|(L-R) Jim Rossman, Kathy and Steve Hunt, Gary Jacobson, Michael Landauer, Bruce Tomaso and Gary Barber at Hutchins BBQ. (Photo by Tom Fox)|
For quality, the barbecue benchmarks are clear for Tim Hutchins, owner of Hutchins BBQ in McKinney.
"We're shooting for those guys in Austin," Hutchins said during the Posse's recent visit to his joint. He said he and his crew regularly travel to the new BBQ Capital of Texas to sample the fare at places like Franklin BBQ, la Barbecue and John Mueller Meat Co. They also visit Pecan Lodge in Dallas.
But Hutchins is even more ambitious. Many of the top joints in the state are open only a few hours a day. They close when they run out of meat.
"We want to serve great barbecue10 hours a day instead of just 2," Hutchins said. His place, which made Texas Monthly's Top 50 list last year, opens at 11 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Hutchins BBQ won The Dallas Morning News' recent barbecue poll of readers. The Posse went there with Steve and Kathy Hunt, who live in McKinney and are regulars at the place. Steve won a meal with the Posse. He was randomly selected from among those who Tweeted a link to the poll.
Kathy ordered brisket and chicken. The rest of us -- we totaled 8 -- ordered the all-you-can-eat $16.59 special, which may just be the best barbecue value anywhere.
Everything -- brisket, pork ribs, turkey, chicken, pulled pork, sausage -- was good. The ribs were tremendous.
"These ribs are meat candy," Posse member Tom Fox said.
"This is just too pretty to eat," Posse member Jim Rossman said.
"The rub they apply is ridiculously good," Steve Hunt said.
Rossman and Hunt said they were the best ribs they had eaten in a long time.
Just before cutting and serving, general manager Dustin Blackwell applied a glaze to the ribs. When he stopped by the table, we asked Blackwell the ingredients.
"A real simple sweet glaze," he said, without elaborating.
Blackwell nodded, smiling.
When Hutchins stopped by our table, he said that his goal is constant improvement. That's why he and and his crew regularly make pilgrimages to other top joints.
"We're trying to be cool," Hutchins said. "We're trying to get into the fraternity."
Hunt, who works for Dell, told Hutchins that he was moving soon to Austin.
"If you ever get ready to open there, I think you can give them a run for their money," he said.
"I think we've got a little more training to do," he said.
The Posse agrees with Hunt. Hutchins can hang with Austin's best right now. Make room in the BBQ Fraternity.