Every four years, when Texas Monthly releases their list of the 50 best barbecue places in Texas it’s a big deal. Like, a really big deal. Like, they have a BBQ Editor on staff. That’s how big a deal barbecue is in Texas.

Barbecue is more than food and only slightly less than religion, so naturally we combed the list for our favorite local spots and were thrilled to see Lockhart Smokehouse, Pecan Lodge and, of course, Hutchins BBQ.

Tim Hutchins, Pitmaster and self-proclaimed country boy, has been smoking meat at Hutchins BBQ and Catfish for, according to him, “pretty much my whole life.” His dad started selling smoked meat and catfish in ‘78 from a roadside stand, but since 1991, people have enjoyed it at the McKinney location or more recently, in Frisco where all of their catering around Collin County is handled. There, Hutchins churns out brisket, Texas Twinkies and fried catfish to regulars and barbecue connoisseurs alike.

Their success is such that Hutchins’ McKinney location is doubling in size.

“Texas loves barbecue,” Tim explains. “They get very passionate about their places. It’s awesome, we have people come from Austin just to eat here. It’s an honor.” Over the years he’s seen barbecue culture explode. Barbecue methods originally were for the purpose of elevating a cheap cut of meat. Brisket was not a prized cut, but these days there is prime brisket–which is in extremely high demand. Inventive chefs have turned traditional barbecue into an art that defines our state.

Every single recipe at Hutchins is courtesy of Tim’s father, from the homemade sausage and the brisket that is smoked for 18 hours, to the original barbecue sauce. Barbecue has take Tim Hutchins far. He has been invited to cook one night at New York’s James Beard House,  James Beard’s former home where visiting chefs are showcased. He has also done the Aspen Food and Wine Festival and loved it.

“There’s kind of like a barbecue fraternity in Texas. It’s competitive in a way but you get to know some great people,” Tim explains. Every year Hutchins and the other pitmasters take part in a big tour of Texas to give people an idea of the traditions and diversity of Texas barbecue. “It’s a family … but family you want to beat,” he says, laughing. “It’s fun. It’s my passion. I mean, you spend time with it. And I’ve cried over brisket that doesn’t turn out. You put so much into it.”

Hutchins BBQ and Catfish is an experience. Though they’re famous for barbecue, their core customers, their loyal regulars, come for Hutchins for fried catfish, which Tim isn’t planning to take it off the menu any time soon.

What you need to know before you go:

  • The Frisco location handles catering
  • Get your fill of brisket but don’t forget to try to catfish
  • Order a Texas Twinkie on a weekend, then sit back and wait to be amazed

Hutchins BBQ and Catfish

McKinney | 1301 N. Tennessee St., McKinney | 972.548.2629

Frisco | 9225 Preston Rd., Frisco | 972.377.2046