by Terrance Mc Arthur
Our roving food critic Terrance Mc Arthur continues his search for great food in Sanger and the surrounding communities. Check out more Great Food Search here! Due to some computer issues, this column is a week later, but hey better late than never.
A new year has burst upon us, a time for new beginnings, a time for new places to eat. While shopping at the new center on Herndon near 99, I saw a light in the sky, and it said “Dickey’s Barbecue Pit.” I always try to follow the advice of my mother: go towards the light. I did, and it was goo-ood!
In a room decorated with wood and corrugated aluminum, excited people line up to see what hickory-wood-smoke cooking hath wrought. Have you ever watched pulled pork get pulled? It’s a jaw-dropping experience. The chunks of meat shred down to the fiber level, and the glistening sheen of fat makes it almost sparkle. The taste is sublime by itself, but don’t deny yourself the joys of the sauce. Forget about napkins—you’re going to need a shower when you’re finished!
The beef brisket is as soft and tender as a Rod McKuen poem. The turkey breast is almost fluffy. The honey-barbecued ham seductively whispers, “Taste me! Taste me!” The Spicy Cheddar Sausage snarls, “Can you handle this?” The pork ribs slide off the bone and past your lips, shouting, “This little piggy went ‘WHEEEE!’”I haven’t tried the Polish Sausage or the chicken breast…but I will. Oh yes, I will.
A one-meat platter runs $10.95, while a two-meat combo is $12.50. You pay $13.50 for a triple, and a three-rib plate costs $13.95. The meals come with two sides, a roll, pickles, and onions. The sides include barbecue beans, jalapeno beans, fried okra, Caesar salad, green beans with bacon, mac & cheese, coleslaw, waffle iron fries, chips, and more.
My favorite side–so far–is the baked potato casserole. Most quick-food family places serve mashed potatoes and gravy, but this is different: a mound of puffy whiteness with cheese and green onions and slap me, honey, and call me done! The green beans look nothing like the skinny things that come out of a can; these are broad-shouldered, flattened, and have a bacon-y glow about them, like grandma used to make fifty years ago (Did they steal her recipe?). The coleslaw is moist, yet crisp, and doesn’t push too hard. My daughter is a mac & cheese fan, and she really likes the creaminess of the noodles and sauce at Dickey’s.
Bakers at Dickey’s are not guys with smudges of flour on their faces; they are baked potatoes that are big enough to need their own parking spaces, adorned with meat and amazing things. I chose the Pork & Tangler Baker ($8.25) with chopped pork, shredded cheddar, fried onion tanglers, barbecue sauce & green onions (There was some butter in there, too). The tanglers are somewhere between sautéed onions and onion rings, semi-crunchy and tasty, and oh-so oniony!
There are sandwiches to challenge the size of your mouth, salads, and a treat at the end of your meal–a soft-serve machine with the creamiest ice cream this side of your dreams. There are daily specials on Mondays through Saturdays. Also, the Big Yellow Cup for your soda or tea is quite sturdy. We take them home and re-use them for family meals and occasional where-can-I-put-this-for-a-few-minutes containers. Happily, there are LOTS of napkins, and the silverware may be plastic, but it looks like silverware.
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is at 6611 N. Riverside Drive Ste 105 in Fresno, and the phone number is (559) 271-7700. The Valley also has Dickey’s restaurants in Hanford, Visalia, and Porterville, and soon–Tulare and Clovis!
Go to Dickey’s. Your family–and your tummy–will thank you!
Check out more food articles and more of Terrance’s Great Food Search column in our Food Fun section.