A couple of months back we checked out the mighty Longoria BBQ in Everman, and one of our readers suggested that we check out Hickory Stick, which is just down the road -- good call.
From the parking lot, everything looked great. We had a big fiberglass Hereford bull on the roof, a big cowboy on the sign, and there was even a letter missing. So it gets points right off the bat for authentic atmosphere; this is what a barbecue joint should look like.
Inside, you order food at the window, and they really pile it on. It only lists a two-meat combo, but they came up with three when I asked. I got my standard ribs, sausage and brisket, while Mrs. BBQ Hound got the chopped beef sandwich. For sides I got the sour cream baked potato salad and beans, while the Mrs. got the standard potato salad. We scammed the last two banana pudding bowls they had (it sells out quick, I was told).
The brisket was bovine perfection. Texture was where it should be, nice smoke ring, and a tasty bark. Sauce was served in a little pitcher on the side, but I found no use for it. It has a nice, mild flavor that didn't overpower the taste of anything on my plate, but this is really good meat, and it doesn't need sauce.
Ribs were St. Louis style, with a slightly sticky, mildly sweet and tangy glaze. Like the ribs of their neighbor down the road, these were more savory than the sweeter pigsicles you get a lot of places. The texture was as good as it gets anywhere, with the meat just firm enough that it pulls away clean when you bite into it.
The sausage had a nice flavor, too, but it pales in comparison to the brisket and the ribs. Next time I'll stick to those.
The sour cream baked potato salad, while nontraditional, was a nice change from the standard mustard-based fare. The beans, pretty much standard, were better than most.
Then we get to the banana pudding. The first thing I noticed is that it wasn't bright yellow, like the stuff you get out of a can. This was hands-down the best banana pudding I've ever had anywhere. And I've had a lot of the stuff. It was rich, very sweet and had slices of honest-to-God banana along with the requisite vanilla wafers. It was heavenly.
The family seated at the table next to us were longtime fans of the place. They told me they would have run Hickory Stick out of town if the barbecue wasn't great. But it is. And perhaps that's why Everman has such great 'cue -- it's kind of a vigilante thing.
Apparently these customers, Hickory Stick's owner, and Longoria's owner all went to high school together and they all are like family. GO BULLDOGS! They say there's no rivalry between the two shops, and they help each other out which, when you think about it, is a frightening concept. If they were to combine efforts, create a Bulldog BBQ Cartel, they might rule the world.
Hickory Stick, like Longoria's is nearly perfect. The place dates back to the '70s, and even though the building has had two additions over the years, it still retains its wood-paneled '70s charm. It was perhaps a bit too clean and well maintained, but give it another 40 years to break in a bit. I'm beginning to think that if we ever do find the Holy Grail, it will be in Everman.