a rarity at nearly every barbecue restaurant in Texas.

Finally, the owners want to add unexpected specialties like smoked ostrich or alligator back ribs.

Damian Avila (left) and Tim McLaughlin stand in the smokehouse at Crossbuck BBQ in Farmers...
Damian Avila (left) and Tim McLaughlin stand in the smokehouse at Crossbuck BBQ at Farmers Branch.(Emil Lippe / Special Contributor)

“I’ve worked in a lot of places. This is the culmination of it all,” McLaughlin says. For over a decade he worked in fine dining restaurants. One of his most memorable jobs was at Red Moon, a French-Asian fusion venue in Chicago.

McLaughlin has been in the barbecue business for over a decade as a former pit master of Lockhart Smokehouse.

The restaurant also serves Central Texas-style barbecue; they would be crazy not to. The brisket is cooked over low and slow heat on oak, pecan and walnut wood. The brisket had a succulent, buttery fat and a peppery rind. It’s a must, but so is pulled pork.

“Our goal is to have every item on the menu hit you in the face,” McLaughlin says.

A few other detours at Crossbuck BBQ

While some barbecue restaurants pride themselves on having no plates or silverware, McLaughlin does not. “We have silverwareto like, real silverware that goes in the dishwasher,” he says.

Crossbuck gets its name from the X-shaped crossing sign called crossbuck.  The...
Crossbuck gets its name from the X-shaped crossing sign called crossbuck. The restaurant is off the beaten path, on Spring Valley Road in a warehouse district in Farmers Branch.(Emil Lippe / Special Contributor)

There are no barbecue sandwiches on the menu. Customers are encouraged to get a barbecue plate, which shows off the meat and sides, without the pile of cheap white bread that is so common at Texas barbecues. Each plate contains at least half a pound of meat and two sides. Customers can split the meat in half: salmon and brisket, for example, with a side of beans and mac.

Customers probably won’t order meat by the kilo. “We want to try to steer people away from that,” says the pitmaster. Proteins are available by quarter pound, half pound and pound, but McLaughlin thinks plates are a better way to taste more food. Plus: ordering by the pound can mean some serious sticker shock. Breast is more expensive than ever.

Restaurant looks a bit like a sports bar. The owners hope people come to Crossbuck to watch a game. There is also a large patio with 15 picnic tables.

The sausage is a mix of beef and pork, with poblano. “We try to stay away from the jalapeno cheese sausageAvila says.

Although the restaurant serves typical sides like baked beans, mac and cheese, and coleslaw, almost all of them are served atypically. The coleslaw contains miso, honey and pickled ginger. Hominy is my choice: This is Avila’s recipe, meant to remind customers of the elotes.

Crossbuck BBQ is at 4400 Spring Valley Road, Farmers Branch.

For more food news, follow Sarah Blaskovich on Twitter at @sblaskovich.

Barbecue fanatics, check out dallasnews.com/topic/barbecue for all of our smoked meat stories.

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