Brownwood—When driving through the little big town of Brownwood, it’s hard to miss the old cowboy calling people to the table at Underwood’s. Take a few minutes to see what all the fuss is about at this fine establishment that’s been around since 1946. If you do, you’ll be happy you heard the imaginary ringing of that bell!
Just take it from many of their loyal customers.
“One of our favorite places in the state of Texas, maybe anywhere, to eat,” said Joe Lombard.
“It’s just really, really good,” raved Joyce Ragland.
“It’s been one of my favorite places to eat all of my life,” expressed Pat Hagerman.
“I don’t think they can imagine a Brownwood without it,” said Paul Underwood, one half of the brother duo that runs Underwood’s.
Paul and Leo Underwood are the third generation of Underwood’s to make sure the family name is honored at the beloved food joint. This dynamic duo have been in charge of the family business since their father retired, but that wasn’t their first career choice when both boys went off to Baylor.
“I wasn’t going to do it. I was going to be a banker or stock broker or something highfalutin like that, but when I got to Baylor, whenever I’d meet somebody…and I’d tell them I’m from Brownwood. It was like, ‘Oh, that barbecue place, that Underwood’s,” continued Leo, “when I realized that, I just felt like I’d be a fool to pass up that kind of opportunity.”
“I always grew up with a love of our food,” said Paul, “but I didn’t want to come home smelling like barbecue every day.”
Eventually the boys found themselves back in Brownwood and have been proudly passing on the tradition of this unique sort of BBQ that comes with a crazy amount of sides.
“You get your meat item, you can get any and all the vegetables you like,” Leo explained, “we’ll bring some fresh hot rolls around to your table. Homemade cobbler for dessert…And your drink, everything included for that price.”
Selecting a meat is not as simple as it sounds with Underwood’s surplus of smoked meats and savory chicken to choose from.
“Our sliced barbecue beef steak…It’s our number one seller. Very lean, very tender. We have St. Louis style spare ribs…chicken fried steak. We have a barbecue chicken and a roast chicken. We have a mild German sausage and a spicy jalapeno cheese sausage and Mama Underwood’s fried chicken,” listed Leo.
After gathering up as made sides as humanly possible, people make their way down the line to the rolls that always get a warm reception.
“The rolls are to die for,” said Pat.
“My dad couldn’t keep up with the demand for those hot rolls,” Paul explained, “we’d be out of rolls so he’d have to catch up with people… That wasn’t any intentional kind of deal, but now people, they’ve started really loving it. ‘Oh, I love it when you bring those hot rolls right out of the oven to our table.'”
These really good rolls are so revered that whenever a fresh batch comes out of the oven, there’s a light letting those ‘kneading’ another to be on the lookout.
When it comes to tackling your meal, beginning with beef is truly the only way to go. It’s like a barbecue steak, tender, like you could just roll your tongue around and it will come apart.
“The food is the best. I mean, you just can’t get better food than this,” said Underwood’s customer, Joe.
“You can brag about [how] you’ve been in business over 70 years… but nobody cares,” said Paul, “ultimately, if you’re not good that day, nobody cares how long you’ve been in business.”
“If you have to go a little out of the way. It’s worthwhile to come down to Underwood’s,” Joe confirmed.
“One of a kind,” said Leo, “every Texan should experience Underwood’s.”
Well, if you’re looking for the best beef steak between Brownfield and Brownsville, a stop at Underwood’s in Brownwood is well worth a stop on The Texas Bucket List.
“This is Texas. This is Texas food,” said Joyce, “and that’s just the way it is.”