Tag Archives: mckinney

Hutchins BBQ Media Dinner featuring Grapevine Brewery

BBQ and BYOB; Two acronyms Dallasites get pretty dang excited about.

With a plethora of BBQ heavy hitters in Dallas proper, I’m here to implore you not to forget about a seriously solid purveyor of pig that has been serving Collin County (and wise visitors from beyond) since 1978: Hutchins BBQ. The senior location is located in historic downtown McKinney, and the Hutchins family opened up a secondary Preston Road location in Frisco just last year. And here’s the marvelous thing about the McKinney location: it is, in fact, BYOB.  Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

I was lucky enough to attend a media dinner at the McKinney location earlier this month. (Thanks, Susie … I’m not trying to squeeze into a wedding dress or anything). Tim Hutchins (GM and son of original owner Roy Hutchins) and co-owner Dustin Blackwell were our gracious hosts for the evening, and their passion for the fine art of smoking copious amounts of meat was evident with every (frequently excessive) bite.

Their BBQ process really is a labor of love. As we stuffed our happy faces, Tim described the 15-17 hour smoking process executed on a daily basis in order to produce the perfectly moist, tender slab of Heaven that is Hutchins’ brisket. The flawlessly executed smoke ring speaks for itself and seemingly doesn’t warrant an explanation, but Tim explained the importance of the wood selection in the smoking process; the Hutchins family uses a one-two punch of oak, followed by pecan. Hutchins uses predominantly Prime grade beef (subject to availability) that is free from hormones or antibiotics.

Chef Tim and his smoker
Chef Tim and his smoker

Let’s talk sausage. Hutchins makes theirs in small batches, using a 50/50 ratio of pork and brisket. Their jalapeño cheese sausage is made with jalapeños procured from a local market. (And for the record, the portion I sampled on this particular evening packed a serious punch of heat.) The ribs, which fell off the bone, were perfectly charred, with a lightly sweet brown sugar glaze. I was surprised that one of the most enjoyable things I sampled all night ended up being the fried catfish. I usually don’t even like catfish, but I felt it was my duty to take at least one bite, for science. Dang, ya’ll! Perfectly crisp, not remotely greasy, with a beautiful cornmeal breading- and most importantly, no trace of that all too familiar “earthy” taste to be found. So, I guess I like catfish now?

If you’re like me, you might suffer from ordering induced anxiety when you first visit an establishment such as Hutchins. (Ya know, one where everything looks, smells, and sounds amazing, and you’re terrified you’re going to miss out on a special snowflake and then see a Foursquare tip after your order that has an off-menu gem that gives you serious FOMO?) Hutchins solves that delicious problem for you, by offering an All-You-Can-Eat (AYCE- hey look, another acronym!) option for just $18.99. As if you might actually have extra space in your abdominal region after you get done sampling allllll tha meatz, that price includes sides (pinto beans, potato salad, green beans, corn, coleslaw, mac n’ cheese, and potato casserole), AND dessert (peach cobbler, banana pudding, soft serve and toppings)! Here’s hoping your post-meal itinerary includes one stop: bed. But, don’t worry: if you aren’t feeling brave (or if you need someone to set limits for you because you are well aware that you are incapable of exercising self-control … not that I can relate to that scenario or anything …) you can certainly order off of the traditional menu (meat plates, et al.).

Meat Fiesta
Meat Fiesta

Since this event was BYOB, Grapevine Brewery was kind enough to B some B for us. I was excited to try two Grapevine craft beer varieties that were new to me: Sir Williams English Brown Ale and NightWatch Oatmeal Stout. The Sir Williams English Brown Ale (4.9% ABV), as it so happens, was the recipient of the Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal in the English Brown Ale category. One sip, and I understood why. Sir Williams, you are a gentleman and a scholar, with your lovely, roasty malt and your smooth finish. The Nightwatch Oatmeal Stout (6.3%) is on the lighter end of the stout spectrum, with a subtly malty chocolate note that feels like it is giving you permission to drink it year round. I’m a fan.

Hutchins BBQ – McKinney
1301 North Tennessee Street, McKinney, TX 75069
(972) 548-2629

Sun-Thurs: 11am to 9pm
Fri-Sat: 11am to 9:30pm

Hutchins BBQ –  Frisco
9225 Preston Road, Frisco TX
Store: 972-377-2046 | Catering: 972-540-1920
Email: catering @ hutchinsbbq.com

Wed-Sun: 11am to 3pm (or til sold out)

The Standard Pour raised the standard … again.  Oh Hey Dallas and I were lucky enough to be invited into TSP to indulge in some of the craft cocktail den’s new menu items and cocktails.  Long story very short … we’ll be back.

I arrived a little late (sorry, OHD!) and plopped down after an insane day at work in dire need of strong drink.  We had a table by the windows to the patio (which is delightful with the huge awning and fire wall), which gave me a nice view of the generously-stocked bar, complete with infused liquors, flavored bitters, and any (high-end) alcohol that you could want.  

Our chatty waitress went over the options for the night, then beckoned the barkeep who got the run-down of our likes and dislikes.  As some of you may know from past reviews, I do NOT enjoy the tequila.  Upon hearing my dislike for the spirit, the barkeep’s eye twinkled a bit, he turned on his heels, and scurried back to the bar (which made me nervous).  I should mention that, on this very special night, Eddie “Lucky” Campbell was guest bartending (a lucky night to venture in).

Our first drink was an “amuse” drink (I suppose an amuse bouche cocktail-style … but as I mentioned, I was late so I missed the run-down on this one).  The small sipper was a delicate mix of cranberry cider and mulled wine—not too overpowering and very festive. I will say that I love the idea of legitimate before—dinner drinks and I may now consider aperitifs more often.

My first proper cocktail was right up my alley, The Derby (Maker’s Mark, Cointreau, sweet vermouth, lime juice).  I LOVED this cocktail and had to be careful not to drink too much for fear of passing out on the walk home from all the deliciousness (read many many drinks).  Not drinking too much of this beauty was a struggle as it was stinkin’ delicious.

My second drink was a tequila drink which I got because, and I quote, “the bartender likes a challenge.”  Dubbed the Jalisco Cocktail, I actual drank a good portion of this one.  I was amazed (seriously) … it was delicious (Siembra Azul Reposado, Curacao, almond raisin syrup, lemon, and angostura).  The cocktail had just enough tequila to give it an exotic feel, but it was very mild.

After my eye-opening tequila experience, OHD was served the Bitter Gin Mule (Lucky’s random creation of the evening), which was incredibly smooth for a bourbon drink.  (Non-southern) ladies averse to whiskey could drink this and enjoy it.  I may or may not have stolen this drink to finish myself.

Another delight was the Garden and Gun (Sapphire Gin, pepper puree, celery shrub, chili syrup), a unique version of the bloody Mary with a kick.  The celery shrubº gave a lightness to the drink where it could have been heavy with the puree and chili syrup.  Speaking of the syrup, the pepper puree was deliciously spicy.

My last (but certainly not least) drink was the Sazerac Swiss something-or-other which was a cocktail that isoff-menu, but the simple Sazerac contains Sazerac Rye, simple syrup, perchauds, Absinthe, and lemon peel.  The Sazerac is a classic prohibition-style cocktail with balanced yet bold flavors that will knock you on your hiney*.  The bitters and rosemary in this drink really were a great combination that made it very easy to drink, and noticeably pooooo-tent.

I’d had drinks at TSP before my recent visit, but never food.  I quickly learned what I was missing out on by not having eaten here yet.  We had risotto croquettes (omg), one of the five best cheese plates I’ve ever had the joy of feasting on, the Airline Chicken Breast, Ahi Tuna Sausage, chicken strips (heck* to the yes), and another kind of ahi tuna.  Our waitress wouldn’t let us leave the table without trying the eggnog bread pudding … and I’m so glad she did!  Any dessert that involves booze is my jam, and this one had a delightful amount of egg nog soaked in the bread.  

To get more detail about the food, check out OHD’s post about our visit.

BOTTOM LINE: I feel like an idiot for living in walking distance of TSP and not eating there more often.  I’ll be in for their chicken fingers on a regular basis … along with one (or four) of their amazing cocktails.

The Standard Pour
2900 McKinney Avenue (Uptown) | 214-935-1370
www.tspdallas.com | Facebook | @TheStandardPour

* My new year’s resolution is to curse less.  This’ll be interesting.
º “…a shrub is an acidulated beverage made of fruit juice, sugar, and other ingredients. Where things get complicated is that the acid varies by recipe; it can be either fruit juice or vinegar. Additionally, some shrub recipes are prepared using alcohol that steeps with the fruit, acid, and sugar …  In any case, the sugar, acid, and optional alcohol preserve the fruit juice, and in fact that was one original purpose of the shrub. Prior to the invention of refrigeration, a shrub syrup was a means of preserving fruit long past its picking. Shrubs were popular in Colonial America, mixed with cool water to provide a pick-me-up on hot summer days.” – seriouseats.com

St. John’s Wood (Closed)

The newest bar on McKinney has a lot to offer – low prices, good food, and fantastic service.  I ventured in thanks to my hard-working friends over at UrbanDaddy and I’m very glad I did, and I have plans to head back in within a week.  Saint John’s Wood is a great place to dodge the usual McKinney crowd and have a chill drink – though you do have to share a valet line with the Aura-goers (not that there’s anything wrong with them at all … just a different mind-set).  The atmosphere is laid back and there is PLENTY of seating – both upstairs, downstairs, and on the I’m-stoked-for-the-weather-to-warm-up-so-I-can-sit-on-it patio.

Our waitress, Luisa, was attentive and very thorough.  I used a different straw in my first drink and, upon bringing my second, she brought the same straw – I like that attention to detail.  The whole staff was just as amenable; they chatted to the customers, changed the channel so everyone could watch their team, and were just darn friendly.

Now back to the prices – if you take a good look at the receipt to the right, you’ll see that we had a soda, 5 drinks, and a snack for just over $20.  Granted, this is happy hour, but it’s pretty impressive.  They also gave us a last call for happy hour drinks – a couple bucks won’t make much of a dent, but I still like that.  The title is actually a quote from the owner when talking about his drink prices; he wants to have the lowest prices on McKinney.

As for the food, we had sweet potato fries and they were de-lic.  I can’t wait to come back to try the burger, which they say is the best in Dallas (we’ll see about that).  If it tastes as good as it smells, I may have to agree with them.

****side note: since SJW just opened, their prices were still being adjusted

Drink strength: 3.5
Overall: 4.2

St. John’s Wood
2908 McKinney Ave | Dallas, TX 75204

Daily | 3-8 p.m. | $3.75 wells, $4.50 calls, $4.75 wine by the glass, $3 domestic drafts, $4 import drafts, $3.50 domestic bottles, $4.75 import bottles

primo’s tex mex

For a good two years, every Sunday evening you could find me at the same place.  It was a tradition that my friend Sam and I would grab a table on the porch of Primo’s and sip meltdowns while observing Dallasites in their natural habitat.  You could see families, couples on their first date, and sixty-somethings trying to hit on the sweet young things at the next table.

The varied clientele is there because of the fantastic location, the awesome drinks, and the great food.  You can order a yummy salad, tacos, or the very surprising hamburger (try it! really!) along with a meltdown to wash it all down.  I guarantee, two meltdowns and you’ll see why everyone loves this place (get the magic trick that is the queso flameado and you’ll never leave!).

Tuesday is the best night to try Primo’s due to the $2 margaritas – make sure you get there somewhat early to get a good table.  As for the weekends, it’s a great place to start your night, and for that matter, to end it (Primo’s has saved me many-a-weekend-night if I missed dinner by keeping their kitchen open late).

Enjoy the scenery and the meltdowns … after all, it’s a Dallas tradition!

Drink strength: 3.5
Overall: 4.2

Primo’s Tex Mex Grill
www.primosdallas.com | @primostexmex
3309 McKinney Ave | Dallas
(214) 220-0510

Monday-Friday | 3-7 p.m. | $1 off mixed drinks and beers, $3 margaritas
Tuesday | all day | $2 margaritas
Saturday & Sunday | $8.99 bottomless mimosas

Check out Primo’s new catering offers … perfect for holiday parties!  Primo’s Catering Menu