Dallas Morning News travel section editor Mary Ellen Botter recently asked Gary Jacobson and I to come up with a list of the Texas BBQ Posse’s favorite joints to visit. We solicited suggestions from the posse and were off and running.

We weren’t trying to come up with a list for the best meats we’d sampled, we did that last December in our piece Announcing the Posse’s “2010 Best in Texas BBQ picks and will follow up annually with updated lists.

This is just an unofficial accounting of cool places we’ve been, though like any BBQ list I’m sure it will stir some controversy. At least three of these places would not make our Best in Texas rankings, though they are fun joints worth the road trip for a visit.

For instance, Hard Eight in Stephenville probably doesn’t have any of my “best of” meat selections, though the singer Jewel would likely disagree! Late last summer we spent a hot afternoon in the pits watching, learning and asking questions of the pitmasters. The meats are pretty good and they taken performance BBQ to a new level.

Pecan Lodge in Dallas was another interesting choice for us. We are all in agreement that the meats coming off Justin Fourton’s smoker are world-class, but it’s not exactly a “joint,” residing in Dallas Farmers Market shed #2. It wasn’t on the initial list, but Posse member Phil Lamb made a great point and we added them.

Phil wrote, “I need to revise my list… When we emailed last week, I dinged Pecan Lodge due to atmosphere. After eating there on Saturday and Sunday this weekend, however, I think it should be included. Although the actual restaurant atmosphere is not great, we really enjoyed being at the Farmers’ Market. That aspect makes Pecan Lodge very unique and I hope to get down there for more fresh fruits/veggies and good BBQ soon.”

You can click here to see our story online at dallasnews.com. Good news, it’s not behind the paywall, so non-subscribers should be able to see it. There’s also an embedded slideshow of cool bbq pix you can click on to get a look at our picks.

We’d love to hear what places you think should be added to the list. There are obviously some great destination joints we didn’t have the room to include. We have a bbq trip planned to Houston in the fall and will see if some of those places make their way onto our list as well.

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