Photo by Christian Gooden, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Salt + Smoke

Smoking beef brisket is a bedeviling exercise: slow even by barbecue standards, subject to the whims of the smoker, the weather, the individual brisket itself. Aaron Franklin, the current king of the brisket at Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas, released a cookbook last year that is essentially one long recipe for brisket. It’s tough, in other words. As is, all too often, the meat. So we should be grateful for Salt + Smoke, where pitmaster Haley Riley turns out consistently excellent brisket, beautifully blackened, as tender as butter with rendered fat, its flavor rich with the smoke of post oak and accented with nothing more than salt and pepper. You can order from the rest of the menu with confidence, of course, but the brisket is what will transport you — and bring you back again and again.

Opened: 2014

Must order: Beef brisket plate ($15, includes two sides)