Yo’ Mama’s Pit BBQ: Slow-cooking meat in Montgomery for 26 years

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In an unassuming storefront in historic Montgomery, a Texas man’s haven sits under the Yo’ Mama’s Pit BBQ sign. “Need no teeth to eat my beef,” proclaims a placard, supported by the scent of slow-smoking meat wafting from the back patio picnic area.

Once inside, customers can order brisket, sausage, ribs, chicken and other meats by the pound as well as potatoes and beans through a sliding window, and have a seat at a few picnic-style tables decorated with cowboy hats, axes and antlers—although most take the quickly served-up dishes to-go.

The barbecue’s name comes from an inside joke with the boys’ club.

“We needed a joke talking about people’s mamas. It was just a place for guys to hang out,” owner Kelvin Arnsworth said. “We cook our meat for 18 hours on low smoke with a post of oak wood, and we have the same seasoning we’ve been using since day one—we haven’t deviated.”

The only dessert the smoke shop lists on the menu for special occasions is the peach cobbler, a family recipe.

“Mama taught us to make peach cobbler, the only dessert we ever serve,” Arnsworth said. “Mama was a little bitty lady, and she taught us all to cook … five girls and three boys.”

Arnsworth’s only other staff member now is his brother Kennard. Yo’ Mama’s Pit has been at the same Montgomery location for 26 years.

“[Running a restaurant in Montgomery] has been a deal where we’ve seen barbecue shops come and barbecue shops go, but we’re still here whether we made a dollar or not,” Arnsworth said. “Some days we didn’t sell a sandwich; other days we sell out.”

Arnsworth said smoking meat fresh every day is something that draws in the customers.

“Our motto is to make freshness count,” Arnsworth said. “Holes-in-the-wall always have the best food, and Yo’ Mama’s is living proof of that—we’re the best food in the world.”

Repeat customer Chris Howell likes to order the rib sandwich—or a half or full slabs of ribs.

“These boys have been barbecuing since high school,” Howell said while waiting on his ribs. “They used to always have cookouts when we all went to [Montgomery High School] back in the ’80s.”

This holiday season, Arnsworth plans to donate food to the homeless in Conroe for Thanksgiving, as he does every year—and cater off-menu items to families who order ahead.

“We tell them, ‘You come hungry, you eat, and if you leave hungry it’s your fault,’” Arnsworth said.

Yo’ Mama’s Pit BBQ
300 John A Butler St., Montgomery
936-449-4044
yo-mamas-pit-bar-b-que.business.site
Hours: Tue.-Sun. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., closed Mon.

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Jules Rogers
Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Jules Rogers has been covering community journalism and urban trade news since 2014. She moved to Houston in June 2018 to become an editor with Community Impact Newspaper after four years of reporting for various newspapers affiliated with the Portland Tribune in Oregon, including two years at the Portland Business Tribune. Before that, Jules spent time reporting for the Grants Pass Daily Courier in Southern Oregon. Her favorite beats to cover are business, economic development and urban planning.
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