Here's Why Buc-Ee's Gas Station Brisket Is So Legendary

Even if you've never visited one in person, you've probably heard of the gas station/convenience store phenomenon that is called Buc-ee's. The reasons to get excited about Buc-ee's include the sheer size of its locations, its clean restrooms, and, perhaps most notably, its barbecue brisket sandwiches. In the middle of each store sits a large, circular sandwich production area where Buc-ee's employees in cowboy hats prep brisket sandwiches as well as turkey, pulled pork, fried chicken, and sausage varieties. When patrons hear the familiar call, "Fresh brisket on the board!" they know a fresh, hot slab of beef brisket is being sliced and diced for a new batch of sandwiches, a process customers can watch.

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Michael Bui, the Operations District Manager for Buc-ee's in Alabama, told CBS 42 that the company sells more brisket sandwiches than it does $0.69 fountain drinks, making it the number one selling food item in the company. Bui attributes the popularity of the sandwich to the fact that the flavor of the meat itself is highlighted. The briskets are seasoned simply, mostly with salt and pepper, and are smoked for 12 to 14 hours in a central smokehouse. From there, they are shipped daily to Buc-ee's locations across the country, primarily in the southern states. Each sandwich, whether sliced or chopped, is served warm on a soft bun with Buc-ee's housemade, tomato-based, Texas-style barbecue sauce. The sandwiches are generous in size, simple in the details, and altogether delicious.

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Brisket for breakfast and lunch

Buc-ee's locations are open 24 hours a day, however, you won't find the brisket sandwiches around the clock. Stores begin selling them at 11:30 a.m. and they are available until midnight. If you happen to be there in the morning, you can still get brisket during the store's breakfast hours, which run from 4:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Brisket tacos are available hot at the meat prep station, which is appropriately known as the Texas Round Up.

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Truthfully, the early morning might be the best time to visit a Buc-ee's for those who don't particularly enjoy long lines and crowds. The stores have become popular destinations for tourists, road trippers, and locals alike and can become jam-packed on weekends. Going early will allow you to fully take in the sheer size of the place, which you can easily forget is a gas station. There are slabs of homemade fudge, roasted nuts, freshly fried potato chips, rows of pickled treats and sour candies, plus everything else you'd expect at a convenience store (chips, jerky, coffee, ICEEs, beverages), and a huge display of home, garden, and kitchen decor. And if you do get sidetracked, don't worry — the smell of that smoked brisket will remind you why you came.

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An award-winning pitmaster is in charge of the brisket

So, is the brisket at Buc-ee's the best Texas brisket you can find? The matter is definitely subjective. After all, Texas is a huge state, with tons of pitmasters who have strong opinions. But, for gas station food, there's no doubt that it's some of the best you can get, especially when compared to the norm of roller-grilled hot dogs, pizza slices under heat lamps, and pre-made egg salad sandwiches. A brisket sandwich may not be the best food to eat while driving, but it's worth stopping for.

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And the integrity of its brisket is something that Buc-ee's takes seriously, no doubt because thousands visit the stores specifically to get a taste of what everyone seems to be raving about. This is clear in its decision to bring on Randy Pauly as the head of the company's barbecue department. His own barbecue has earned him awards, and he even appeared on Food Network's "Chopped."

Despite the hoards of visitors that arrive every day at Buc-ee's to chow down on brisket, you shouldn't need to wait long to get your hands on a sandwich. As they are made, they are laid out on a warming table where customers can simply walk by and grab one. The company pumps out so much brisket that even if the counter is empty when you first walk by it probably won't be for long. Getting through the checkout line quickly may be another issue.

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