In East Texas, little cuisine is as renowned as barbecue, and in Lufkin, there’s little chance you have never been to an event catered by Stringer’s Lufkin BBQ.
The popular restaurant has been serving the community since 1950, and I remember talk of their rolls from the time I remember eating food.
Despite the notoriety, I wanted to try the place from the eye of a critic. My husband and I chose the Link Sandwich Plate, the Stuffed Tater, the Pork Rib Plate and a serving of the apple and pecan pies.
The Link Sandwich Plate came with two sides. We chose the french fries and green salad. I thoroughly enjoyed the spread. The texture of the links was nice, and the signature barbecue sauce paired well with the taste. It had one strong flavor and stuck with it without trying to be too many things at once. However, I think I would have enjoyed more spice to the experience.
The salad was your average, small garden salad. The crinkle fries did not wow me. I thought they were underwhelming and under seasoned.
I chose to stuff the Stuffed Tater with chipped beef. I was impressed with the gooey potato. It was anything but dry, and the toppings were perfect. I highly suggest lathering that sucker in the barbecue sauce. The chipped beef is very good, although I could have enjoyed a little more tenderness.
The Pork Rib Plate also came with two sides. We chose the beans and potato salad. I thought this plate was fantastic. The ribs were a layered experience with an outer layer of charred rub, a smoke ring and a gooey center. I absolutely loved it. It was slightly spicy, and, once again, it paired very well with the subtle barbecue sauce.
The potato salad was your average potato salad, nothing great, nothing bad. The beans were on the sweet side, and that helps round out the flavor.
Each meal came with three of the iconic fried rolls. The small, greasy fried bits of dough are a staple of the restaurant. You’ve got to be in the mood for them, but they’re a perfect addition to the barbecue experience.
Unfortunately, the apple pie was disappointing. It had a bready half moon shape that left much to be desired. The inside was almost flavorless sugar. It probably would have been at least good if it wasn’t cold.
The pecan pie, on the other hand, was pretty darn good. It was gooey and chewy and not overly sweet. A nice addition to the meal.
Overall, I can confidently say that, while I have had better barbecue, I love Lufkin BBQ, and I can’t imagine this town without it. If you’re just passing through, you owe it to yourself to stop in, enjoy the hometown staff and long-standing history of East Texas barbecue.
Lufkin BBQ is at 203 S. Chestnut St. It is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day but Sunday.