Country TavernHwy 31 & FM 2767
I’ve heard travelling to East Texas referred to as “going behind the Pine Curtain”.
My personal experiences with East Texas have been incidental drive-bys en route to Caddo Lake. And right there off Hwy 31, seemingly in the middle of not very much at all, sits one of the most famed BBQ houses in Texas, Country Tavern.
With a big reputation and a slew of awards for their pork ribs, Country Tavern occupies a rather unassuming and modern shed, very different in atmosphere from the famed BBQ joints of Lockhart etc where the pit is visible to the public. Walking inside, the interior is sort of dive bar meets mess hall. The walls are plastered with neon beer signs, a full bar runs along one of end and the whole place is very, very dark. Apparently, the original Country Tavern building sits next door, and this new cavernous sheet metal hall has been the source of much contention.
The menu is typical Barbecue haus – pork ribs, brisket and a selection of sausage with an option of several traditional sides. No mess, no fuss. After a 4 hour drive from Austin hopped up on sugary Cherry Ice Box Cookies from Collins St Bakery in Corsicana, any food was welcome food.
Realistically, CT is largely trading off reputation. Country Tavern seems to be a decent dining option for the area, but don’t expect to pull up to BBQ mecca and die happy and full. Many people and reviewers online (like BBQ authority Daniel Vaughn) share this sentiment – it seems there are other ribs in Texas that far surpass those at CT, but once a legend is born, it’s hard to quell.
But since you’re all the way out there anyway, make sure you drive 10 mins up Hwy 31 to check out the Apache drive-in. By check out, I mean go and giggle at the sign – it’s a drive in theatre for adult movies!! It’s hard to figure out which is more puzzling; that fact that it is a drive-in adult theatre, or the fact that it exists on the middle of a small highway with nothing around it, smack bang in the middle of a bible belt.
I mean c’mon y’all – how completely creepy is this? It’s a horror movie scene waiting to happen.
My friend MH hails from the area and said he used to sneak into the trees at the back as a kid to get a look at the screen. So apparently, the only thing creepier than watching paid porno in a vehicle next to cars full of other dudes, is watching it for free, alone in the forest.