For the Bryan family, barbecue sauce is in their blood. Their tradition of award-winning barbecue began over a century ago, in 1910, when Elias Bryan's family faithfully followed him from Cincinnati to Dallas, where he opened the original Bryan's Barbeque. The restaurant established a firm following, which led Elias’ son, William, to open his own restaurant. It was there that the third-generation Bryan, William "Sonny" Jennings Bryan Jr., learned how to properly smoke brisket and concoct tangy, spicy sauces. In 1958, on February 13—the exact same date on which Elias and William opened their eateries—Sonny served the first rack of ribs in his newly opened Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse.
The small chain now shares its spin on traditional Texas barbecue across Utah and Dallas. Sonny Bryan's original barbecue sauce spices up its savory pulled meats and ribs, which have been devoured by U.S. presidents, famous entertainers, sports legends, and A-list animated Disney characters alike. Sonny's seasoned chefs also cater heaps of fresh brisket and smoked chicken to parties and events.
Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse has been on the culinary radar since 1989, snapping up awards and publicity from People magazine, Food Network, the Travel Channel, and The Barbecue Bible. The modest barbecue joints have also earned some highbrow epicurean chops through a 2006 Zagat rating and a 2000 James Beard Foundation award for Culinary Excellence and Achievement.