Sunday, May 8, 2011

Stubby's Hik'ry Pit Bar-B-Q

ARKANSAS: Stubby's Hik'ry Pit Bar-B-Q
3024 Central Ave

Hot Springs, AR 71913


Open Daily 11-8

On the way to Memphis, we made a stop in Hot Springs. This stop was planned for the sole purpose of eating at McClard's. While McClar'ds was decent, any return trips to Hot Springs will be made to eat at Stubby's. If not for Roadfood, I would have never heard of this joint. Luckily it was just blocks away from our hotel.

The menu includes all of the Texas BBQ standards including brisket. Going into this trip I had vowed a pork only diet, and watching them trim the brown crusted brisket of all fat validated my vow. Instead I was focused on the pot 'o beans. Thick, smoky, sweet beans were topped by ham trimmings and a ladle of the sauce. Oh that sauce - but more on that later. The ham is displayed on a board, cut side up with the bone pointing down. The cutter slices off a portion for each order as the ham's height dwindles. With each slice some of the crusty bits of the ham fall to the board where they are scooped up and placed atop the beans. This results in a concentrated flavor of salty smoky meat that is crispy and delicious. It may be too salty without the counterpoint of the generous portion of sauce. The tomato based sauce has a concentrated robust flavor from hours of slow simmering which reduces the sauce's volume by more than half. It's certainly sweet, but not overpoweringly so, and it's one of the best sauces I've ever tasted. I can't think of much that this sauce wouldn't help.

Roadfood raved about the chicken with crispy skin. The portion I got had some chewy and limp stuff attached, but the meat beneath was good and moist. While a bit more smoke would have been nice, a quick dunk in the sauce was all I needed to keep eating. Ribs had much more smoke and good dark crust. Moist and tender meat came easily from the bone, and was made even better slathered with that great sauce. I even bought a bottle to take home. After my meal I wanted to talk more with owner Chris Dunkel about this joint, but he had made a hardware store run to replace the women's bathroom door. Truly a man of many talents.

Rating ****
Stubby's BBQ on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

This is some VERY good BBQ and I would agree with the rating.Wife said her chopped beef sandwhich is one of the best she's had. Seating area looks new but behind the counter is what you'd expect from a place that has been up and running for years. The pot of beans were unique. Glad I read this before my trip to Hot Springs.

BuffNbigD said...

Visiting Hot Springs from Dallas, my standards for BBQ are pretty high from my travels around Texas. Had the ribs, which I'd give a 7 out of 10. Ribs were very tender and juicy, but lacked that "fall of the bone" quality i expect. Also, i thought the ribs lacked the intense smoke flavor i would have also expected. Overall, they were good, but definately not the best i'Ve ever had.


Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.