A.N. Bewley Fabricators have been making wood-burning barbecue pits for nearly 50 years. From the plant, just a stone’s throw from Fair Park, the owners produce the carbon steel behemoths used by proprietors with distinguished taste in commercial smokers. Like Cousin’s, Baker’s is a local chain that recognizes the value of using 100-percent hickory smoke, and the restaurant has a Bewley in the kitchen to prove it.
The brisket shows the sign of a good smoke. Each slice has a thick smoke ring and deep black, crispy crust. One big plus here is that an order of either fatty or lean brisket (or a combination of both) doesn’t draw a blank stare from the knife man. Like Sonny Bryan, the experienced cutters here understand what experienced ‘cue lovers crave.
Baker’s namesake ribs aren’t quite as smoky as the beef, but a nice rub combines a swift kick of black pepper with a subtle hint of sweet. These ribs are never tough, but if you order in mid-afternoon, you may find them mushy. Stick with the lunch rush, and you’ll always have fresh meat along with better-than-average sides, including a dill-flecked smashed potato salad that finds its way onto my plate every time.