Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue

525 S. Beckham Ave.
Tyler, TX 75702

Phone: 903-593-0311
Hours: Breakfast Mon-€“Fri 7-€“10; lunch and dinner Mon-€“Sat 11-€“9
Website: www.stanleyspitbbq.com
Twitter: @stanleysfamous

Opened 1959
Pitmaster Nick Pencis (since 2006) and Jonathan Shaw (since 2009)
Method Pecan; gas-fired smoker (ribs); indirect-heat pit (everything else)
Pro Tip Try a "breakfast bowl." Then go back to bed.

TMBBQ Rating: 4.5

Texas Monthly BBQ Top 50

More Reviews

May 17, 2010

On a trip down to Nacogdoches, the family stopped for ‘cue in Tyler at Stanley’s. I’d visited once before with a friend and found many faults with Stanley’s although it seemed to have potential. After meeting owner Nick Pencis at the Gettin’ Sauced event in Austin, he urged me to return and try some of the recipes he had tweaked, most importantly the brisket. It has improved but there are still some issues. Again, I…

July 1, 2009

The four meat sampler plate should become a staple of every self-respecting BBQ joint. The idea of piling a plate with multiple proteins, and diggin’ in without the distractions of cole slaw, pinto beans or anything else to slow down the ingestion pleases me. The folks over at Stanley’s seem to agree with me. A friend from LA wanted a taste of some good Texas ‘cue so we headed out to East Texas in search…

May 21, 2008

The Brother-in-Law, a sandwiched smorgasbord of chopped beef, butterflied hot links, and cheese, has a powerful (and well-deserved) reputation in East Texas, but order the old-fashioned hand-pulled-pork sandwich, filled with juicy shreds of perfectly smoked pork shoulder. Nick Pencis, the owner and pitmaster, follows a fifty-year-old smoking method—meats housed for sixteen hours in the pecan-fueled pit—to turn out some of the best barbecue in this neck of the Piney Woods.

Review

FC_StanleysPlate

May 16, 2013

Owner Nick Pencis isn’t going to take it anymore. For years he felt compelled by regional tastes to serve lightly seasoned briskets without a speck of fat on them. But when he renovated his restaurant in 2012 (adding a new bar and patio along with an impressive pit room), a few of the menu items got a makeover as well. The brisket now receives a more aggressive dusting of salt and coarse black pepper, and just as important, the servers don’t automatically trim it anymore. He’s also replaced a boring commercial sausage with a special-recipe pork sausage from a local butcher shop. Both changes constitute major improvements for a joint that was already great, largely on the basis of the pork ribs. It’s the ribs that justify that adjective in the place’s name (that and Pencis’s infectious humor). These baby backs, rubbed with an eleven-spice mixture, are saucy, messy, sweet, and delicious. We’d prefer a deeper smokiness or a more well-defined bark, but it’s not hard to clean the meat from these bones. Another standout at Stanley’s is the smoked turkey—peppery and moist and surely among the state’s best. We also like the pulled pork, which has a few crispy bits of bark sprinkled in and a good vinegary sauce. Now that Central Texas–style brisket and sausage have been added to the menu’s East Texas specialties, we recommend going all in and getting the four-meat sampler platter. No sides come with this protein fest, so you can concentrate on the main event. Unusual for a barbecue joint, Stanley’s serves breakfast and dinner in addition to lunch, so feel free to eat here three times a day.

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