Iron Starr Gets Innovative with Barbecue

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Iron Starr Gets Innovative with Barbecue

By Greg Horton

Barbecue is everywhere throughout the southwestern United States, and not the kind associated with the Carolinas, in which is too much vinegar and not enough smoky deliciousness. The tangy, smoky barbecue associated with Kansas City and Ft. Worth is replicated all over this part of the country. The hardest thing to do can be to distinguish one’s brand from the plethora already available.

A Good Egg Dining Group, owned by Heather and Keith Paul, opened Iron Starr Urban Barbecue in 2002. Keith Paul is a Ft. Worth native, so he grew up with barbecue, and he wanted to create a barbecue joint that was true to the southwestern style but innovative enough to expand the menu and palate.

The menu opens with someone you don’t see very often: house-made pimento cheese. In the case of Iron Starr, it’s a charred jalapeno pimento cheese. The dish is a signal of sorts that you’re in for something deliciously different. For every dish you remember from your childhood, especially if you’re from around here, Iron Starr tweaks it just a bit to actually make it better and more interesting: deviled eggs, cornbread, fried okra, and mac and cheese. The deviled eggs are served with pepper ceviche, not the paprika that was my mother’s sole condiment when making deviled eggs.

One of Iron Starr’s best items is a salad. That seems like a strange thing to say about a barbecue joint, but the Beef Tenderloin salad is a perfect blend of cold crisp iceberg lettuce and sliced beef tenderloin. Served with a spiced pecan and creamy bleu cheese mixture and a bleu-cheese bacon vinaigrette, this is one of the best salads in the state.

Although barbecue is the focus at Iron Starr, the restaurant has become justly famous for the quality of their sides, especially the Fancy Mac & Cheese. Don’t limit yourself to the mac ‘n’ cheese, though. Iron Starr also whips up delicious braised collard greens, an amazing dish you won’t find very many places in the metro. Not satisfied with standard fried okra, Iron Starr fries the whole pod, and everything they do is done in-house, so none of that frozen fried okra taste and slimy texture.

The meats are smoked in-house, and the commitment to quality meat and quality barbecue comes through with every dish. Consistency is the bane of barbecue restaurants: too much smoke, not enough, overcooked, over-seasoned. There are a dozen things that can go wrong, but Iron Starr nails it every time. A Good Egg is big on processes, and the processes work to ensure quality here.

Everyone has a different way of judging their favorite barbecue joint, and it’s typically based on preference. Pulled pork, ribs, brisket, and sausages are the most common ways a barbecue joint’s expertise is judged. Iron Starr nails them all. Even the less famous smoked chicken is given a delicious twist by the addition of an apricot-serrano pepper glaze that adds sweetness and spice. The pulled pork comes from pigs raised at Seaboard Farms right here in Oklahoma.

Iron Starr has a gluten free menu, tons of healthy options, and amazing desserts. It’s impossible to go wrong with Double Chocolate Bread Pudding or Peach Crisp.

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