Zeke’s BBQ

19000 US-281
Windthorst, TX 76389

Phone: (940) 423-6888
Hours: M-F 11-8, Sat 11-2
Twitter: @zekesbarbq
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ZekesBBQ/

Opened 2015
Pitmaster Chris Pettyjohn
Method Oak in an indirect heat pit

TMBBQ Rating: 3.75

TMBBQ Buzz

Comments from our joint finder app.
This is a must for anyone who enjoy true pit BBQ. This guy knows what he is doing with everything on the menu. Ribs, brisket, sausage, and the best smoked turkey on earth! And I am not a true fan of turkey cooked any way. I sop here often and recommend this place to anyone looking for a good meal with good service from good people. Keep up the great work!
pork-belly @ Zeke’s BBQ, 2016-12-23 04:31:25
More Buzz →

Review

Zekes BBQ 01

May 31, 2016

Sometimes all it takes to seduce me into a high-mileage gamble on a barbecue joint are a few meat photos on Facebook. Unless you’re taking the circuitous route to nearby Wichita Falls, Windthorst, Texas isn’t really on the way to anywhere. But a mere five-hour round trip from home isn’t a bad investment for a true hidden gem, and I was betting on Zeke’s BBQ.

Chris Pettyjohn’s path to becoming a barbecue joint owner was also roundabout. He is a native of Windthorst, population 464, but headed off to Lubbock for a degree in exercise and sports science. He found his wife, Shaunci, there, but not a future career, so they came back to Windthorst and Pettyjohn worked at Home Depot. Pettyjohn’s uncle ran the local barbecue joint, Big Rusty’s BBQ, but wanted out. He asked Pettyjohn to buy it last year. Now Pettyjohn and Shaunci run the place, which they renamed after their dog. The family recently lost Zeke, but he’d be proud of his namesake.

Zekes BBQ 05

Although the beige building isn’t all that big, it’s hard to miss along the curve in Highway 281 right in the middle of town. Coming from north or south, you’ll see the dairy farms that Windthorst is known for, and you might also notice the sign for Windthorst Sausage. Try the smoked version at Zeke’s, and you’ll find a good reason to remember the town. Pettyjohn buys it raw from the local meat market and smokes it with oak until it’s plump and juicy.

Zekes BBQ 02

Gertrude, Pettyjohn’s pit, was built by a local welder, and the owner beamed with pride as he showed it off. It’s the workhorse of the business, and it is rarely empty. Zeke’s only goes through five or six briskets a day, but there’s plenty more on the menu, such as the peppery pork ribs with just enough chew left on them. Dare I say it, they’re even better after a squirt of Zeke’s spicy sauce.

Zekes BBQ 07

Pettyjohn isn’t sourcing any fancy brisket. He smokes Select grade and does his best with beef that’s inherently leaner. The fatty side of the brisket still has plenty of juiciness, but he also does well with the lean beef from the flat. He takes good care to trim the fat down, so whatever’s left is just the amount I want to eat. The fat provides the moisture that might be missing otherwise, and helps carry the smokiness. It’s no surprise that this brisket makes a remarkably good chopped beef sandwich.

Zekes BBQ 06

The smoked half chicken is juicy, but they could save plenty on rub costs if they didn’t coat it so heavily. The pulled pork was admirable: smoky, juicy, and with just a hint of sauce. It would also make a fine sandwich.

Zekes BBQ 03

There’s a lot to like about the sides too. The satisfying beans stew all day in a big help-yourself pot. A standard potato salad gets a boost from a sprinkling of parsley, and there’s a hint of lemon in the banana pudding to keep it from browning. The acid is a welcome counter to the rich, creamy pudding. There’s a standard slaw, but in the cabbage department I’d stick with the version that comes out of the smoker. It’s something special, and pairs perfectly with the smoked sausage.

“Every morning the pit’s full,” Pettyjohn tells me. “When we run out, we run out.” With barbecue this good, that’s bound to happen earlier and more often as Zeke’s reputation grows. Because even in a town of less than 500 people, word of barbecue worth traveling for spreads fast.

Comments

2 Comments

    Luke says:

    Zeke’s looks like a great place (and I love the fact they named it after their dog!). It just goes to show that even out of the way places can eventually do good business if they are producing a great product – which these guys clearly are!

    Dustin Dorsey says:

    I went there back when it was Big Rusty’s and the brisket was good then. I need to check it out again and see what’s changed. That Windthorst sausage is awesome. You can buy it fresh in local grocers around Wichita Falls. It is great on the grill or better yet on the smoker.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>