Everything is bigger in Texas, and the Lone Star State is famous for its regional selection of mouth-watering barbecue. It's been elevated to a form of religion along with football.
Cooking styles and tastes vary by individual state regions. Setting it apart from other types of regional barbecue, Texas is all about the beef, but not so much about the sauce.
"Barbecue sauce is like a beautiful woman. If it's too sweet, it's bound to be hiding something." — Lyle Lovett, Native Texan, American singer-songwriter.
Note: Barbecue is spelled correctly with either a "c" or "q,"
Barbecue Transitioned from Leaf Covered Meat to Closed Pits with Indirect Heat Instead of Coals
Modern-day barbecue methods are influenced by the process of slow-cooking known as barbacoa. In the 19th-century, cattle handlers took meat cooked in covered pits to a new level.
The original cowboys fine-tuned methods to cook tough beef from range cattle over coals in open-pit barbecue. Eventually, the cooking methods developed into closed pit Western-style barbecue, which uses indirect heat instead of coals promising a smokier flavor.
"An essential Texas barbecue meal included the sacred trinity of brisket, pork spareribs, and sausage, served with potato salad, coleslaw, and beans on the side. The biggest decision diners had to make was whether they wanted ice cream with their peach cobbler. The lineup seemed as fixed as the brick barbecue pits in which the meats were smoked." — Texas Monthly, Best 50 BBQ Joints 2021
Texans Take Their BBQ Very Seriously
Every four years, Texas Monthly Magazine magazine releases its compendium of top-notch barbecue joints. The list for 2021 was highly anticipated by BBQ foodies all over Texas.
"Texas Monthly's Top 50 Barbecue Joints list is Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn's accounting of the state's vast and varied barbecue scene, one that has seen a lot of transformation and growth since the last list was published. After Vaughn and a committee of 34 tasters visited 411 barbecue joints, logging thousands of miles and countless calories, the survey of what's going on in Texas 'cue today seems as diverse as the pitmasters making it." — D Magazine, Rosin Saez, October 18, 2021
The Rest of the Best - Hutchins BBQ in Frisco
Although Hutchins BBQ, located in Frisco, Texas, didn't make it into the Top Ten, they ranked as a highly respected Honorable Mention. The Hutchins brothers' establishment nestled towards the back of the lot at 9225 Preston Road is just a hop, skip and jump from my Prosper abode. It may not look fancy on the outside, but it's what's on the inside that counts.
Not only have I been there often, but when friends or family visit from out-of-town, they insist I take them to Hutchins for the famous smoked meats. They can't wait to sink their teeth into the fatty, flavorful burnt ends and beef ribs. Jalapeño cheddar sausage is another favorite.
The Enticing Smell of Smoke Welcomes You
Although battling for parking spaces in the often jammed lot or standing in the long winding lines is challenging, it's the price you pay for sinking your teeth into some of the best BBQ chicken and sausage in the state.
All meat is cooked on an oak and pecan, wood-fired rotisserie smoker. The smell of smoke hits your nostrils the minute you exit from your vehicle and you can see smoke from the cookers billowing upwards. It prepares you for the scrumptious, smoky selections you order by the pound.
Step Up for the Texas Twinkie
One favorite is the Texas Twinkie, a bacon-wrapped jalapeño stuffed with brisket and cream cheese. The jalapeño softens beautifully in the smoker, and the cream cheese doesn't overpower the bacon or brisket. It's a perfect comingling of flavors.
Traditional Texas barbecue is often served with fresh white bread, spicy sauces, pickles, sliced onions, and fresh sliced jalapeños. Hutchins offers those traditional staples while taking their sides to new levels.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Bacon-infused Mac and Cheese
As you slide your tray down the cafeteria-style line, you pass mounds of homemade garlic-flavored mashed potatoes, bacon-infused super creamy mac, and cheese, as well as pinto beans that taste a lot like brisket soup.
There are other options, including fried okra, green beans, potato salad, broccoli casserole, and salads.
Delicious desserts such as cobblers, puddings, and soft serve are offered as a complementary end to any in-house diners.
Barbecue Royalty Pitmasters
The Frisco location opened in 2014. It was previously located in Princeton in 1978 where it went by a different name. Pitmaster brothers Tim and Trey Hutchins were recently joined by barbecue royalty, John Mueller.
Rules for enjoying a visit to Hutchins are simple. Arrive early to avoid long lines for the restaurant or the drive-through window. When all meat is sold out, the restaurant will stop serving.
Remember to never wear white clothing. If Texas barbecue isn't messy enough to stain your clothes, it's probably not worth eating.
For more details visit hutchinsbbq.com or call 972-377-2046. Hours of operation from Monday through Sunday from 11:00 am until 9:00 pm or until all sold out.