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Stubby's Hik-Ry Pit Bar-B-Que

3024 Central Ave, Hot Springs, AR - (501) 624-1552
Posted By Michael Stern on 5/24/2010 5:11:00 AM
Since Richard "Stubby" Stubblefield, Jr. opened it in 1952, Stubby's has become a benchmark of great barbecue, not only in Hot Springs but in all the South. Now in the capable hands of Chris Dunkel, whose parents bought it from Stubby in 1977, it is a place where everything is done the old-fashioned way. Sauce is brewed daily in the back room. Meats are slow-smoked over hickory and carved to order as you watch from the short cafeteria line.

Ribs are big and meat-laden; ham is sweet and swanky; ruggedly-hacked pork ranges from velvet-soft white meat to chewy bark. Even the brisket is Texas-tender and dripping juice. Chicken, which in our book of barbecue tends to be a secondary consideration, is absolutely first class here, its skin glazed dark, its meat moist and ludicrously tender.

No matter what meat you choose, two side dishes are essential. The smoked pit potato is a pound-plus spud that emerges from a long, slow heat bath with insides that are fluffy and delicious even before massive amounts of butter and sour cream are applied. (It is possible to get the potato loaded with barbecued beef or pork.) Stubby's pot-o-beans is larded with hunks of smoky ham and blanketed with sauce. The sauce is one of the nation's best: tangy, peppery and so beguilingly spiced that even after the meat on your plate is only a glowing memory, you may find yourself using white bread to mop the last of it from the bowlful that comes with every meal.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Ultimate Platter
Sauce
Pot O Beans
Pork BBQ Sandwich
Half Chicken
Supreme Potato
Smoked Pit Potato
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Put Stubby's on the short list of best ribs in the country!
"Put Stubby's on the short list of best ribs in the country!"
Cliff Strutz





Another of Stubby's don't miss sides is the smoked pit potato, a mountain of food that includes a baked potato covered in slaw, beans, chopped pork and bbq sauce.
"Another of Stubby's don't miss sides is the smoked pit potato, a mountain of food that includes a baked potato covered in slaw, beans, chopped pork and bbq sauce."
Cliff Strutz


With all the great menu items it is easy to overlook the pork BBQ sandwich.  It came out a little more heavily sauced than I would prefer, but the meat is sliced thick and you can really taste the smoky flavor.
"With all the great menu items it is easy to overlook the pork BBQ sandwich. It came out a little more heavily sauced than I would prefer, but the meat is sliced thick and you can really taste the smoky flavor."
Cliff Strutz


Only the top layer of sauce is visible in this picture. Below it is a surfeit of pit-cooked ham laced in among the beans.
"Only the top layer of sauce is visible in this picture. Below it is a surfeit of pit-cooked ham laced in among the beans."
Michael Stern


Arkansas is as well known for its chicken as for barbecue, so it should come as no surprise that Stubby's barbecued chicken is four-star. Its skin glazed with magnificent sauce, its meat indescribably tender and succulent, it compares well to the most luxurious pork.
"Arkansas is as well known for its chicken as for barbecue, so it should come as no surprise that Stubby's barbecued chicken is four-star. Its skin glazed with magnificent sauce, its meat indescribably tender and succulent, it compares well to the most luxurious pork."
Michael Stern


Everything Stubby's barbecues is first rate. Those unable to commit to one item can choose the Ultimate Platter: beef, pork, ham and ribs. The Super Ultimate Platter adds a half chicken.
"Everything Stubby's barbecues is first rate. Those unable to commit to one item can choose the Ultimate Platter: beef, pork, ham and ribs. The Super Ultimate Platter adds a half chicken. "
Michael Stern


Chris Dunkel makes sauce from scratch in back of Stubby's every day. He starts with 40 gallons and boils it down to about 15. The result: intense, sweet and tangy sauce that is perhaps the South's best.
"Chris Dunkel makes sauce from scratch in back of Stubby's every day. He starts with 40 gallons and boils it down to about 15. The result: intense, sweet and tangy sauce that is perhaps the South's best."
Michael Stern


Chris Dunkel said that a seeker of great barbecue should look for three things in any place under consideration: mismatched chairs, a wood pile and great meat. Stubby's has all three.
"Chris Dunkel said that a seeker of great barbecue should look for three things in any place under consideration: mismatched chairs, a wood pile and great meat. Stubby's has all three."
Michael Stern


Beacon of great barbecue in Hot Springs since 1952
"Beacon of great barbecue in Hot Springs since 1952"
Michael Stern


Owner Chris Dunkel delivers a pork bbq sandwich.
"Owner Chris Dunkel delivers a pork bbq sandwich."
Cliff Strutz


This hospitable sign greeted the 2013 Roadfood tour of Arkansas.
"This hospitable sign greeted the 2013 Roadfood tour of Arkansas."
Michael Stern



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