Texans don’t just eat BBQ. Instead, they literally experience it.
You may see a plate piled high with beef brisket, bathed in a rich, homemade sauce. Maybe there’s a heaping spoonful of sweet/savory baked beans, flanked by a crunch-fest of fried okra.
That’s what you see, and it’s more than enough to activate your salivary glands.
What you don’t see is the generous dash of Texas tradition and culture, spreading across the plate and mixing with layers of Texas history.
Barbecue (one of several spellings) occupies its own world, with its own vocabulary and its own cast of characters. Pit bosses lead the crew, presiding over the pit tables where the briskets are trimmed, and spending long hours tending the meat over the pits. Perfection, in everything, is the goal and it’s that quest for perfection that’s guided the Hutchins barbecue dynasty since 1978. Oh, and by the way, it’s permissible to refer to a barbeque establishment as a “joint” regardless of how classy it may be.
The Hutchins legend, which began in Princeton, Texas, under the hyper-critical eye of patriarch Roy Hutchins, has three locations – McKinney, Frisco, and the most recent in Trophy Club. Roy is the royalty owner for McKinney and Frisco, while Roy, son Wes, and grandson Zack take credit for the new Trophy Club.
“We have 11,000 square feet in the new building,” Zack said, “and every inch is designed to give our diners an authentic Texas barbecue experience. From the minute they walk through the door, they’re aware of the pit and the smell of the sausage, beef, and pork cooking. We want them to be completely swallowed up in that experience. We’ve poured 100 percent effort into making it feel like Texas.”
The Trophy Club location, which unlocked its doors for a soft opening in June, accommodates seating for 450.
“We have a deli with sausage, pastrami, and other meats,” Wes explained. “We have a five-star chef, and in addition to the more traditional selections, we have cuts such as ribeye that we cook on an open flame grill.”
BBQ aficionados who are beyond a certain age can remember when ordering barbeque could be unpredictable. It wasn’t all that unusual, 15 or so years ago, to be handed a paper-wrapped order that resembled shards of stringy, chew-resistant jerky.
“That’s changed,” Zack explained. “Pretty much everybody in the barbecue world has upgraded in terms of quality. Hutchins puts a huge emphasis on quality and freshness. Our beef program starts on a ranch in Greely, Colorado, where we get the highest quality meat available. There are no steroids, hormones, or any other injections. We’ve had this program since 2016, and most importantly, all the preparation and cooking are done on-premises.
“Our meat is never frozen. It arrives on trucks six days per week, is cooked, and is served. Our vegetables also come six days per week and are cooked in small batches.
“The Trophy Club store uses around 250 gallons of sauce every week, and once again, it’s cooked here. We have five selections – tangy, spicey, basic, mustard, and mild.”
There’s a deep-seated pride at Hutchins, and it’s supported by a contagious enthusiasm.
“There’s nobody out there with higher quality than Hutchins,” said Wes. “We have our personal code of honor and quality, and we intend to go even higher. We know good, authentic barbecue is crafted and not just cooked, and our crafting skills are getting better every day.”
The smokers, fired by pecan wood, are on active-duty day and night. They are tended to, and fine-tuned, with the precision of a conductor guiding his orchestra.
“Our original intention was to call the Trophy Club simply Hutchins BBQ,” Wes admitted. “But we realized leaving off Roy’s name would be cutting off an important historical link. So, we fixed it.”
Some people know Tim and Trey Hutchins of the Frisco and McKinney locations leveled a trademark lawsuit against the Trophy Club. It was a painful rift in the otherwise close-knit family. The lawsuit was dropped, and the family unit is back to normal. The strongest deciding factor was Dolores, the boys’ mother, and Roy’s 55-year bride.
According to Wes, Dolores put her foot down and declared enough is enough. It was vivid proof that if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!
Roy Hutchins Barbecue