When we moved back to East Texas a few years ago, my real estate agent who also tends to indulge in the finer foods made great efforts in telling me about Pat Gee's. He kept saying, "It's your kind of place Holt. You want hot on that?" I had no idea what he was talking about.
Now it is true that I am weak when it comes to solid down home cooking. When we lived in Dallas, I would troll the ghettos in search of cafes and dives that served the food I missed so much. The food that when eaten, my father defines as a Lay Down Meal. Because when you're done, you'll damn sure want to lay down.
It wouldn't be for a few more years when one Tylerite would grace me with the venture deep in the woods of East Texas to the crossroads of culinary delight. The crossroads that held a small shack breathing smoke and about fifteen oil field trucks parked outside. Held in close confidence about like the Salesmanship Club in Dallas, I felt like I was now part of the club.
Pat Gee's has been around since the 70s and was owned and operated by it's name sake. That of course being Pat Gee.
Pat passed away in 1999 leaving his family members to take the reigns over the place. It's nothing fancy. A wood-framed building with a few tables and a separate room on the side that houses about a six foot pit that tends to fill the entire structure with smoke. The only air-conditioner in the joint is the one operated by God who from time to time will offer up a nice breeze that moves through the small holes of the screened in windows.
And the food? Well I'll make this easy for you. Order brisket, hot links and bone-in ham.
If you're brave, have him mix the ham with the brisket and chop it up. This should be placed on a piece of white bread and drenched with sauce. That being the "Hot on That" which is homemade.
And the review? I've since taken my youngest there during the Summer months when he didn't have school. A small face covered in barbecue sauce while holding a white plastic fork in the air told me, "This is the best day I've ever had."
Take it from a six year old. You won't get a more honest opinion.
Pat Gee's is located at 17547 Jamestown Road which is off of Highway 31 between Kilgore and Tyler. If you're coming from Kilgore, it's after the Tavern. If you're coming from Tyler, it's after the Apache. It's only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until the meat runs out.
Always yours in smoke. Peace out!
Photographs taken by Guy Reynolds