Just opened this week: Smoque, an Old Irving BBQ joint run by five ‘cue fans, chief among them Barry Sorkin, who went back to his roots in the restaurant business after almost a decade as an IT consultant. Why barbecue? “It’s just about my favorite thing in the world–and it doesn’t seem like there’s any other food out there that people get quite so passionate about.” So true–and there are many connoisseurs far more passionate than I. But I can say that in the last few weeks Smoque has already generated a remarkable amount of buzz for both its Southern Pride smoker and for the proprietors’ long and impassioned BBQ manifesto (pdf). According to Sorkin the place has been hopping since its Monday opening, and, to his surprise, one item has already emerged as a hands-down customer favorite: the brisket, smoked 14 hours over apple and oak and sliced to order.

P.S. About a year ago we sent our critics on a city-wide barbecue survey; the results are in the Reader Restaurant Finder.