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This Dallas barbecue restaurant wins first round of Good Morning America’s BBQ competition

Smokey John’s BBQ beat out Pecan Lodge and will compete in the final round next week against three barbecue restaurants from around the country.

By Claire Ballor

Brent, left, and Juan Reaves, right
Brent, left, and Juan Reaves, right, hold The Steve White, which is two catfish fillets, two ribs, green beans and Mac and Cheese, priced at $14.95 at Smokey John’s Bar-B-Que and Home Cooking in Dallas on Wednesday, June 26, 2019. / Photo Credit: Shaban Athuman/Staff Photographer

Good Morning America is on the hunt for some of the country’s best barbecue, and they started their search in Dallas Monday morning.

Smokey John’s Bar-B-Que and Pecan Lodge were the two Dallas restaurants picked to go head to head, and Smokey John’s came out on top with their Big John sandwich that blew the judges away.

The competition is pitting barbecue restaurants from four U.S. cities against each other to come up with a reigning barbecue champion. Since Smokey John’s won the Dallas round, they will head to New York City next Monday to compete in the final against the three restaurants that win in Washington D.C., Tampa and Chicago.

Brothers and owners of Smoky John’s, Brent and Juan Reaves, served their barbecue to a panel of judges that consisted of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, WFAA sports anchor Joe Trahan, and ESPN commentator Joe Buck.

“When you think of Dallas barbecue, one of the first things you think about is Pecan Lodge, so to go up against them was really awesome,” Brent Reaves told The Dallas Morning News afterward.

The brothers planned to serve the judges their ribs and mac-n-cheese, but when they heard Pecan Lodge was making their Pitmaster brisket and pulled pork sandwich, they decided to make a sandwich, too.

They went with their Big John sandwich — a brisket sandwich topped with smoked sausage, coleslaw, two onion rings and drizzled with barbecue sauce. To send it over the edge for the sake of the competition, they topped it with a rib and served it with a side of mac-n-cheese and sweet tea.

“It’s falling off the bone,” Joe Trahan said of the rib garnish.

The brothers will travel to New York City next week to represent Texas in the final round, and they plan to make the Big John again since it worked out well for them the first time.

“It’s cool,” Reaves said. “We’ve been in business for a long time, so it’s good to have he have the opportunity to represent Dallas and to represent Texas.”

Juan Reaves said because of their restaurant’s proximity to Dallas Love Field Airport, they get customers from all over the country and have a pretty good read on how their take on Texas barbecue translates elsewhere.

“I think we have a chance,” he said. “I think always with Texas-style barbecue, people just really love it and we have an advantage because of that.”

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