Saturday, September 26, 2009

Casstevens Cash & Carry

LILLIAN: Casstevens Cash & Carry
11025 E. FM 917

Lillian, TX 76061


Open M-Sat 10-8, Sun 10-6

Update 2009: Two trips in two years, and it was pouring down rain both times. I guess the sun shines in Lillian, I just haven't seen it. It's not like you pass through a place like Lillian. With Cedar Hill State Park to the east and nothing to the west, it's not easily accessible, but BBQ from Casstevens can make the trip worth your while.

Friday is rib day, so on a Saturday morning, I was surprised to find ribs available. They were most definitely from the night before, and I got the last remaining half rack. The rack had a rich black crust, and the meat had developed a deep smokiness evident in every chunk of meat that fell from the bone. And fall it did. After such long storage, the texture of this well seasoned meat was a bit mealy, but I knew what I was getting into when I ordered it.

Brisket was a mixture of sliced, pulled and chunked portions of the meat. It had a great smoke ring beneath bits of thick black crust. The meat was tender and very moist from the well rendered fat. A robust smoky flavor from the hickory smoke was a welcome addition to the salty rub. The hot link wasn't particularly notable, but it was a good peppery version with plenty of heat. Overall, the meats all had great flavor, and I'm sure the ribs would have been nearly perfect if they were fresh. It may not be on the way to anywhere, but I'll find a reason to make a pit stop in Lillian for more of this great 'cue.

Rating ****

2007: Talk about a joint with an odd name, and to top it off, the counter here is tucked inside a Diamond Shamrock gas station. Behind that counter is where these friendly folks keep their 'cue. I ordered brisket, ribs and sausage. The sausage was a nice peppery version with good snap and not too much fat. The brisket was forgettable with little crust or smoke flavor, but with decent overall taste. The ribs were the standout here with a deep black crust that added a nice textural layer over the sweet, smoky, red flesh below. The ribs were perfectly cooked with well rendered fat, and I could hardly stop eating them. Recently, the State Highway was rerouted to skirt this joint, but be sure to pull off the highway when you get near Lillian so you can sample what they have to offer.

Casstevens Cash & Carry on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

You gotta wonder if they will stay in business ...

Anonymous said...

It sounds like this joint is worthy of a nice motorcycle ride for some Q in the country.......

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

they are here to stay.Not going anywhere.they have added new products.should check it out.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Casstevens so I was curious about this place. I tried it today and WOW, I thought the BBQ was great! I had the brisket and it was tender, lean and the flavor was wonderful. I will be taking a bike ride back for more!

Anonymous said...

I'm a Casstevens so I was curious about this place. I tried it today and WOW, I thought the BBQ was great! I had the brisket and it was tender, lean and the flavor was wonderful. I will be taking a bike ride back for more!

Sara said...

Trust me, they will stay in business - they have been in business since I was a small child. I was raised up on casstevens bbq and I recommend it and convert people to it every day! Completely amazing and highly addictive - if I could afford to, I would eat there EVERYDAY

Ben in Texas said...

Well, just so you know. Since Casstevens himself retired and sold out there have been changes. Finally the current owners have gotten the recipe back to the old standard.

BUT there have been financial issues and the rumor mill has it that they are hurting for cash ( quit selling gas cause they couldn't afford to pay for it)

So get it while you can before this Texas Institution is gone.

Unknown said...

My great grandfather was Harold Dan Casstevens. I spent the younger years of my life in this store working along side him if he did not have me out working in the field. Once he sold the store it has never been the same. From the BBQ an other food to the overall environment of the place. I hope one day to buy the store back and try to bring it back to what it use to be.


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.