The bright yellow endcap of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit gift cards at the Everett Costco commanded my attention from 100 yards away.
Emblazoned against the yellow in black letters was the name Dickey’s, with a Texas red star for the apostrophe, and the words Hot Pit Smoked.
Hot diggity dog, I was excited. Even though I’d never heard of Dickey’s.
I paid Costco $39.99 for two $25 gift cards of knee-slappin’, rib-ticklin’, foot-stompin’ barbecue.
My GPS showed a Dickey’s about three miles away on 128th St. SW, a hop, skip and a jump from I-5. Off I went to the golden BBQ haven. I kept an eye out for a glossy roadhouse, rumbling with loud, honky-tonk music to lasso me in. But, if not for my GPS, I wouldn’t have noticed the eatery tucked at the end of a nondescript strip mall. Heck, the Costco display was flashier than the storefront.
The aroma of hickory smoke lured me in from the parking lot into the small diner lined with blue-checkered cloth tables.
Arrows led to the counter to order, Subway style. I hadn’t expected slow-cooked food in a fast-food setting, but I was glad because I wanted a quick carry-out. I’d dallied too long at Costco and I had a hungry family to feed at home.
A menu board bared all.
Meat choices include pulled pork, beef brisket, barbecue honey ham, spicy cheddar sausage, turkey breast and Italian marinated chicken. Sides include fried okra, jalapeno baked beans, onion rings, potato salad, mac &cheese, bacon green beans and baked potato casserole.
It all looked good.
I chose the $49.95 XL Family Deal that feeds 6 to 8 and comes with three meats, four sides and eight rolls.
The friendly owner came out from behind the counter to welcome me to Dickey’s, which has been in Everett since October. Costco only started selling the gift cards a few weeks ago.
He gave me a crash course on Dickey’s heritage in Texas. Dickey’s is to Texas what Dick’s Drive-In is to Washington.
He suggested I try the brisket to go with my picks of chicken and pulled pork.
The meats are served buck naked. You lather on your own sauce. Choose from the tangy sweet, sizzling spicy or trusty original.
The sauce bubbles in kettles between the beverage station and the free soft-serve ice cream. Drinks, such as Miss Ollie Dickey’s Famous Iced Tea, are served in a signature Big Gulp-like yellow plastic cup.
The ice machine spits out tiny pellet cubes — my favorite ice. To me, ice is one of the most important parts of a meal (maybe that’s why I don’t often do dining reviews).
The brisket, which I’ve never been keen on before, was the best part. The beef was tender and juicy, with edges perfectly crisp. The chicken was thick, flavorful moist chunks. The pulled pork was a distant third for me, but ranked first for my son.
As for the “fix’ns,” the coleslaw had a nice crunch. The skinny onion rings were super tasty. The fried okra was so-so.
My son described the potatoes as scrumptious and gave the nod to the creamy mac &cheese.
The biscuits made good sandwiches the next day with the leftover meat, which heats up well in the oven or microwave.
The first Dickey’s opened in 1941 and franchising began in 1994. Now there are some 400 sites nationwide serving this staple of North Texas culture.
It’s a staple for me. I’ll be back for more brisket.
Andrea Brown; 425-339-3443; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit
617 128th St., Everett; 425-265-0041; www.dickeys.com
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
Vegetarian options: You’re kidding, right? Salads and some sides.