Rating: 4 Opened: 2012 Pitmaster: Kenny Hatfield, age 53 Method: Oak and mesquite; indirect-heat pit Pro tip: Kenny will barbecue pretty much any game you bring him.
This tidy cedar cabin only opened in November, but pitmaster and owner Kenny Hatfield has been perfecting his craft for years, barbecuing brisket each Friday for his friends and employees at his nearby flooring store. Hatfield smokes his brisket for eighteen hours over a mix of oak and mesquite in his custom-built pit, which he has affectionately dubbed the Big Nasty, an indirect-heat smoker so large that it sticks out the side of the building. The resulting brisket is flavorful and tender and boasts a thick crust. The pork ribs are coated with a not-too-sugary glaze, and the meat is succulent. Meals are served up on nifty little cedar planks (no red plastic here), and patrons can eat at the tall tables inside or snag a picnic bench outside in the beer garden. Hatfields is a family affair: Kenny works the pit, and if it’s a weekend, his wife, Edna, a local schoolteacher, takes orders in the front. And the thick, sweet “Maddy Belle” sauce is named after their eleven-year-old daughter.
209 E. Cornwall, 361-729-2337. Open Tue–Sat 11–midnight, Sun noon–midnight. Beer. blackjacksbeer.com