Up until the last few years, Hutchins BBQ has been one of the best kept secrets to DFW area residents. According to their website, the original store opened in Princeton in 1978 by McKinney native Roy Hutchins. Hutchins had started by working for King’s Barbeque, as well as many others in the food industry. After years, he finally decided to focus on finding his own ‘flavor’ and that he did.
Unlike many restaurants that cook with gas and pre-made cuts, Hutchins insists upon using fine pecan wood to cook and flavor the meat, with fresh cuts coming from the pit throughout the day. The food is prepared over what can literally be called an eternal flame, because getting optimum flavor requires an around-the-clock maintenance of burning wood.
Upon arrival to the red clap board exterior barnlike building, we were greeted with an intoxicating aroma of unmistakable pecan wood smoke. Entering through the front door, we were shuffled around the corner to toward the back of the restaurant to the end of the line. That’s right, expect a bit of a wait regardless of your timing. The line is corralled right up to the ‘meat’ bar where you get a choice of sandwiches or combo/plates, including all their various meats. We, however, chose the All You Can Eat to ensure we were able to taste all the meats.
The brisket had a rosy red halo smoke ring with a mild flavored bark. The fat was rendered perfectly, leaving the meat tender and moist, with the most amazing flavor. Two sausages are offered, original and jalapeno cheddar. Both had a great smoky flavor, however, the jalapeno cheddar had that spicy kick to push it over the top, making it our favorite of the two. The St. Louis cut ribs were rubbed with a slightly sweet taste and cooked just long enough to pull off the bone, yet retain the needed moisture for flavor.
Overall, the meats were amazing. The catfish was cooked to order and served with traditional hushpuppies. Although its very typical for poultry to dry out when kept in a warm oven, the chicken was surprisingly moist with that same smokiness. The only disappointment was the ham. It lacked any smoke flavor and was very dehydrated.
Not to be overlooked is their ‘sides’ bar. They have a multitude of side dishes to choose from allowing even the finickiest of eaters to be pleased. The kids can scoop up the homemade mashed potatoes topped with cheese and bacon bits or something more simple, such as french fries. Naturally, there are the traditional barbeque sides; cole slaw, beans, corn, mac n’ cheese, green beans and potato salad, which are all made from scratch daily. My favorite, however, was their broccoli salad. Made with broccoli florets, bacon, cheese and a magical creamy sauce, I was in heaven.
Once you’ve polished off the last bite you can muster before packing up your left over bits for home, make sure to visit their dessert bar for a nibble of sweets. They offer homemade banana pudding, peach cobbler and ice cream with all the toppings.
Ultimately, Hutchins BBQ outgrew its original site requiring it to move to the corner University Drive and Tennessee Street in McKinney where they are currently located. They also expanded, opening a location in Frisco making it an easier jaunt for some coming from the west of DFW. Both locations serve the same mouth watering fare making it impossible to be disappointed. For store hours and details, go to Hutchins BBQ and Catering.