Hickory House Bar-B-Que

630 W Woodard St.
Denison, TX 75020

Phone: (903) 463-3600
Hours: M-F 11-Sold Out (around 6), Sat 11-2
Website: http://www.hickoryhousebar-b-que.yolasite.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hickory-House-Bar-B-Que-Candy-Land/102348169809305

Opened 1975
Pitmaster Johnny Doyle
Method Hickory in a gas-fired rotisserie

TMBBQ Rating: 3.25

TMBBQ Buzz

Comments from our joint finder app.
Brisket was moist, but tough. Needed more smoke. Spare ribs were ok.
mrb @ Rudy’s Bar-B-Q, 2014-08-27 02:53:29
Stopped at Rudy's at Leon Springs. Not good. Brisket was moist but tough. Ribs were fair.
mrb @ , 2014-08-27 02:47:40
How do we get KB's BBQ on the finder for Victoria TX?
Kent Sistrunk @ , 2014-08-26 17:54:51
The "big chop" is insane. Make sure you try the jalapeño pork and beans in the cauldron in the back.
George Caflisch @ Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que, 2014-08-26 16:49:15
This is a special place and worth the detour. Brisket is pretty darned good, pork ribs are pretty decent, the sausage is somewhat generic. The green beans are the best I've ever had. I just love the whole scene.
George Caflisch @ Mumphord’s Place, 2014-08-26 16:43:55
Had the all you can eat last night ribs chopped and bolo beans and frings this place is is getting better it had slid down for a while but the ribs were fantastic
doug_wallace @ Sammie’s Bar-B-Q, 2014-08-26 12:58:13
What a great lunch at Coopers in Llano The big chop was wonderful and the sirloin and pork ribs were sooo good
Jackie Hanson @ , 2014-08-25 20:17:12
Had a snows brisket yesterday they've greatness smoke pepper perfection
doug_wallace @ Snow’s BBQ, 2014-08-24 18:00:26
More Buzz →

Review

Hickory House BBQ 03

June 10, 2014

Johnny Doyle cooks on a gas-rotisserie, but he’d do it differently if he could. He takes pride in the barbecue he puts out in his nearly forty year old Denison restaurant, so when he had pit fire that destroyed his Oylers, he wanted to replace them. “[J&R Manufacturing] told me it would be a couple months before I could get an Oyler built, so I bought two Southern Prides instead.” Now he just can’t get the bark to set on his ribs like he’d like to. I can’t be sure if it’s the cook or the cooker, but he’s right.

Hickory House BBQ 01

The ribs were tender and came away nicely from the bone. They even had a good smokiness, but the rub sat atop the meat like wet sawdust. The meat and rub had not become one, and there was no bark to speak of. That textural variation of crisp crust and moist meat is what makes a dry-rubbed rib so pleasing, but this rib was crying for some sauce. Luckily, they make a couple good ones here. The tomato-based version wasn’t too sweet with just a touch of vinegar, and livened up the ribs nicely.

Doyle’s other sauce is a regional specialty. He makes a brown gravy sauce from the flour-thickened pit drippings. It’s thick and heavily seasoned, and makes for great Texas toast dipping.

Brown Gravy 13

Hickory House brown gravy sauce

Johnny and his wife Shawn make all the sides too. In fact, there isn’t much here that’s not from scratch. If you’re used to beans from the can, a trip through Sherman, Denison, Bells, and Bonham will be a pinto bean revelation. They know how to cook them in these parts. There are few ingredients and they aren’t fortified with leftover chunks of barbecue. They’re just beans that are well cooked in a pot for long hours and seasoned with just enough salt. A side of potato salad was anything but store-bought. Chunks of egg, nearly-mashed potatoes, and good kick of yellow mustard made for a bright counterpoint to the beans. Side are also self-serve along the cafeteria line, so you can get a few spoonfuls if you like.

Hickory House BBQ 02

Then there’s the brisket. In these parts you normally need to beg for any crust to be left on the meat. The fatty end is usually chopped for sandwiches, and the sauce on the side is a foreign concept. But Johnny Doyle does it differently. A nice line of rendered fat hid beneath a crunchy bark created from hours in the pit, and few on the steam table. Brisket in the mid-afternoon is usually dried out when held in this manner, but the Hickory House beef was juicy and tender. There was plenty of smoke, pepper, and salt to flavor it too.

Maybe the ribs were better back before the pit fire, but it looks like Doyle has found his sweet spot with the brisket. He recognized me just before I left, and asked me for some tips on the ribs. I’m not sure if it was for flattery or if he was really looking to improve, but it’d be worth returning to find out as long as he keeps serving brisket like that.

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