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FOOD REVIEW: Parker Bros. Trail Dust Steak House

Louis Fowler / Red Dirt Report
Service with a smile at Parker Bros. Trail Dust Steak House in Sanger, Texas.
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5 Rustys

SANGER, Texas -- Dusk hits I-35 on the drive from Dallas to Oklahoma City with all the speed of a silver bullet. The warm winds blow dust and tumbleweeds across the still-sizzling asphalt roads as sack-cloth thunderheads flash pornographically in the distance. The ion-charged air fills with an unmistakable moisture that will Pony Express a summer storm warning faster than any meteorologist can—you know you ain’t gonna make it to the border before that storm comes in, don’t ya son?

As soon as I entered the one-horse Red River town of Sanger, Texas, the heavy droplets of rain started to fall and transparently Jackson Pollock the windshield. With nary a matronly bosom in sight to bless me with respite from the darkening sky, I ducked into a little red steakhouse off the side of the road, hoping they could provide, at the very least, some culinary shelter from the storm.

The evening’s entertainment was tuning up on stage as a strong gust of a Texas dust devil gave me a bootkickin’ through the double doors of the Parker Bros. Trail Dust Steak House, 1200 S. Stemmons St. in Sanger. It was only a little after five, but the joint was already hopping with locals in their Saturday night duds getting their steakhouse swag on; no violent thunderstorms and heavy hail were gonna stop these Texans from their one night out on the town.

Rurally themed without being country kitsch, Parker Bros. has apparently been a part of this community since 1973, known for their generous cuts of local beef and “a barn dance every night.” This newer location right off the highway has managed to keep the place in business, a siren’s call to hungry travelers looking for something far more substantial than a microwavable burrito from a Love’s Travel Stop.

The rain started beating against the windows with a crystalline ferocity as I was shown to my table by a star-spangled waitress clad in a ten-gallon hat that shadowed her eyes like a gunslinger’s daughter looking for revenge in a low-budget spaghetti western. It was a façade that was belied by her bright smile and beaming Texas accent asking if I wanted to hear the drink specials.

A tall glass of ice water was fine, I told her as my own eyes became as enlarged as my stomach at the sheer volume of glimmering meats that we’re being patriotically paraded out from the kitchen and to the tables of the various diners around me, prayers being quickly said before devouring these prime cuts with an elegant voracity that was far better advertising than any roadside billboard.

Surrounded by herds of unknowing cattle on all sides, Parker Bros. prides themselves on their hand-cut Grade-A Angus beef, so who was I to doubt them on the veracity of their claims, I thought to myself as I decided on the Rifleman ($20.99), a 14-ounce bone-in ribeye cut, sprinkled and rubbed in their signature seasoning before being grilled on an open-flame and cooked to the promised goal of medium perfection.

As the band played on and the locals cut various rugs of all shapes and sizes, the western-ready waitress brought out a massive plate with obvious heft and girth, its white glaze eclipsed by a dark brown generous cut of meat, as well as a big fat baked sweet potato and plenty of fried okra to keep my eyes busy while my hands are working overtime. Happiness is a warm plate.

As the torrential downpour raged on outside these walls, the grease-covered sheen on my Rifleman was a glistening mirror of obscene self-reflection, but not enough to stop me from tearing into that tender, juicy ribeye like it were a primal form of cotton candy, each buttery bite melting in my mouth before I even had a chance to chew it. The prickly seasonings were seeping into every sinew and fold, the flavor expertly seared with a tamed flame and sure-handed whip at the ready.

Taking a much-required breather half-way through, I started on my sweet potato, a little dollop of cinnamon butter to church up the proceedings; served hot and sealed, the sugary warmth of the tuber complimented the saltiness of the meat like an old married couple, with the crispy homemade fried okra almost being an absolute embarrassment of backwoods riches, not that it stopped me.

While it might sound like I shoveled my meal with all the speed of a Texas tornado, truth be told I took my time and savored each and every bite, allowing time to stretch as the Lord’s fury overhead passed on to the next town, the atmosphere slightly cooling as the sun settled for yet another night. Like a house of comfort just waiting for me at the end of a long, dusty trail ride, the Parker Bros. Trail Dust Steak House does a Hell of a job bringing one of the purest Texas dining experiences back across the border with you.

¡Cómpralo ya!

Parker Bros. Trail Dust Steak House
1200 S. Stemmons Street
Sanger, TX 76266
Phone: (940) 365-4440

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About the Author

Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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