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