Potential is an exciting thing to witness at a barbecue joint, especially in the Dallas area. Knowing that just another hour on the smoker or a tweak in the holding methods for the meat through the day could lead to exceptional smoked protein creates genuine anticipation for another trip. Which also creates the possibility of disappointment. At Christopher’s Smokehouse Barbeque, the meats are smoked with pellets, and the smoking temperatures are regulated electronically in a Traeger pit. Baby back ribs on two visits separated by six months were identically mediocre and, oddly, served covered in plastic wrap. The well-cooked meat thankfully didn’t slide off the bone, but no smoky crust was evident, creating a singular texture and little flavor beyond the salt-and-pepper rub. Brisket had a bit more smokiness, but the tough slices took some effort to pull apart, and the fat line that admirably remained was chewy on the undercooked meat. Rib tips, a rarity for these parts, were already gone on this day, but owner and pitmaster Gary Christopher recommended his competition-winning chicken. One bite of the chicken, and the same plastic-wrapped issues revealed themselves. Wrapping the meat in this texture thief locks in moisture, turning any crispy surface into a limp layer of condensation. Every order is served in a Styrofoam container, further exacerbating this problem. Service is brisk and friendly in the tiny dining area with only bar stool seating. Fresh, hot rolls are brought on request, which is a nice change of pace from cheap white bread. Also noticeable is the attention to sides, like the skillet potatoes, crispy cooked-to-order slices that deliver a pleasing black-pepper kick. These small touches illustrate the promise of Christopher’s, but I fear it still hasn’t realized its potential for success.

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