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The Iconic Meat Dishes of Dallas, Mapped

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Mmmm, icons.
| Photos: 1,

Texans love their meat, as evidenced by the sheer number of barbecue places, burger stands and steakhouses that litter the local landscape. Here's a look at 14 iconic meat dishes that paint a meaty picture of the Dallas dining scene's past, present and future, from the official state dish and a State Fair mainstay to late-night tacos and gigantic steaks.

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All Good Cafe

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Chicken-fried steak isn't the official state food of Texas, but it probably deserves an honorable mention. One of the best in town can be found at this laid-back Deep Ellum restaurant, smothered in cream gravy and served with mashed potatoes and your choice of veg (we recommend the green beans, which are cooked just till tender and bright green -- basically the opposite of how mom made them).

Babe's Chicken Dinner House

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Stuffing yourself silly on the perfectly crispy fried chicken at Babe's is practically a rite of passage for Dallasites. The original has been open since 1993, and it's since expanded to boast a whopping nine locations -- meaning there's probably one near you.

Bob's Steak & Chop House

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Countless business deals have been made (and celebrated) over giant prime steaks at Bob's. It's hard to go wrong with any of the cuts -- though the bone-in ribeye is a favorite -- and they all come with Bob's signature glazed carrot and your choice of potato.

Dairy-ette

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Dairy-ette has been serving up classic, thin-pattied drive-in burgers in East Dallas since 1956. That's a lot of burgers, and they're pretty damn good, served on a generic squishy white bun with the traditional accoutrement -- L, T, O, mayo, mustard. Pair it with a housemade root beer and tots.

Fletcher's Corny Dogs

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Fletcher's has been delighting State Fair visitors with corny dogs since 1942 and are widely credited with inventing it. The cornmeal-based batter gives it a bit of a crunch, but the ketchup vs. mustard debate can be a divisive one (we're firmly in the camp of the latter).

Fuel City

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Fuel City may not have the best tacos in Dallas, but their 24-hour walkup window is legendary nonetheless. Where else can you get freshly made picadillo, barbacoa, pastor or chicken or beef fajita tacos at 4 a.m. while observing exotic wildlife?

The Grape

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Lower Greenville icon The Grape has been serving up fine bistro fare since 1972. Charcuterie plates may be oh-so-trendy these days, but The Grape does it classic and does it right. The selection varies from week to week, but expect excellent rillettes, pate and terrines.

Jimmy's Food Store

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Jimmy's has been an East Dallas mainstay since 1966, though it didn't start specializing in Italian products until 1997. The Italian Stallion is one of the best damn sandwiches around -- every Italian cold cut imaginable stacked high on a hoagie roll with mozz, provolone and the usual sandwich dressings. (The housemade Italian sausage with peppers and onions is also killer. Oh, and the Cuban. And the Italian beef and the roast pork...)

Mia's Tex-Mex

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Two words: brisket tacos. The version at Tex-Mex icon Mia's are widely regarded as the best in town; tender shreds of brisket are stuffed into flour tortillas along with Monterey Jack, green peppers and onions, with savory gravy for smothering.

Pecan Lodge

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Who knew a fledgling catering company that started out of the back of a truck would turn into the number two-rated barbecue joint in all of Texas? Everything here is good, but it's the brisket that gets the most love -- smoked for 18 hours until the fat is perfectly rendered and glistening, with a crusty black bark edging each and every delicious slice.

Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse

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Sonny Bryan's has been largely usurped by many newer barbecue joints, but it's undeniably a Dallas icon. The chopped brisket sandwich is the way to go, smothered in Sonny's signature sauce and flanked with a side of the bangle-size onion rings.
Tim Byres' restaurant at the historic Belmont Hotel stands out as a stellar representation of modern Texas cuisine. One of the most-talked about dishes that's been on the menu since Smoke opened in 2006, "The Big Rib" is just that: A giant Flintstone-style beef rib smoked to succulent perfection and served over homey hominy casserole.

Stephan Pyles

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Chef Stephan Pyles is an icon of Southwestern cuisine and a stalwart of the Dallas dining scene, and the gigantic bone-in cowboy ribeye has been on the menu since his namesake downtown restaurant opened in 2005 because his customers would have a fit if it was taken off. The giant slab of prime beef is topped with a mountain of red chile onion rings with a side of pinto bean-crimini mushroom ragout.

Tolbert's

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Chili is the official state dish of Texas, and Tolbert's is the lone remaining chili parlor in Dallas. Chili-obsessed journalist Frank X. Tolbert even wrote a book called A Bowl of Red before opening Tolbert's in 1976. The restaurant reopened in downtown Grapevine in 2006, but the legendary chili lives on. It comes appropriately garnished with cheese and onions, or go super-Texan with a Frito pie.

All Good Cafe

Chicken-fried steak isn't the official state food of Texas, but it probably deserves an honorable mention. One of the best in town can be found at this laid-back Deep Ellum restaurant, smothered in cream gravy and served with mashed potatoes and your choice of veg (we recommend the green beans, which are cooked just till tender and bright green -- basically the opposite of how mom made them).

Babe's Chicken Dinner House

Stuffing yourself silly on the perfectly crispy fried chicken at Babe's is practically a rite of passage for Dallasites. The original has been open since 1993, and it's since expanded to boast a whopping nine locations -- meaning there's probably one near you.

Bob's Steak & Chop House

Countless business deals have been made (and celebrated) over giant prime steaks at Bob's. It's hard to go wrong with any of the cuts -- though the bone-in ribeye is a favorite -- and they all come with Bob's signature glazed carrot and your choice of potato.

Dairy-ette

Dairy-ette has been serving up classic, thin-pattied drive-in burgers in East Dallas since 1956. That's a lot of burgers, and they're pretty damn good, served on a generic squishy white bun with the traditional accoutrement -- L, T, O, mayo, mustard. Pair it with a housemade root beer and tots.

Fletcher's Corny Dogs

Fletcher's has been delighting State Fair visitors with corny dogs since 1942 and are widely credited with inventing it. The cornmeal-based batter gives it a bit of a crunch, but the ketchup vs. mustard debate can be a divisive one (we're firmly in the camp of the latter).

Fuel City

Fuel City may not have the best tacos in Dallas, but their 24-hour walkup window is legendary nonetheless. Where else can you get freshly made picadillo, barbacoa, pastor or chicken or beef fajita tacos at 4 a.m. while observing exotic wildlife?

The Grape

Lower Greenville icon The Grape has been serving up fine bistro fare since 1972. Charcuterie plates may be oh-so-trendy these days, but The Grape does it classic and does it right. The selection varies from week to week, but expect excellent rillettes, pate and terrines.

Jimmy's Food Store

Jimmy's has been an East Dallas mainstay since 1966, though it didn't start specializing in Italian products until 1997. The Italian Stallion is one of the best damn sandwiches around -- every Italian cold cut imaginable stacked high on a hoagie roll with mozz, provolone and the usual sandwich dressings. (The housemade Italian sausage with peppers and onions is also killer. Oh, and the Cuban. And the Italian beef and the roast pork...)

Mia's Tex-Mex

Two words: brisket tacos. The version at Tex-Mex icon Mia's are widely regarded as the best in town; tender shreds of brisket are stuffed into flour tortillas along with Monterey Jack, green peppers and onions, with savory gravy for smothering.

Pecan Lodge

Who knew a fledgling catering company that started out of the back of a truck would turn into the number two-rated barbecue joint in all of Texas? Everything here is good, but it's the brisket that gets the most love -- smoked for 18 hours until the fat is perfectly rendered and glistening, with a crusty black bark edging each and every delicious slice.

Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse

Sonny Bryan's has been largely usurped by many newer barbecue joints, but it's undeniably a Dallas icon. The chopped brisket sandwich is the way to go, smothered in Sonny's signature sauce and flanked with a side of the bangle-size onion rings.

Smoke

Tim Byres' restaurant at the historic Belmont Hotel stands out as a stellar representation of modern Texas cuisine. One of the most-talked about dishes that's been on the menu since Smoke opened in 2006, "The Big Rib" is just that: A giant Flintstone-style beef rib smoked to succulent perfection and served over homey hominy casserole.

Stephan Pyles

Chef Stephan Pyles is an icon of Southwestern cuisine and a stalwart of the Dallas dining scene, and the gigantic bone-in cowboy ribeye has been on the menu since his namesake downtown restaurant opened in 2005 because his customers would have a fit if it was taken off. The giant slab of prime beef is topped with a mountain of red chile onion rings with a side of pinto bean-crimini mushroom ragout.

Tolbert's

Chili is the official state dish of Texas, and Tolbert's is the lone remaining chili parlor in Dallas. Chili-obsessed journalist Frank X. Tolbert even wrote a book called A Bowl of Red before opening Tolbert's in 1976. The restaurant reopened in downtown Grapevine in 2006, but the legendary chili lives on. It comes appropriately garnished with cheese and onions, or go super-Texan with a Frito pie.

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