We started our recent East Texas BBQ Tour at Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q in Tyler. It's been around since the 1950s, when W.G. Watson owned the joint. J.D. Stanley, a former oil field worker, bought and renamed it in 1960. Nick & Jen Pencis now own Stanley's, with deep respect to a 50-plus years of the history within.
I grew up in Tyler and some of my earliest dining memories are from Stanley's. Much to my surprise, the place is almost exactly how I remember it 40 years ago, when Mr. Stanley was taking orders at the counter. I always had my dad order a chopped beef sandwich with a Big Red back then.
These days, Stanley’s four meat sampler seems like the perfect offering for a BBQ tour. Just meat, a couple of white bread slices and no sides.
On tour, I always go for brisket and ribs unless I get a good tip on another meat. My sister Melissa Brigman, who lives in Tyler and eats at Stanley’s once a week, calls their smoked turkey the “best she’d ever had.” Like me, she was raised on Greenberg smoked turkeys, so I had to take her word for it. She was bang on, the turkey was tender and seasoned perfectly. Finishing second for me was the pulled pork, with brisket and links tied for third. Great meat all around and kudos to pitmaster Nick Pencis!
Click here to see our East Texas BBQ Tour story online.
Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q, 525 S. Beckham Ave., Tyler, Texas. Open Monday - Friday 7 am-2 pm, Saturday 11 am-til the meat runs out.
(Photo of W.G. Watson courtesy of Nick Pencis)