We spotted the smoke while cruising eastward down Hwy. 31 toward the Country Tavern in Kilgore. Since we were in no particular hurry, the BBQ posse hooked a u-turn and headed back to Hickory Hill BBQ. It turned out to be a great stop on the journey. Like Pat Gee’s, they are open Friday through Sunday, closing when the meat runs out.

Husband and wife team Kelly and Kerry Shaw opened the joint seven months ago, after years of preparation by Kerry. “I’ve been cooking BBQ all my life,” he said. We ordered up some ribs for the crew and chatted with Kelly about their place.

Their motto is “The way it used to be.” Kelly explained they set their prices to be affordable to everyone. Ribs, brisket and links are $8.99 a pound, smoked chicken is $6.99, overall the cheapest we’d seen. Best of all, they offer the “Working People Special,” two pieces of hickory smoked chicken with one side for $2.99.

Kerry isn’t modest when it comes to his ribs. “My goal is to the best. Not the best in Tyler, the BEST in the world.” Hickory Hill BBQ is located on Texas Hwy 31 between Tyler and Kilgore.

Click here to see our East Texas BBQ Tour story online.

Hickory Hill BBQ, 20101 Highway 31, Tyler. Open Friday to Sunday, 11 a.m. until the meat runs out

Photos ©Guy Reynolds

Leave a comment


7 years ago

Some of the best bbq that I have ever tasted, not the usual sauce it has a small kick that everyone should enjoy. Kelly & Kerry are two fine people who serve up a great meal for a reasonable price.


7 years ago

Hickory hill is by far the best bar b Que restaurant that I've had in my lifetime. From there ribs all the way down to there deserts would top any bar b Que restaurant in the nation. Not only is there food magnificent, the quality of service that you receive there is an (A+). Every oppurtunity that my family an I get, we stop by to grab a bite of the best bar b Que in the world. Thanks Kerry & Kelly for serving the community with nothing but the best. May god continue to keep blessing your business.


7 years ago

Hickory Hill BBQ is the best brisket and ribs I have ever tasted bar none. I can only imagine how those ribs would taste right off the grill because I receive my BBQ frozen since it is being shipped out to Los Angeles. Nevertheless, the ribs just fall off and the brisket is just mouth watering.

I have been nagging Kerry to open a second location to Los Angeles because we need some real grill masters in L.A.

Thanks again for taking the time to ship out my orders and keep up the great work.



7 years ago

Currently, I live in Los Angeles, but I am originally from Texas. Hickory Hill BBQ has the best ribs and brisket that I have ever tasted. During my visit to Tyler in June 2009, I had an opportunity to try the BBQ. Since there is not any really good BBQ in LA, I have been ordering Kerry's ribs and brisket in the mail, which is frozen and shipped overnight. I gave a few people in the office a sample of the BBQ, and they like the BBQ so much that we place an order every couple of months. Hopefully, Kerry will open a Hickory Hill location in LA in the near future.




7 years ago

Hickory Hill has the best BBQ in east Texas. The food along with the service is top of the line and makes you come back for more and more. The meat is tender and is packed with flavor. Kerry and Kelly make you feel at home and welcomed.


Eric Evans

7 years ago

Today was the day that I finally found UNBELIEVABLE BBQ. Hickory Hill has by far exceeded all of my expectations after hearing about them for the first time, 5 months ago. It was so good that I received a phone call about Hickory hill when I was in Connecticut on vacation. Not only were the ribs and brisket juicy and tender but, when I asked him about his smoked sausage he told me that it would melt in my mouth. So I did what any BBQ loving Texan would do, and ordered all three. And the sausage really did melt away! Even the sides made a lasting impression on me. I think I could have taken a bath in their beans! This place is well worth a planned trip!

Putter Evans

7 years ago

Kerry & Kelly Shaw have the best BBQ and the most real place in the state of Texas. The ribs and hot links are to die for. If Momma Shaw has made a cake, then take hold for a delight for the tummy. Great to see there is still a place for people to start a small business that is just for the love of doing something well. Do not pass this place without stopping. It is about 10 miles east of Tyler on the north side of Hwy 31 headed to Kilgore.
Putter & Debbie Evans and the rest of the Evans Gang

Beverly Jackson

7 years ago

I am a rib person myself and Hickory Hill BBQ serves big hunks of ribs WITH LOTS OF MEAT ON IT!!. Ribs I have had in the past is mostly bones but two ribs from Hickory Hill BBQ fills me up a plenty. They serve a german choc. cake sometimes which is to die for. Go there and order some ribs, yall. You will not be disappointed. And if there is german choc. cake – don't pass it up.


6 years ago

A friend and I stopped at Hickory Hill the summer of 08 and ordered ribs and brisket to go. In the truck (15 minute drive back into town) we opened up the boxes and went to town. I have to say that the ribs were without a doubt THE WORST BBQ RIBS I HAVE EVER TASTED IN MY LIFE!!! The owner talked with us for 20 minutes preparing the food about how incredible his bbq was and how he was the best. I was absolutely shocked at how terrible they were. If we hadnt made it almost back to the apartment we would have turned around and got our money back. I have no idea who these positive reviews are from. Maybe we just caught them on a bad day…


4 years ago

I haven't eaten there, but if you ate there in Summer 2008, according to the article, this BBQ place was not open then. Article is March 2010 and it opened 7 months before. That would be Summer/Fall 2009.
On 31 there are at least 2 houses that have buildings beside them and sell BBQ out of. Not sure which, but one is on the right if coming from Tyler, and one is one the left. I haven't been on 31 in a while, but the last time I saw these places, the one on the right (closest to Tyler) had a plywood sign with BBQ or something spraypainted on it. The one further down was a place where they slowly built a brick wall, and what eventually became the restaurant.
The first (on the right) has a building by a house a little bit off the road.
The second (on the left) is pretty close to the road.
Then there is a 3rd, Pat Gee's, that has no signs on 31. You have to know the road and go a while to get to it.


5 years ago

Yummy yummy! Wish they didnt have to close at all during the week! We are major fans of their bbq HOLLY N SKYLAR MCKNIGHT!

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