Restaurants / Openings

New Barbecue Joint From Press Cafe Chef Is Just What Clearfork Needed — Your First Taste of F1 Smokehouse

After Years Of Promises, This Fort Worth Neighborhood Along The Trinity Trail Finally Gets Its Own 'Cue

BY // 12.21.21

Chef Felipe Armenta recently opened his first barbecue spot in Fort Worth’s Clearfork neighborhood. F1 Smokehouse is the first barbecue joint in Clearfork period. The new food truck with plentiful, shaded outdoor seating is nestled by the Trinity Trails. It is adjacent to Aremnta’s popular Press Cafe at 4801 Edwards Ranch Road.

Originally Flores Barbecue had plans to add a food truck to this very spot. Then, Campo Smokehouse was announced with Lou Lambert and Chris Reale (two chefs involved in the reimagining of Roy Pope Grocery and the soon to reopen Paris Coffee Shop). But according to Lambert, it just wasn’t the right deal to move forward with those plans, so they bowed out.

So Armenta stepped in with his own barbecue.

F1 Smokhouse – new food truck with ample outdoor seating. Photo by Courtney Dabney.

Armenta first told PaperCity Fort Worth of his plans for what he was then calling Press Barbeque ―a healthier and lighter take on traditional barbecue that goes beyond potato salad and beans — last May. Around the time he opened his Maria’s Mexican on University and Town Grill in the Alliance corridor. With the name change to F1 Smokehouse, one can only wonder if his Armenta’s barbecue foray will expand numerically in the future ― F2 Smokehouse, and so on.

What To Order At F1 Smokehouse

I got the chance to sample quite a bit from the new menu, thanks to family members who are always willing to share a nibble and allow for the requisite food editor pictures before they can take their first bite of anything. We were also treated to a few additional samples.

As a take home option, meats like St. Louis pork ribs, dark meat chicken, Mary’s free range turkey, pulled pork shoulder and black angus brisket can be ordered by the half pound. Sides are available in single orders (most could easily serve two people), including BBQ beans, potato salad tossed with grainy mustard, a peanut dressed coleslaw, buttery cannellini beans, sticky rice and a little chopped kale salad.

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F1 Smokehouse – Brisket and Carnita bowls atop rice or barbeque beans
Brisket and Carnitas bowls are served atop rice or barbeque beans. Photo by Courtney Dabney.

This is a unique spin on German potato salad without the vinegar bite, but the grainy mustard dressing is delish. I also loved the Thai-inspired coleslaw with its peanut dressing (allergy warning), and more peanuts on top. It’s like no other slaw in town.

You can go in many directions from traditional, yet chefy, sandwiches like pulled pork or brisket, served with pickled red onions, and house-made mustard BBQ sauce. Or you can go bunless and opt for one of three bowls ― like the smoked turkey bowl filled with a base layer of quinoa, fresh avocado, corn, tomato and cannellini beans. With various fillings there are also brisket and carnitas bowls, and one topped with silky bacon burnt ends.

Pro tip: I got to sample the sliced pork belly, before it gets chopped up, sauced and grilled into burnt ends. If they’ll allow you to order that off menu, it’s heaven. Simply salt and pepper seasoned, with evenly distributed fat. I will be begging for more of the same on my next visit.

I was lucky enough to sample the St. Louis pork ribs, which (be warned) are not always available. They were tender, not too smoky, and were encased in a delightfully thin pepper crust, served with two different BBQ sauces. If they have ribs, when you visit, you won’t be disappointed.

F1 Smokehouse even serves breakfast tacos on the weekends, just off the trails. Photo by Courtney Dabney.

If you have ever had the ribs at Armenta’s Cork and Pig restaurants, you’ll be familiar with the mustard-based sauce, and the traditional house barbeque sauce at F1 Smokehouse is spot on as well. Not too tangy and without any noticeable spice. Not that anything on the menu at F1 Smokhouse requires sauce of any kind.

There are three types of barbecue-filled tacos as well, layered with cabbage, radish, guacamole and dusted with cotija crumbles. For those not in the mood for ‘cue, there is even a succulent double double burger, hot off the grill. And don’t overlook the dark meat smoked chicken, with its velvety texture and crispy crust.

Clearfork Farmer’s Market shoppers and Trinity Trail trekkers will be happy to hear that F1 Smokehouse is ready with breakfast tacos on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 8 am to 11 am. The flour tortillas are filled with eggs, cheese, guacamole and your choice of smoked turkey, brisket or carnitas.

F1 Smokehouse is a welcome addition to Clearfork, and thanks to the unseasonably warm temperatures, relaxing riverside in the open air could quickly become habit forming.

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