Let the meat speak for itself
It all started in a thick fog on a Saturday morning many years ago. We visited Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, Tx., for the first time and finally learned what real barbecue is all about.
We put thick slices of tender brisket on white bread and took big bites. “That's the best breakfast I've ever eaten," Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins said.
Later that day, after visiting a few other top joints in Central Texas, Wilkins became even more reflective.
"I didn't realize until today that I knew nothing at all about great barbecue," he said. "Everything I ate was better than anything I had eaten before."
And so began the Posse’s big adventure, a mission of discovery to find, and sample, great barbecue wherever it is cooked.
For a while, we went through a purist phase. The only good barbecue, we thought, was cooked with wood fires on offset smokers. But after thousands of miles and nearly a decade on the BBQ trail, we’ve softened our view. We’ve learned that it’s not the process but the outcome — the taste — that’s most important.
Good barbecue is good, no matter if it comes from a classic wood-fired pit, a gasser, a pellet or charcoal machine, or a Big Green Egg.
Over the years, we’ve written about barbecue on our blog and in The Dallas Morning News, talked about it on the radio, in videos, and once even to a Mensa group. There’s nothing like high IQ barbecue lovers. We turned down a book deal — don’t ask — and did a pitch video for a possible reality TV show. No takers…yet.
For many of us, a highlight of our barbecue adventures remains a visit in 2010 to a little trailer just off I-35 in Austin. The original Franklin Barbecue. We made a group photo that day with Aaron Franklin and John Lewis, then young barbecue legends in the making.
Posse member Bruce Tomaso spoke for many of us when he said: ”I’m telling friends they should visit Franklin as soon as they can. The trailer experience will never be duplicated in a restaurant; and the brisket might not be, either."
So, with our new Web site, we want to continue on with that barbecue fascination. We want to discover more great joints, eat more great barbecue and explore more great cooking techniques. As always, we’ll let the meat speak for itself.
After 40 years in newspapers, Posse co-founder Gary Jacobson retired to Austin, Tx., where his ambitious goals include spending more time with his grandkids, taking more naps with his dogs, and eating more good bbq.
Dallas-based photo editor Chris Wilkins focused his cameras on the Texas BBQ trail in 2009 when he co-founded the Texas BBQ Posse. HIs proudest moment? Coining the phrase "Let the meat speak for itself" as the Posse walked into Kreuz Market in Lockhart for the first time.
A two-decade veteran of the IT department at The Dallas Morning News, Jim Rossman also writes for the paper's Personal Technology page. Besides eating BBQ, his hobbies include wood-working and pawn shopping. His favorite BBQ experience was his first visit to Franklin BBQ when it was still a trailer.
A real estate professional with Capstone Commercial, Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper learned the art of slow smoking meat from his late father. Now using his fourth custom Jambo pit, Marshall has cooked with such BBQ legends as Chris Lilly, Jamie Geer, John Mueller, and John Lewis. He and his son, Mark, cook for special father-son events at Dean Fearing's restaurant in Dallas.
A former litigator, Phil Lamb’s true passions, other than BBQ, are hunting, fishing and wildlife conservation. He’s the Posse’s preferred wheelman on road trips and a pro at executing the “Texas turnoff” when necessary to reach the next BBQ destination. Phil is also the most likely Posse member to talk his way out of a ticket when the highway patrol pulls us over.
On the Posse cook team, Bryan Gooding has earned the nicknames “Chicken King” and “Sausage King” by winning those categories at the annual Oak Cliff Blues, Bandits and BBQ event in Dallas. He currently lives on a "farm to table" island in Washington state where he is always looking for unique combinations of Northwest products and Texas barbecue.
A commercial photographer based in Denton, Tx., Gary Barber is a 6th-generation Texan who grew up on mesquite and live oak smoked meats. To this day his favorite barbecue trip was with a small group that inspired “The Posse.” After years of eating bad barbecue, the brisket for breakfast that morning at Snow's let him know that it was finally safe to order brisket again.
Professional photographer by trade, Mike Gibson bridges the old school to the new school, from film to digital, from newsroom to the boardroom. The same with BBQ. Mike learned by watching his “Papaw” cook great ribs and brisket on a Weber bullet smoker and is now himself an avid amateur chef who loves to entertain. He is also a Leo, likes to dance and his favorite color is blue.