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The Woodshed Smokehouse, opened by celebrity chef, Tim Love in February 2012 makes an art out of smoking. There is southwestern Texas’ succulently sweet mesquite wood-smoking and the barbacoa, common to far-south Mexican-influenced barbecue. There is the spice-dowsed meat intrinsic to the central Texas style and the slower-cooked, falling-off-the-bone method east Texans often favour. Love's staff will even guide aficionados through the best suited smoking methods. Oakwood might work for salmon, but artichoke or beef brisket benefit from hickory smoking.  Food can be washed down with a draft of Love’s rainwater, collected fresh from the Texas countryside.

A hungry eye on the future
For something a little stronger than water, Fort Worth also manufactures its very own “water of life”, and it might bring about Texas' most distinctive taste yet. The bourbon whiskey created at Firestone and Robertson Distilling Company is made with a unique yeast sourced from a pecan tree in the town of Glen Rose, Texas, about 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth, and possesses light fruity notes, the like of which, almost certainly, have never found their way into a whiskey bottle before. The first barrelling took place in June 2012 and the bottling is scheduled for 2014. Central Texas’ first distillery faces challenges most of the world’s distilleries do not − namely aging the whisky in searing summer temperatures − with the taste sure to have a uniquely potent rub-off effect from the white oak barrels being used.  

Another renowned Texas chef, Jon Bonnell, will give Fort Worth a revolutionary new approach to seafood when Waters, Bonnell’s Fine Coastal Cuisine hits the city at the beginning of March. The state’s varied, but rarely celebrated seafood will prop up the menu, and there are already murmurings of Gulf Coast-sourced oyster shooters, one of the chef’s signature cocktails.

For the moment, though, Dallas-Fort Worth restaurateurs are keeping it real. Eating out here is not luxuriating in haute cuisine. It is more about delving to the belly-rumbling roots of the food that makes Texans tick and being carried on the journey by these chefs’ infectious enthusiasm. Now they just need that Michelin reviewer to come to town.

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