The sign out front read PO Sam’s. His friends called him Po’ Sam, like the New Orleans sandwich called the po’ boy. Other folks called him just PO. As long as they went away happy after eating some barbecue with his legendary “spicy brown gravy” sauce, PO Sam was happy. And by that criterion, he was a happy man indeed.
Learned men may differ on the reasons, but one school of opinion holds that the best barbecue comes from joints.
The principal ingredient in Gibson’s barbecue is his passion. “I love to cook, man. The coolest thing is making a sandwich, and watching someone take it back to their car and take a big bite, and then watching their face light up. It’s a cool feeling, man.”
White puffs of hickory smoke have floated skyward from Williams’ stand ever since he set it up. “My smokers haven’t gone cool in three years,” he said. That is a testament to the around-the-clock, long slow smoking it takes to produce enough barbecue to keep his devoted customers happy, full and coming back for more.
Get in line. For more than two decades, first at Lew’s and now at Randy’s Bar-B-Que, the brisket and legendary stuffed peppers have had people lined up at the little stand at the intersecting corner of Spur 503 and Texoma Parkway in Denison.
At the Old Mining Camp, the brisket is smoked under a cloud of secrecy as carefully protected as the map to the mother lode. Owners Darrell and Rebecca Harris do not share their method of smoking or the kind of wood they use with anybody. This, they say, is the key to their success. Judging by the number of cars that pack the little stand’s parking lot most weekdays, they’re doing something right.
That is holy smoke you see rolling over the barbecue stand in Knollwood. Dale Bryant thanks the Lord for leading him to the smoked meat business, and business is booming at Smokey D’s Bar-B-Q in the little suburban community north of Sherman.
When Texas Monthly came calling and tried the brisket and ribs served by Wayne Ooten and his son and partner, Kevin at the OO Smokehouse (that’s OO as in Oh! Oh!), the magazine was duly impressed, and Texoma had its first entry on the Texas Monthly list of Top 50 barbecue spots in the Lone Star State. It was high praise indeed.
In the lands discovered by Lemuel Gulliver, the Lilliputians and the Blefuscudians went to war over which end of a soft-boiled egg to crack at breakfast time. Americans haven’t reached that level of passion over food quite yet, but standoffs over barbecue or barbeque or bar-b-q—even the spelling is in question—can produce disputes that fall just short of blows.
Not so long ago, if you had just finished off a bag of Barbara’s Burgers in Bells on a warm summer day, you might have topped things off with a snow cone from Melissa Perkins’ stand across the road. Her snow-cone stand, called Perk’s, became a landmark of its own in the small town.