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November 03, 2017 2 min read




For the second straight year, I’ll be five thousand miles away from my family as they sit down to Thanksgiving dinner. 

Yeah, it hurts. 

My family doesn’t mess around on Thanksgiving – we go hard. For two solid days, the kitchen is rocking – Nana Marge and Aunt Audrey handle the bulk of the cooking and Mom comes in to dress the table and knock out her pies. Mom makes a damn good pie, but for those who know, Bud Royer, of Royer's Cafe, is the pie Man. 

Bud is a longtime friend of the family – we always hit up his Royer’s Round Top Cafe in Round Top, Texas (population 99) for special events. I celebrated my high school graduation with a dinner there - you can still see my red mortarboard tacked up on the ceiling as you come in the door. 

I rubbed elbows with Bud earlier this year at a cooking class he presided over at Fischer and Wieser's in Fredericksburg, Texas.  He graciously shared the pie dough recipe he uses on his world-famous pies. 

So this holiday, if you want to bake great pies, start with great pie dough.  This one is simple, makes three large crusts and can be prepared in advance and frozen.  This is my new go-to recipe for awesome pie dough – enjoy!


¼ tsp. salt

1 cup water

5 cups white flour

2cups less 3 TBSP shortening


  1. Dissolve salt in water and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cut vegetable shortening into flour and work mixture thoroughly until crumbly.
  3. Add salt water to flour mixture and work into dough. 
  4. Add several tablespoons of flour and continue to work the dough until it pulls cleanly away from the hand.
  5. Divide dough evenly into three balls and place in baggies or cover with plastic wrap.If freezing dough for future use, freeze at this point.  Allow frozen dough to thaw out for 3 to 4 hours before use. Dough rolls out best when slightly chill. If using dough immediately, dough rolls out best when slightly chill so place balls in refrigerator for 30 minutes. 
  6. Place dough ball on a floured surface and roll out evenly into a 10" circle.
  7. Gently ease dough into pie plate, pricking bottom to prevent bubbling.
  8. Fill with your favorite pie filling.


Double D Ranch co-founder, Cheryl McMullen, calls Jack Matusek, "son." He is a TCU graduate, a craft butcher and charcutier.  He is currently in Europe completing his Master Butcher's certification and researching ethical slaughter. His goal is to educate, satiate, and entertain.  You can follow him and his journey at Raw Republic Meats.


Bud “the Pieman” Royer, is the funky founding father of Royers Round Top Café,and Royers mail-order pies. Along with his wife, Dr. Karen, and their four children he moved to Round Top, Texas in 1987 taking over the tiny 40-seat Round Top Café. With no culinary training or kitchen experience, Bud and his family, have built and marketed the café into a well-recognized Texas institution. 

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