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 good, pulled pork over sauced. Over all it was ok at best. Prob won't be back here. I was surprised it made the TM list, I think they missed it on this list.
epp @ Lamberts Downtown Barbecue, 2014-09-15 17:43:26
Amazing! Every time!
John Brotherton @ Snow’s BBQ, 2014-09-13 13:22:59
Three meat combo with gravy excellent
doug_wallace @ Tony DeMaria’s Bar-B-Q, 2014-09-12 15:49:29
Was unbelievable. Now the brisket was another story, it was chewy and bland. This place was always my favorite go to joint. The first place I went to eat upon arriving in Austin. The last 4 times over a six month period have been disappointing, seems like his heart is not into it.
Bob Conti @ John Mueller Meat Co., 2014-09-11 23:41:28
Stopped Sunday Sept 7 at 11am. Out of beef ribs. I had the brisket, pork ribs, and sliced pork. Pork ribs were fantastic as was the sliced pork. The flavor and tenderness of the pork p
Bob Conti @ John Mueller Meat Co., 2014-09-11 23:37:04
What a disappointment. I had heard good things about this place but it really didn't deliver. I asked for moist brisket. I received a slab of fat with about an eighth of an inch of meat. Tough gross and inedible. I took it back to the counter and they gave me a new order. Much better, but not as good as others I have had. They said "all their brisket is moist" but I have never had anyone serve me something like I got here September 9, 2014. Not sure I would return.
Marcy Newman @ City Market, 2014-09-11 00:15:04
Great ribs, good sides, brisket was moist but the man that runs the register had the worst attitude towards the customers. The local guys that came in he was nice to but I won't go back.
Jason Holder @ Fargo’s Pit BBQ, 2014-09-10 18:49:25
Finally made to to mann's and I wot be going back. Staff was very nice but the best think on my plate was the sides. The brisket and ribs were both bland. Not enough rub or smoke.
Brad Golub @ Mann’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, 2014-04-10 12:28:07
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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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