The Woodshed in the Backyard
Aug 26, 2015 04:06PM
● By Dia
Nestled on the bank of the Trinity River in Ft. Worth is Woodshed Smokehouse, a tribute to all things grilled, cooked and smoked. It’s a glorious hybrid of smoky, meaty barbecue and fresh, zesty Tex-Mex right in the heart of Cowtown.
Texas’ favorite chef and Food Network regu- lar, Tim Love, opened the restaurant in 2012 with a goal to bring familiar and exotic meats to the table, and that’s exactly what he did. Upon walking in to Woodshed, it’s impossible not to notice the shiny glass window where the “animal of the day” – could be goat, boar, venison – slowly ro- tates on a spit. It’s immediately clear that Wood- shed is no joke when it comes to meat.
The establishment blurs the line between indoor and outdoor seating. General Manager David Lace describes it as “a patio venue with a party atmosphere.” No matter where you’re seated, you’ll feel like you’re in a beautiful backyard, relaxing at a wooden table admiring the river while overhead fans waft the scent of smoky meat.
Woodshed doesn’t take reservations, which makes for a high activity level as servers bustle around wearing shirts scripted, “I’d totes smoke that” and hopeful singles linger around the bar. Luckily, our group came in on a Tuesday night and was able to be seated right away. It’s casual and primitive, yet trendy, but the menu – a piece of paper held to a slab of wood with two rubber bands – tells a more complex story.
Boasting three smokers, two rotisseries, two wood grills, and four to five rotating woods to smoke menu items on, Woodshed’s flavor palette would raise the eyebrow of even the most experienced foodie.
“We use four main woods to smoke with: hick- ory, oak, mesquite and pecan. Each wood has a distinct profile and is best for certain items,” Lace says. Each day, Woodshed chooses a new animal and a new sausage, which shapes some of the menu offerings, while classics like the Beef Brisket and the Smoked Red Fish are offered all the time.
Lace says the meats can elicit lots of questions from customers, with the daily rabbit/rattlesnake sausage the most bizarre.
To start, we ordered the Smoked Hummus, made with pit master fat (sounds repulsive, but tastes delicious) and the Smoked Whitefish Dip. Both came with camp bread (a puffy, soft bread that’s cooked over an open flame) and fresh tortilla chips.
The hummus was slightly spicy, and the dip was the perfect amount of fishy and smoky. The animal of the day was pig, which made for some delicious Pulled Pork Tacos. The sausage was elk, which was a nice addition on top of the Woodshed Burger. The manager brought out some Lamb Brisket as we chomped down our entrees. The boldest in our group raved about its tenderness.
We also enjoyed some greens that proved that at Woodshed, vegetables have bite, too. Both the Crispy Brussel Sprouts with fermented lime vinaigrette and Slow Smoked Cauliflower with creamy mornay sauce were sinfully good.
Woodshed features a “Brewery of the Month” on their drinks menu, fit with 25 craft beers on tap, beers in cans, wines on tap and specialty cocktails. It’s rare to spot a group of people not tak- ing advantage of the adult offerings, which gives the atmosphere a rowdy and fun feel. Woodshed hosts live entertainment Wednes- day through Sunday with local up-and-coming artists to top off the vibe.
As required by its landlord, Woodshed must use eco-friendly products due to the proximity of the river – but this restriction is well worth it in light of all of the unique opportunities the location provides. “We have trail access for bikers, joggers and run- ners,” Lace says, which has led Woodshed to co-sponsor two fun runs each month. The frequency of joggers-turned-diners even spurned the creation of a Pup Menu. That’s right. Your furry friend can enjoy various sizes of bones dipped in pit master fat and “Chef Tim Love Rainwater” that are sure to get the drool going.
Considering its location, atmosphere, service and food, Wood- shed boasts more than just a hip restaurant; it’s a unique experi- ence. Being only about a half hour away from Southlake, you have no excuse; put on your cowboy boots, grab some friends, and head over to Woodshed for your own taste of Ft. Worth.