For over 30 years I have regularly driven Highway 59 between Houston and South Texas and patronized Prasek’s Hillje Smokehouse. In my earlier stops, it was just a tiny stop in the middle of nowhere, selling smoked meats, tasty jars of relishes, pickled vegetables, and sauces, and the most incredible cream-cheese iced apricot strudels. They have expanded over the years to a major stop with a western town facade, and so many employees that half of the local towns’ populations must work there.
There are so many products now that you should plan on extra space in your vehicle for the most savory-sounding goodies. Prasek’s has a full selection of smoked meats, both domesticated and wild game,and a huge selection of jerky. Canned goods and sauces are all tempting—the jalapeño pickled green beans are a personal favorite—and I haven’t bought a barbecue sauce, rub, or marinade I didn’t like. Prices are about what you would expect from artisan-level goods—between $6 to 14 during our last stop.
The bakery also produces an incredible array of goods, the marbled pumpernickel being a favorite. And my father always asks for a couple of mini lemon bread loaves, which he freezes and eats a little at a time over several months.
Finally, if you’re hungry, the diner counter offers fresh sandwiches, barbecue plates,and burgers. Favorite here is the patty melt, or any of the all-beef burgers, which are made of beef so fresh, the taste is so rich it’s not like any beef I’ve ever had. I’ve eaten beef at some top-rated restaurants, but the ground beef Prasek’s uses in their burgers tops any others in my experience. And for around $10, give or take a few bucks.
I could continue, but I’ll conclude by saying that if you’re traveling down 59, pass up the big chain stops found a few miles in each direction and make Prasek’s your destination.
Final note: the restrooms are large enough to handle a bus load, and always immaculately clean.
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