Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q (Top 50)

Jun 1, 2017 By Daniel Vaughn

In 2009 Nick Pencis—a rock and roll drummer, two-time business-school dropout, and owner of Stanley’s—had an epiphany. He had driven all the way to Lockhart to eat at the legendary joint Smitty’s and, in his words, “to try to figure out the true meaning of barbecue.” Walking past Smitty’s floor…

Gobble, Gobble

Dec 9, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Rose Diamond once ruled the world of smoked turkey. In 1938, customers in New York, Miami, and Hollywood enjoyed her smoked turkeys shipped out from her Fort Worth home. According to The Claude News, they brined for at least ten days before being smoked in a brick pit in Diamond’s…

Pat Gee’s Barbecue

Jun 24, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

The hand-painted wooden sign reads “Pat’s Barbecue,” but everybody calls it Pat Gee’s after its late founder, Mack Henry “Pat” Gee, who opened this barbecue shack east of Tyler, deep in the piney woods, sometime around 1963. Pat, his wife Vida, and their seven children lived just up the hill…

Hickory Hill BBQ

Jan 9, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

It was a phone call that brought me back out to Hickory Hill BBQ. It sits along a stretch of State Highway 31, right on the western edge of the East Texas pine curtain. I’d driven by it a few times, but always found it closed, then owner Kerry Shaw…

Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue

May 16, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Owner Nick Pencis isn’t going to take it anymore. For years he felt compelled by regional tastes to serve lightly seasoned briskets without a speck of fat on them. But when he renovated his restaurant in 2012 (adding a new bar and patio along with an impressive pit room), a…

The Verdict

Jan 21, 2013 By Michael Hall

Another defendant in the Mineola child sex ring crimes is found guilty.

Trial and Error

Jan 21, 2013 By Michael Hall

The wheels of justice (or injustice) continue to turn in the shockingly bizarre Mineola swingers club case.

Across The Line

Jan 21, 2013 By Michael Hall

Was the quaint East Texas town of Mineola home to a horrific child sex ring? Were the three people sent to prison last year for running it guilty? Was justice served? Depends on which district attorney you ask.

Church Burners

Jan 21, 2013 By Pamela Colloff

Why did Jason Bourque and Daniel McAllister, two Baptist boys from East Texas, set fire to ten churches across three counties last year?

A Q&A With Pamela Colloff

Jan 21, 2013 By Layne Lynch-- DUPE

The executive editor, who wrote this month's story about the East Texas church fires, on getting subjects to talk, interviewing people behind bars, and defining turning points.


Jan 20, 2013 By Texas Monthly

From Candy Montgomery and Allan Gore beginning their affair in Richardson to Robert Rauschenberg, Janis Joplin, and Jimmy Johnson graduating from high school in Port Arthur


Jan 20, 2013 By Texas Monthly

From Candy Montgomery and Allan Gore beginning their affair in Richardson to Robert Rauschenberg, Janis Joplin, and Jimmy Johnson graduating from high school in Port Arthur

Business as Usual

Jan 20, 2013 By Nate Blakeslee

Who’s the toughest opponent for Republicans who want to crack down on illegal immigration? Other Republicans.

A Q&A With Nate Blakeslee

Jan 20, 2013 By Jasmin Sun

The Democrats will most certainly fight the Republicans over immigration reform legislation this session, but the Republican’s biggest opponents are powerful interests within their own party. Nate Blakeslee talks about grassroot efforts, tea party champions, and why immigration has become one of the most important issues facing our state.


Jan 20, 2013 By Michael Hall

When adults are accused of unthinkable crimes against children, what’s fact and what’s fiction can get lost in translation.

Peggy Railey

Jan 1, 2012 By Texas Monthly

The wife of a prominent Dallas minister, who was left for dead some 24 years ago in her garage, finally dies after spending years in a nursing home in Tyler.

The Bucks Stop Here

Jan 1, 2012 By Lee Hancock

East Texas deer breeder Billy Powell flouted the laws against importing live whitetails, emailing photos of his illegally obtained animals to prospective customers. Then Texas Parks and Wildlife came calling.

TMBBQFest, “23 Pitmasters in 23 Days”: Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q

Oct 23, 2011 By Emily Mitchell

Editor’s Note: The Texas Monthly BBQ Festival is almost here! Each day until then, we’ll be talking to one of the featured pitmasters, with questions from TM staffers, esteemed BBQ experts, Twitter followers and you, the readers of this blog. Today we bring you Nick Pencis of Stanley's Famous Pit Bar-B-Q in Tyler. For more info, visit their page on TMBBQ.com. Photo courtesy Daniel Vaughn. What is your heat source? We use pecan. It’s just kind of a preference thing. Stanley’s actually sits on a pecan grove. I was smelling the pecan smoke, and I thought ‘no one around here smokes with pecan. Everyone’s hickory, hickory, hickory. Or mesquite or oak, and it’s like, I’m gonna be a different guy.' It’s my personal preference, and I just decided I’m gonna be straight pecan guy. Who did you learn your craft from? I came to work here in 2005, and I bought it in 2006. That’s the crazy thing, I had never in my life barbecued before. But I just have always been a huge, huge fan of barbecue. I'm 100 percent self taught. What’s your signature meat? I’m really happy with our sausage. I don’t know if I would call it our signature meat, but I’m happy with the philosophy. I don’t like MSG or weird chemical things. The sausage is just pork and spice in a natural case. Do you make your own sausage? You know, there is a meat market a block from here that’s been here since the 1950’s and I take my recipe and they make our sausage. It’s fresh. I’m not able to actually do it here, but they do it for me there. They bring me sausage every other day or so. The first batch we ever made was for the Texas Monthly BBQ festival last year. And people liked it! So I was like, alright, let’s figure it out.


Apr 30, 2011 By Jordan Breal

Flower lovers drawn to the Rose Capital of the Nation will find snazzy frocks and spicy guisado de puerco amid the petals and thorns.

Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q

May 17, 2010 By Daniel Vaughn

On a trip down to Nacogdoches, the family stopped for ‘cue in Tyler at Stanley’s. I’d visited once before with a friend and found many faults with Stanley’s although it seemed to have potential. After meeting owner Nick Pencis at the Gettin’ Sauced event in Austin, he urged…

Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q

Jul 1, 2009 By Daniel Vaughn

The four meat sampler plate should become a staple of every self-respecting BBQ joint. The idea of piling a plate with multiple proteins, and diggin’ in without the distractions of cole slaw, pinto beans or anything else to slow down the ingestion pleases me. The folks over at Stanley’s seem…

Searching for Truth

Jun 30, 2009 By Michael Hall

Investigators and social workers in the Mineola Swingers Club cases have admitted that there was plenty of evidence that never made it into the first three trials that resulted in three life sentences. Will it make a difference?

Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q

May 21, 2008 By Texas Monthly

The Brother-in-Law, a sandwiched smorgasbord of chopped beef, butterflied hot links, and cheese, has a powerful (and well-deserved) reputation in East Texas, but order the old-fashioned hand-pulled-pork sandwich, filled with juicy shreds of perfectly smoked pork shoulder. Nick Pencis, the owner and pitmaster, follows a fifty-year-old smoking method—meats housed for…

Chasing Justice

Feb 1, 2007 By Mike Shea

As a Texas death row in-mate trying to prove himself innocent of a rape and murder in Tyler, KERRY MAX COOK was reminded of his fate every time another con made the death walk. CHASING JUSTICE is a hellish tour of a criminal justice system whose officers allegedly railroaded Cook…

Fame of Hall

Sep 30, 1998 By Spike Gillespie

You might not recognize actress Irma P. Hall on the street, but you know her from her films. And thatÕs just how she likes it.

CD and Book Reviews

Apr 1, 1998 By Texas Monthly

Hot CDs This month Texas music shines on the silver screen. The soundtrack for The Horse Whisperer (MCA) not only features cuts from Don Walser, George Strait, and Steve Earle but also a Butch Hancock—Joe Ely— Jimmie Dale Gilmore reunion (long removed from Lubbock, they are now called the Hill…