Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue
The tagline stenciled on nearly every surface at Stanley’s is “Be Kind, Have Fun,” a somewhat incongruous entreaty in this traditionally rough-and-tumble East Texas railroad town. But Stanley’s lives up to the motto, combining a world-class barbecue joint with two bars stocked with a dizzying selection of beer and assorted whiskeys and a honky tonk–inspired stage for live music. Owner Nick Pencis’s smoked meats are consistently great, anchored by the towering Mother Clucker smoked chicken sandwich and the baby back ribs rubbed with an eleven-spice dry mixture. Above all, Stanley’s is a community gathering place where staff and guests embody the fun and kindness that the restaurant’s slogan extols.
Method: Pecan and post oak; offset and wood-fired rotisserie smokers
Pitmaster: Spencer Carl, 34; Nick Pencis, 44
Pro-tip: Head to the bar and savor a variety of whiskey flights, featuring ryes and bourbons that range from the budget stuff to high-dollar pours.
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