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.
Awesome brisket and ribs!
David Monasmith @ Pecan Lodge, 2014-09-19 18:10:20
Kent Black's BBQ. San Marcos. Brisket moist smokey an TENDER! Keeping up the family tradition.
Andrew Imm @ , 2014-09-19 18:10:13
Tender, good flavor, could use more smoke. Much better than the fast food barbecue down the street
charles hodge @ Big Boys Barbecue, 2014-09-19 18:04:52
Stanley's - Tyler Ribs - beautiful, perfectly pink. Soft, almost oddly mushy, but with a tasty sweetness that I enjoyed. Brisket - well cooked, tender, but a bit dry and not much smoke flavor at all. The bark was thin, as was the smoke ring. Overall good, but nothing to really make it stand out. Gets a 'meh' B from me.
Scott Jarvis @ Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q, 2014-09-18 18:14:00
Had the brisket ribs and sausage all very good. Sides are over the top good. Smoked jalapeño app is amazing.
Roman @ Two Bros. BBQ Market, 2014-09-18 16:53:37
Went for "My Ribs" and "Your Ribs". Both good but latter wins out. Brisket definitely dry; was hard for me to get into. Sausage was okay. Definitely try key lime pie. Enjoyed the decor. Overall a good, not great Q place.
Rahul Yaratha @ Big Boys Barbecue, 2014-09-17 23:24:47
Brisket sandwich was good. And that's all she wrote as there is nothing else (chicken, sausage, turkey, potato salad, etc). Not even my friends who all went to Tech even heard of this place. Scratching my head on such a high TM ranking.
Rahul Yaratha @ Tom and Bingo’s Hickory Pit Bar-B-Que, 2014-09-17 23:21:48
We had Friday night dinner here. Brisket was tender and delicious. A little too much fat for my husband, but my daughter and I thought it was PERFECT. Good seasoning and good bark. No sauce needed. Homemade creamed corn is the best I have ever had. Coleslaw is delicious and not overdressed. We finished the meal with the homemade fried strawberry pies - one of the tastiest desserts I have ever put in my mouth. Live music. Dishes served family style. <$40 for 3 people including soft drinks and several beers. Definitely will go back!
Marcy Newman @ Two Bros. BBQ Market, 2014-09-17 22:16:13
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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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