The very last episode of Friday Night Lights airs tonight, an occasion I consider so momentous I'm mentioning it even though it gives Eater another chance to run a picture of me with a Texas-shaped thought bubble over my head.
As my friend Lisa Fain noted on her blog Homesick Texas yesterday, a whole bunch of folks have already seen the episode, which is available online and on DVD. But for those of us who started watching Friday Night Lights back before television viewers could call up any show they wanted on their cable boxes or computers, the show is still a weekly tradition.
And it's a tradition that surely deserves a farewell party. Lisa suggests serving Frito pie, a mainstay of Texas high-school stadium concession stands, or "a batch of chicken-fried steak or steak fingers with jalapeño cream gravy to honor the hardscrabble independence of these small-town Texan characters' lives."
Another option is barbecue, just like Jess Merriweather--the quarterback's girlfriend who dreams of coaching football--serves at Ray's Bar-B-Q. Unfortunately, Texas-style barbecue isn't easy to find around Seattle. Woodinville's Texas Smokehouse BBQ shut down earlier this year, and Dickey's Barbecue Pit has shelved plans to open a Federal Way location.
To be clear, Dickey's doesn't serve high-quality barbecue. Most of its smoked meats are mushy and flavorless, but that hasn't stopped the chain--which got its start in Dallas in 1941--from pursuing national expansion plans. Dickey's now has 156 locations in 35 states, and is looking to add more.
Dickey's development director Richard Phillips this January announced the chain would open its first Washington store in Federal Way, but a spokesperson this week surmised real-estate negotiations sunk that project. "The only thing I can tell you is it's not in the works now," Amy Vercher said.
According to a press release issued this week, a laid-off Comcast employee plans to open a Dickey's in Bellingham. "I feel like Bellingham is ready for a barbecue chain," Cheri Benson is quoted as saying.
But with the franchise's opening still months away, Friday Night Lights fans will have to make their own brisket and jalapeno beans to accompany the show's finale--or make do with a menu of hot dogs and popcorn. That's what was served when the state-championship scenes were filmed last year at the Cotton Bowl. If you look very closely, you'll see me in the stands.