On the Road with GMC Denali: Finding the Best Barbecue in Texas

BBQ from Dallas to Austin

Dinner at Hard Eight BBQ

I had to leave California to quench my curiosity about barbecue. After exhausting conversations about po9litics, every Texan I have ever met turned the discussion to food, in particular, barbeque. More specifically, that there is no greater place to eat messy smoked meat than Texas. Thanks to the folks at GMC, I was able to travel to the Lone Star state to finally taste authentic Texas barbecue.

I enlisted the help of Felice, a British friend who is a fundraiser, not a food writer, and who would be a great source for a second opinion and a good companion to take on a girls road trip.

We arrived in Dallas and picked up our beautiful, large (it’s true, everything in Texas is big) new 2018 GMC Acadia Denali. The flexible space design enabled us store snacks in the back trunk compartments and to easily fold down the third row of seats and store our luggage, leaving plenty of extra trunk space. The option to fold down all or some of the second and third row seats provided great versatility for storage. We also loved the automatic power lift gate.

We were able to charge all of our phones and ipads with the interior 5 USB ports and the big touch screen made it easy to make phone calls, navigate and listen to our favorite music via Apple CarPlay. We also loved all the safety features including a tire fill alert, side blind zone alert and big rear vision camera.

We used the OnStar navigation feature to lead us to Hard Eight BBQ in Coppell. This huge rustic restaurant delivered an authentic barbeque experience. We waited in line in front of big pits displaying rib eyes, brisket, sausages, chicken poppers, pulled pork, port chops, ribs and turkey. It was a carnivore’s dream with meat sold by the pound. Inside, away from all of the smoke, was a plethora of cafeteria-style sides including potato salad, mac and cheese, fries, sweet potato fries, jalapeno sweet corn, cole slaw, onion rings and fried okra. Desserts included banana pudding, cheesecake and Oreo mud pie. Inside, we sate on stools at long wooden tables that could accommodate up to 10 people. Surrounded by many sports playing televisions and stuffed animals, we sampled the onion rings, sausage, brisket, cole slaw, baked potato and rib eye. The brisket and rib eye were our favorites, cooked perfectly and delicious with the house made barbecue sauce. The sides were also satisfying and we left understanding why Hard Eight BBQ attracted so many locals.

After a night at the very upscale DFW Airport Marriott South hotel, we began our road rip with a stop at the Little Czech Bakery for traditional Czech kolaches and strudels. There was a huge line of locals from West Texas, but it was worth the wait for our tasty peach, blueberry and chocolate chip kolaches.

We spent the next hour enjoying the Acadia’s soft Kalahari leather seats and the smooth ride of the 3.6 liter V-6 engine.

Our next stop was Schoepf’s Old Time Pit BBQ in Belton. Schoepf’s is unique because they make Hill Country style barbecue where pit masters cook meat over mesquite wood that has reduced into coals. The menu includes house made sausages, ribs, pork chops, brisket, sirloin, turkey and pinto beans, mac and cheese and potato salad for side dishes. We didn’t find the seating area very inviting but for a roadside barbecue stop between Waco and Austin the food was delicious.

After a long drive we arrived at the bustling JW Marriott Austin. We had time for a quick walk around downtown before heading to the upscale Lamberts. Located in a the pretty brick historic Schneider Brothers building, inside we found comfy green and black leather booths, wood floors, a charming outdoor patio and a busy upstairs music lounge.

The menu is a mix of traditional barbecue favorites and some dishes with a twist. Standouts include the crispy wild boar ribs, roasted green chili queso, spicy deviled eggs, cold smoked quail, brisket with a brown sugar and coffee rub; fried okra, green chile cheese grits, strawberry fried pie and coconut cream pie.

We loved the brisket, ribs and house made sauces.

The next morning we walked to the Forthright Café for a delicious breakfast of avocado toast with poached eggs, bacon and eggs and cappuccino.

We were sad to return our luxurious GMC Acadia Denali. We both agreed that it would be the perfect vehicle to take a long road trip up the California coast. We also now understood why Texans boast about their food; they have the best barbecue in the country.

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GMC Acadia Denali, food, and hotel stays provided by GMC.