On April 1, Our Big Escape provided their determination of the Top 5 Barbecue Restaurants in Fort Worth. Their list included solely restaurants in Fort Worth, and likely for good reason. On the outskirts of the city limits lie a number of lesser-known restaurants that provide the feel of a BBQ joint similar to those of our upbringing.
My wife and I recently found one of these simply on a whim. Having not had barbecue in a while, at least not good barbecue, I performed an online search late one afternoon for a good place for us to try that wasn’t too far. I came across one only a few miles away in Everman.
Driving through the backroads, we found ourselves in “old” Everman, along Forest Hill Road. Turning the corner and passing Everman Cemetery, an unpretentious wooden building stood out, marked by a tall sign and a statue of a cow on the roof. On first look, this place shouted to either be one of the best BBQ joints in the area, or so awful that they couldn’t expand and grow.
Not realizing the hours of the establishment, we were concerned to find that there were only a few vehicles in the parking lot, but entered the enclosed wooden porch anyway. Nostalgic would be the proper characterization of what we entered – it was not “old” but instead brought back memories from our youth. Everything was authentic and expressed the Everman and Texas pride held by the owners.
As we walked up to the counter to check out the menu, we were greeted not just cordially but in a friendly manner. Being new customers, we took a few minutes to review the menu, partly because of some of the rare items that they have such as bologna, turkey, chicken legs, nachos, Frito pie, and baked potato salad. This is in addition to the traditional offerings of brisket, pork, chicken breast, ribs, sausage, and sides like potato salad, beans, cole slaw, corn, green beans, mac-and-cheese, and baked potato.
I ended up getting my usual plate, a three-meat plate with ribs, brisket, and hot link sausage. My wife initially wanted pork, but it was late on their last day of the week, so she settled on the chopped brisket and hot link sausage. Her sides were potato salad and corn. I went with the baked potato salad and beans. We both also had sodas.
After ordering, we found the drink machine that allowed for unlimited refills, and the condiment bar that had sliced white onion and pickles, true BBQ staples. I had to ask for jalapeno, but was provided with a few whole and pickled peppers.
In the main dining room, we found adornments such as mounted game along with pictures of entrants through the years to the Fort Worth Stock Show. A table in the corner held take-home containers for those how needed them; we didn’t realize that we would be included in that category.
Through a doorway near the kitchen entrance was the bar. Because we weren’t in the mood for alcohol, we had not realized that they even serve beer (both draft and bottled) and margaritas. For its size, the wall behind the bar seemed well-stocked, and a group of locals sat around a table recounting the week.
The only things missing from the days of old was the smoke from cigarettes and cigars that would mingle with the aromas of the smoked meats and the jukebox playing the likes of The Sons of the Pioneers, Johnny Cash, George Jones, Glen Campbell, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, and the Outlaws. Otherwise, I would have believed that I was in a BBQ joint that my dad had taken me to when we first moved to Fort Worth in 1977.
When the food came out, it was hot and reminiscent of my youth. Even toward the end of the last day of the week, the sliced brisket was so tender that I had to scoop it with my fork because it completely fell apart when I tried to “stab” a piece. The sauce came on the side and was perfect “Texas-style,” without the vinegar, mustard, or tomato tastes of other areas of the country. There was so much of it that I, who normally completes the full plate and then finishes some of what my wife has left, had to take advantage of the take-home containers from the corner table.
All of this – essentially two to three meals for each of us – plus a relatively-generous tip cost us $50.00. Considering the leftovers, that equated to about $10.00 per meal or about $5.00 per person per meal.
As we were leaving, the staff recognized that we were having difficulty managing the take-home containers and immediately asked if we wanted a bag. Not only did they bring us a bag, but they took the extra effort to bag the containers for us instead of making us fumble through the packaging ourselves. They held the door for us as we left, and bid us a great rest of the evening.
Hickory Stick BBQ is not a barbecue restaurant; it is a true BBQ Joint of the like for which Texas is known. Just like the furnishings on the walls and floors, the people and food are authentic and nostalgic, as well. It is a BBQ joint like we grew up with. There is no pretentiousness or attempt to appease those who would want an upscale dining experience. Instead, it is just good, wholesome, BBQ.
Hickory Stick Bar-B-Q is located at 900 E Enon Ave, Everman, Texas, and is open Tuesday through Saturday 8:00am - 8:00 pm. Their website is hickorystickbbq.com.
My wife and I will be back!