6 Things You Might Not Know About the Iconic Prine’s Barbecue in Wichita Falls
If Texas does one thing right, then that one thing would have to be barbecue. We take pride in our barbecue just about as much as football and Texas state flags. Many may claim to smoke the best meat in town but only one can say they were the first in Wichita Falls.
At the corner of 13th and Bluff Streets sits a modest off-white building with a hard-to-miss barbecue pit beside it.
Prine’s Barbecue has served the Wichita Falls area since 1925, and is now considered one of the most “underrated” barbecue joints in all of Texas.
Allen Prine is the third generation owner of the delicious pit and shared with us six things you may not know about Prine’s.
What do you love about owning and working here?
“I love waiting on the people that come in here. Now, I know to be happy pretty much every day. Age helps you with that. I really enjoy talking with the people and that’s fun for me because we know them so well. We used to get the occasional new customer but now we get five or more a day.”
Now, you told us what you love. What do you not love?
“We used to cater parties with 1,000 people. I made my dad quit doing that. They only paid you for the food. You do three times as much work to feed those people as you would a walk-in. I finally looked at my dad when I was about 35 and I had probably been a thousand parties and I told him, ‘I’ll work here but I’m never going on another one,’ [catered party].”
Is another Prine’s Barbecue in our future?
“One thing, I’m 63 and I still work 65-70 hours a week. I’m single now after two marriages and I guess this is my baby. I took over for my dad five years ago but I worked for him for 46 years and so the idea of expanding just seems ridiculous. If I was going to be rich, it should have been 20 years ago.”
What is your favorite menu item?
“Boy, that’s hard. I think I eat mostly ham with breakfast every morning but the chopped beef sandwich is my second favorite.“
Is this the location of the original Pioneer restaurant?
“Somewhere around 1938 to 1942, my granddad was best friends with the McBride grandfather. They were fishing and hunting buddies. They were operating out of a garage and selling sandwiches. Before the fire, he (Harry Prine Sr.) leased them the restaurant side and he kept this side and it was the original Pioneer 1. It was just called Pioneer and of course they didn’t know at the time they were going to expand. They still trade with us and we still trade with them.”
How early do you start the pits?
“We’re a little different. Normally, when there is no holidays, we’ll start them about 8;00 a.m. and start cooking by 9:00 a.m. We’re normally cooking the briskets and hams for the next day. We might put one in the steam table and you might get one fresh the same day you come in. During Thanksgiving and Christmas we do cooking’s a everyday on the two different pits and we start at 4:30 in the morning. We will cook until about noon and then put a whole new batch on and cook until about 7:00 or 8:00 at night. Some places like Austin use timed cookers but we don’t leave anything on the pit if we aren’t here. “