Dickey's Would Be OK for Fast-Food BBQ If It Were 75 Percent Cheaper

dickeys.jpeg
For every gourmet $20 cheeseburger, there must be a McDonalds. For every independent Mexican restaurant that cooks fresh to order, there must be a Taco Bell. For every $40 steak, there must be ... a really cheap steak. You get the idea. So, barbecue food is popular round these parts. By what I am going to call "Gavin's Law," there must be a fast-food version of barbecue, mass-produced for the meat fiend on the go. And so there is.

See also:
- I Tell You What, They Got Some Good Dang Ol' Meat But I Ain't Gonna Tell You Dang Ol' Where

Enter Dickey's. They're everywhere. The first one I went to was shut because of a power outage, so I drove three miles down the road to the next one (on Valwood Parkway in Carrollton) and then passed another one on the way home. In that case, they must be popular. In fact, one guy I met last weekend, who I was talking about barbecue to, said, "I didn't realize they had high-end barbecue places. I only ever go to Dickey's or Spring Creek."

They're all decked out, Texas-style, with all the things you think an authentic barbecue place should look like. They smell of smoke and meat. You can order beef by the pound. It's all wrong, though. It's like a tribute act to a proper barbecue place. The smoke smells wrong, there's a fast-food element underlying the wooden fixtures and fittings, and, most important, the beef is god damn awful.

I got three meats and four sides. It came to $26. We'll get to the price later. Firstly, as we have established, I like meat. This is a given. I was apprehensive before starting, but as it turns out the sausage and ribs aren't that bad really. I mean, I'm being generous, but it was all right. Smoked sausage is kind of difficult to mess up, as long as you cook it properly (read: it doesn't need actual barbecuing if you get the right sausage in). The ribs were a good texture, if a bit dry, but largely flavorless until dipped in the sauce, which is over-sweet but pleasingly smoky. The beef though, Jesus. It was like eating sand. It was drier than eating a packet of cheese crackers, minus the cheese, on a summer's day in Texas. It didn't even taste of anything. There was no reward for the endless chewing, just disappointment, shame and regret. I've eaten more appetizing floor tiles.

Then we get to the price. The brisket is $15 a pound! It's the same cost as going to Lockhart's! Let's refer to Gavin's Law. In all those other examples, the point of the low-end option is that it's one-quarter of the cost. If a beautifully prepared, fresh-ingredient beefburger was the same price as McDonalds, why the hell would you ever go to McDonalds? And so my problem with Dickey's. It's fine as far as a pile of meat goes. If I had to get fast-food takeaway, I'd get this over Panda Express, Burger King and so forth every time. But if I can get brisket which, two months on, I still have dreams about in which I am caressing the brisket and it whispers to me "Gavin, I love you and I only want for you to be happy," why oh why oh why would I get a fast-food version that is the SAME COST?! I don't understand. Barbecue lovers, we need some sort of boycott group. Either Dickey's cuts their prices 75 percent or we make sure Lockhart's runs out of meat by 3 p.m. every day. Which isn't much of a stretch.


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70 comments
eggwards
eggwards

@KennethDenson Dickey's is terrible. There are many better places to go. Even Sonny Bryan's is better.

TheListener
TheListener

little surprised to see that there is not one note, review or comment, that not all Dickey's are created equal... even the ones where the meat is smoked in-house are not particularly good, i'll still take it if it's right around the corner. and have been for 30 years.

 

but i'm sorry if you went the the brand new one in the suburbs where they shipped the meat in a few days ago.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Has anyone mentioned how much Livefyre sucks yet today?

 

Just wondering.

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

Ok, ya'll stop all this and head to Coopers, "home of the BIG chop". 

Colin1
Colin1

I'm always surprised by the love for Lockhart as well. It is good, they definitely didn't embarrass themselves. But I think Mike Anderson's and Sweet Georgia Brown's is as good. I've only been to Lockhart's once, but the time I went the sliced brisket was slightly dry and therefore not really tender, and the beans were more of a greasy meat stew. I still want to try their original location.

 

If I want world class TX BBQ I'd go to Mikeska's or Meuller's in Taylor, or New Zion's in Huntsville. I'm sure there are others as good and closer. I still miss the BBQ joint that used to be in Brenham on Business 290 next to the new 290 bypass and the Ford dealership. Can't remember the name anymore.

jamestipping
jamestipping

If I want great BBQ i only have to go no further than my own back yard!

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

If I want good bbq at a reasonable price, I just go to Kansas City.  That way Im never disappointed in what I pay or get

TexasRangerMan
TexasRangerMan

Fact: Dickey's is among the most affordable BBQ joints in town, been for years;  Lockhart, despite their legendary roots and Central Texas pedigree, is not. Just check your pocketbook as you're leaving the Bishop Arts District ...

Anybody who pays $23 for a BBQ plate must have his head or gluttony examined. 3 meats and 4 vegetables --- what?!? Did this guy just stumble out of the Big Thicket on a walkaboout? Leave some for the rest of us, British Guy.

All the vegetables you can pile on your plate, free ice cream and non-fatty, reasonably-priced BBQ - I'll take Dickey's anytime. 

J_A_
J_A_

They really are everywhere. But you get that yellow cup. I think a coworker of mine has about 25 of those.

jimithing
jimithing

Dickey's is terrible, no doubt.  Problem is that Lockhart Smokehouse isn't the greatest thing ever as this guy would have you believe.  On a scale of 1-10 Dickey's might be a 2.  Lockhart Smokehouse is probably a 6.

 

The whole theory behind this article is crap.  BBQ should NOT be high end and trendy.  It should be a labor of love eaten by the common man.  Not a bunch of hipsters in an arts district.  You should be looking to the central Texas BBQ joints as role models.  Franklin's BBQ in Austin that started out in a trailer on the side of 35.  Now they've moved into a new building but they're not stupidly pretentious like Lockhart Smokehouse.  See also Louie Mueller's, Kruetz Market, Smitty's, etc.  Sorry to say it but Dallas is a disgrace when it comes to decent BBQ.  I live here and it pains me to say it but nothing we have can hold a candle to those places.  And yes, I've been to them all.  Given most of them multiple opportunities.  The only place I'll go on a regular basis is Meshack BBQ in Garland.  But it's not in a trendy part of town with hipsters everywhere so they'll never get the dues they deserve in the Dallas media.

porkrod69
porkrod69

I've lived in Dallas since 1979--and have never eaten there....really can't imagine.

G_David
G_David

Just because they F it up royally, doesn't mean they pay any less for the ingredients.  And you already answered your own question of why they're so popular: they're freakin' everywhere.  Not everybody is getting paid a fortune (you're getting paid a fortune, right?) to drive all over town for the good stuff.  Luckily, I live close enough that I don't have to drive that far.

tejasjeff
tejasjeff

 @Colin1 You can scratch New Zion off your list.It is a sad shade of its former years when I was a College kid there.

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

 @Colin1 

 

Mike Anderson's is a good choice. Or go around the corner and MAKE Big Dave at Sonny Bryan s pull you off a fresh piece.....but, it has to be fresh!

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

 @jamestipping 

 

Right!  You do it and it's reasonably priced, and it tastes good....been saying this for years. Somethings you just make yourself (burgers, pizza, BBQ), that way it doesn't get screwed up. Heck, I don't call a plumber every time the toilet gives me problems. You people were born and raised here, please don't tell me you don't know how to BBQ?  Criminy, even this Yank can BBQ. It amazes me good BBQ is not on EVERY corner here.

 

BTW, I recommend Big Daddy's, hard by Lake Lavon (HW205).  

GavinCleaver
GavinCleaver

 @TexasRangerMan okay, I'll bite. 1 - I am obviously buying this food to go between more than one person. I am not a machine. Food was 1 x 1 meat plate and 1 x 2 meat plate.

2 - Brisket is $15 a lb at Dickey's. Brisket is $15 a lb at Lockhart's. Check the menus. Am I missing something here? Is there some sort of Bishop Arts meat tax I don't know about?

3 - Pile of vegetables... what is this I don't even...

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

 @TexasRangerMan 

 

I call bit here, no one is this much of a dipsh+t!  A couple of things that stick out as rather odd in this comment:

 

 

1) "All the vegetables you can pile on your plate, free ice cream and non-fatty, reasonably-priced BBQ"......REALLY? Who cares about "piling" on veggies when eating BBQ? Free ice cream......are you 5?  "Reasonably priced BBQ"?  WTF?!  

 

2) "Non-fatty"......?......?......!?.....REALLY? 

 

 

I surmise:

-this is an employee

-or a high school kid doing a bit

 

NoSnob
NoSnob

 @jimithing If Dickeys was in Bishop Arts and had annoying hipsters eating there things would be different.

LockhartSmokehouse
LockhartSmokehouse

 @jimithing For the love of pete, if you are going to complain about us at least spell Kreuz Market correctly.  My "pretentious" grandfather paid good money for the place.  

todd
todd

 @jimithing We have very little good BBQ in Dallas and you're gonna bitch about the location and clientele of one of the better places in town. I love Meshack but sometimes it's nice to enjoy my Que at a table (like at Mueller's or Kruetz or Smitty's) as opposed to eating off the trunk of my car.       

bigjondaniel
bigjondaniel

 @jimithing Oh for fuck's sake. You see a few tatoos, and then the place is a "Hipster hangout"?  You know what's worse than a 'Hipster hangout", the pretend nobility of Dallas shitholes that have had no reason to improve for decades. You know why there was no good smoked meat in Dallas? 

 

Because there was no one here demanding it.

 

So everything that doesn't have the Sysco truck backed up to it, and a bunch of chain store loving know -othings swilling the crap down is "pretentious"?

ChrisYu
ChrisYu

 @jimithing

 you should familiarize with Gavin's past articles before you label this one crap.

kyndbrah
kyndbrah

 @jimithing meshacks is great but remember to order the sauce on the side or it will come swimming in sauce. 

PL is great and imo is dallas' best brisket.  guy fieri ruined it for those of us in the know bc the line is outrageous now.

GavinCleaver
GavinCleaver

 @G_David Surely they can bring economies of scale to bear, though, in the same way every other chain does. If you've got 170+ locations in 43 states and you're buying meat for the same price as a three-location owner-operated job, then I think your purchaser is doing something quite wrong.

eggwards
eggwards

@KennethDenson Faint praise there.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

 @kergo1spaceship  @jamestipping You've been pushing them pretty hard lately. BD's is definitely good Q', (right in my own 'hood) but I'm starting to wonder if they are your in-laws or something.

jimithing
jimithing

 @todd I'm tired of everyone anointing LS as the greatest thing ever when it's just not.  And, yes, I'm basing part of that judgement on location along with price and quality of product.

jimithing
jimithing

 @bigjondaniel Are you sure we're talking about the same Bishop Arts District?  Sure, you get a little crowd from downtown coming over for lunch but the majority of people there are there for the scene. 

 

When did I say I wanted Sysco and chain stores?  I said LS isn't authentic enough.  To expand on that, it's an establishment built on the name of a town where BBQ is actually good.  The owners couldn't be bothered to open a store under their own name and build their own reputation.  They had to borrow someone else's.

jimithing
jimithing

 @ChrisYu I will be sure to go read some of his other articles but notice I said "the theory behind this article" not "this article" and not "all of his articles"

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

 @kergo1spaceship  @jamestipping Meats & Sweets is just up the road apiece just past 2755, and they have a chicken fried steak that's about as big as a garbage can lid and tasty as all get out.

 

I've heard that the brisket is good also but have yet to try it. Judging by the girth of the cook, though, I'm guessing that he eats and reeeeeally enjoys his own cooking.

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

 @KergNeedsNewSchtick 

 

No, dipsh+ts don't care; first thing I do when I'm off is head to the woods, and start the campfire. The thing is, Metrosexuals don't care, you know, MS's, the same people that require a roadmap to there butt!

KergNeedsNewSchtick
KergNeedsNewSchtick

 @LockhartSmokehouse  @jimithing 

 

Oh, now we have the establishment commenting on the thread. Your BBQ isn't all that. Pretentious? Very much so. Anyone who pays more than $20 for a plate of $1.39/lb (with reward card) brisket needs their head examined.

LockhartSmokehouse
LockhartSmokehouse

 @jimithing No he was not pretentious.  He was, however, a business man.  And he would have told me go where the people are.  

horsefeather
horsefeather

 @jimithing  @bigjondaniel WTF?  They didn't borrow some one else's name, do some F'ing research.  If it wasn't for the Lockhart Smokehouse

owner's grandfather, Lockhart wouldn't be the BBQ capital of Texas today.GEEZ!! 

jimithing
jimithing

 @GavinCleaver    @ChrisYu  And I think they're both overpriced.  I guess you could say Dickey's is more overpriced but LS is still overpriced IMO.

jimithing
jimithing

 @ChrisYu Let me clarify because my intention is not to speak poorly of the author.  What I'm trying to say is that the article suggests that Dickey's is overpriced but LS is fairly priced for what you get.  I disagree - I think LS is overpriced for what you get.

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