What follows is a gushing Dickey’s Barbecue Pit review. The restaurant we visited regularly was in Columbia, Kentucky. Unfortunately, this location is now closed (insert crying, screaming, hair-pulling…). There is a Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Lexington, though, and I’m absolutely certain it (and all locations) are spectacular.
About a week ago, the husband (also known as Michael) and I were in the Lake Cumberland State Resort Park area around lunchtime. Michael had eaten at Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Columbia before and raved (and I mean RAVED) about the barbecue and sides, so he didn’t have to ask me twice where I wanted to eat. It HAD to be the place I’d heard so much about.
Here’s the thing. If you read my Kentucky Restaurant Reviews regularly (and I love you if you do… well, actually I love you anyway… code of the hills and all that) you know that I am to catfish what Winnie the Pooh is to honey. The image of him holding a honey pot, with each arm elbow deep in the honey is like me with a plate of catfish. When it comes to Michael, he’s the BBQ version – up to his elbows in barbecue sauce, with a big ol’ grin on his face.
So if this guy tells me barbecue is outstanding, I listen. .
He was spot on, of course. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is wicked fantastic. The entire time I was chowing down, I thought, “If all pulled pork barbecue, beef brisket, okra, rolls, and macaroni and cheese tasted this good – I’d be too fat to even see my toes.”
So now I have something else to thank God for each day – the fact that all Barbecue and Barbecue sides are not created equal. I can remain on speaking terms with my toes.
That’s what’s up.
When I walked into the adorable restaurant, I was in love before i took a bite. You’ve heard the saying, “They had me at hello,” right? Well, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Columbia had me at Reagan. When I saw a huge photo of Ronald Reagan hanging on the wall (seen in the top picture), I felt right at home. Ronald Reagan was the absolute shizz.
I also flipped for the sign on the ladies bathroom (below). There’s a male version on the men’s bathroom door, but forgive me if I didn’t want to be standing there taking a picture as some random cowpoke came out. The shock would have been too much for him and the embarrassment too much for me.
“Don’t forget to wash your hands!”
As I looked around at the adorable decor and took a few pictures, my beloved husband was at the counter apparently ordering two of everything they had. Up to his elbows.
I got the drinks as he rented a tow truck to take the trays to our table. When I sat down in my chair the overwhelming, Heavenly smell of barbecue enveloped me. The smell of outstanding barbecue is unlike anything in the world and this was, indeed, outstanding barbecue. My first taste, however, was okra. I’m a bit of an okra fanatic, and it looked like okra perfection, sitting there all hot, juicy, and perfectly fried. I’m happy to report that it tasted even better than it looked.
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit’s Delicious Fried Okra
Some people tend to over-cook okra, which should be a cardinal sin. Or, just as hideous, they’ll fry it in oil that should have been changed weeks ago. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit’s okra puts on a workshop and invites all the other okra in the world to attend. It’s stupendous and I could eat it every day for the rest of my life.
Mashed Potatoes with Cheese and Green Onions, Macaroni and Cheese, Baked Beans, and Rolls
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a gazillion times, too many restaurants overlook the importance of sides. They’ll put their energy and passion into their meat, and sometimes their bread – but they’ll get lazy when it comes to sides. That’s why I’ve always said that I can tell a great deal about a restaurant or restaurant chain simply by eating a few of their sides. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit’s sides announce loud and clear that this is one of the best restaurant chains in the country. Their barbecue is so outstanding (we’ll get to it in a second) that they could conceivably slack off with their sides.
They could just throw out a traditional couple of sides (coleslaw, run of the mill mashed potatoes, and beans) and call it a day. They don’t have to have great, melt-in-your-mouth rolls – they could have gotten away with pieces of toasted bread.
But somewhere there’s a Dickey’s head honcho saying, “Give our customers anything less than 110 percent? Not on my watch.“
Sometimes size matters so much it isn’t even funny.
You know me, always noticing the little (or in this case, not so little) extras. The things that most people would look right past, I’m standing gawking at – raising my sweet tea in a toast. The giant pickles available at Dickey’s were toasted. And crunched. And loved.
You’ll notice that I always photograph and acknowledge when restaurants have Heinz Ketchup – an extra that floats my boat. Off brand ketchup isn’t a nice thing to do to guests. The only reason you don’t see a bottle of Heinz or Hunts Ketchup in this post is because Dickey’s makes their own ketchup, thank you very nicely. Color me impressed.
If your mouth isn’t watering, listen for snoring, because you may be asleep.
Dickey’s Barbecue aka The Main Event
We got 4 different meats because the husband just can’t go big when he’s in a barbecue restaurant. The chicken was outstanding, but the barbecues ribs, pulled pork, and beef brisket stole the show. And my heart. The funny thing is, I don’t normally flip out for beef brisket, yet there I was, daring my husband to just TRY to get between me and the brisket. I may have growled at him as he went for it once with his fork. He didn’t chance a second attempt. The Texas Style Chopped Beef Brisket is too delicious for its own good. I’ve never knew beef brisket could be so ridiculously delicious. What’s up with that?
When I tore myself away from the brisket, I discovered that the other meats were also outstanding. I normally go for pulled pork when it comes to barbecue, and Dickey’s pulled pork did not disappoint. It was some of the best I’ve ever had. Ribs, a favorite of my husband and our youngest daughter (Stephany), are something else I don’t usually order – but that’s because most ribs don’t taste like this. These ribs are stupid good.
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Sauces: The Way BBQ Sauce is Supposed to Taste
Earlier I referenced the one time my husband gave a barbecue restaurant a thumb’s up that deserved a tongue out (as in blaaaaach). At that particular restaurant, what they called barbecue sauce was actually amber-colored water. I like my barbecue sauce to be thick and so flavorful you find yourself dipping everything in the table into it. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit has sauces that fit the bill perfectly. You’ll notice with the sauce on the left, I caused it to splash a little on the side to demonstrate what great barbecue sauce does – it’s thick enough to leave a mark.
The meat is so delicious it honestly doesn’t even need any sauce whatsoever, but the same can be said about the sauce. It doesn’t need anything either! I told Michael, “Now that’s what I’m talking about! THAT’S barbecue sauce.” He would have agreed, but that would have meant putting down the rib.
If you’re looking for great barbecue in Kentucky, you HAVE to make your way to your nearest Dickey’s Barbecue Pit. It may look like a lamb from the outside, but on the inside (where it counts) it proves that it’s the king of the jungle.
- See the Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Menu (check out the sides!)
- Find Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Locations
- Most importantly:Open a franchise in Owensboro, Kentucky. Please, please, please…