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Dining Guide

Kirby’s Barbeque (closed)

Kirby Hyden has two large steel barrel smokers, which he fires up in tandem on the weekends, when they add ribs and chicken to the menu. But on any given day, briskets take up most of the real estate. The smoking process for those briskets is unique—Kirby starts them during the day, removes them from the smoker when he leaves for the night, then puts them back on the smoker to finish them when he arrives again at four in the morning. The result is stunning: the meat was deeply flavored, and each slice was moist and perfectly cooked (Kirby’s charges extra for trimmed brisket, but you’re going to want all the fat left on anyway). A heavy rub provided a real punch of saltiness and a hint of cayenne, but the meat wasn’t overpowered. The spareribs, also coated with an impressive bark, were incredibly tender despite their heft. The sausage comes from Slovacek’s, in Snook, and this version was smoky with a nice snap. The only disappointment was the soggy pulled pork, which can be skipped altogether. You’ll find only the most basic of side items, but the buttermilk pie is worth a try. Let’s just hope the knowledge that makes Kirby’s so good can be passed on to the next generation.

City: Mexia


Method: Post oak; indirect-heat pit

Pitmaster: Kirby Hyden

Pro-tip: It's about two miles south of the city limits.

Price: $$

Rating: ★★★★

Address: 4592 Texas Hwy. 14 N., Mexia, TX, 76667

Hours: Wed-€“Fri 10-€“6, Sat 10-€“3

Phone: 254-562-5076

Year Opened: 1991 (current location since 2008)

Last updated: May 3, 2013