Gary Jacobson

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More evidence that Lockhart has lost its barbecue magic

Smitty’s Market oak wood pile & the Caldwell County courthouse. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) On our way back to Dallas from our recent Houston-area barbecue tour, all 6 Posse members on the trip listed their top 5 joints in the state, in no particular order. Specific criteria probably varied from person to person, but these would be places we’d drive across the state to eat at or recommend to good friends that they do the same. Since then, we’ve been asked to run each person’s top 5. Those lists are below. Three joints mentioned by each of us: Killen’s…
 - 02/01/2015
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Greater Houston, we have barbecue redemption

The four meat plate with a link of boudin brought a smile to Posse faces at Ray’s Real Pit BBQ Shack in Houston. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) In a previous post, careful readers might wonder about the heading over the itinerary of our weekend trip: “Houston Redemption BBQ Tour” What’s that all about? Flash back to the Posse’s first Gulf Coast tour two years ago. It was disappointing. The only good barbecue we found was in Galveston, 50 miles away. “Houston, we have a barbecue problem” was the headline on that chapter of our BBQ Chronicles. Some of our…
 - 09/29/2014
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Smoked meatloaf is a hit at Texas Smoke BBQ Co. in Sanger

The Posse samples various smoked meats at Texas Smoke BBQ Co. in Sanger. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) In the 5 years the Posse has been on the hunt for the best smoked meats in Texas, we’ve met lots of people chasing their barbecue restaurant dreams, including a preacher, a city councilman, and former corporate consultants. Jay Coin, the owner and pit master at Texas Smoke BBQ Co. in Sanger, is our first former undertaker. Texas Smoke was the second stop of our recent Denton County tour. We traveled 120 miles in 6 hours and ate at 4 places. Coin’s place,…
 - 09/10/2014
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Barbecue photography the old-fashioned way

Posse member Bruce Tomaso lends a hand with a reflector as photojournalist Guy Reynolds focuses in on Big Daddy’s Ribs & BBQ owner Blake Merrell in Little Elm. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) If you follow this blog, you know it regularly features great barbecue photography. Several Posse members are photographers and they bring their equipment — all kinds of equipment — when we go on tours. Our recent Denton County tour, though, saw the most unusual piece of equipment yet. Guy Reynolds used a tripod mounted Graflex to shoot portraits of some of the pitmasters we visited. On other tours,…
 - 09/03/2014
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Bet the House BBQ in Denton gets high marks from the Posse and football guru Rick Gosselin

The Posse digs into a platter of smoked meats at Bet the House BBQ in Denton. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Rick Gosselin is one of the foremost football experts in the country. When he says the Dallas Cowboys offense is not yet ready for the regular season, as he did this past weekend, fans — and the Cowboys — should take serious notice. The Dallas Morning News columnist also knows barbecue. A couple weeks ago, he emailed us about a new place in Denton, Bet The House BBQ, where he had just eaten. “Brisket was awesome,” he wrote, encouraging…
 - 08/24/2014
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Smoked cheese a highlight at Big Daddy’s Ribs & BBQ in Little Elm

A waitress delivers our first course, a four-meat platter at Big Daddy’s Ribs & BBQ. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) We called it our Denton County BBQ Tour, but it could have just as easily been named the Lake Country Tour. As we traveled 120 miles in 6 hours to eat at 4 joints on a recent Saturday, we crossed 3 different bridges over Lake Lewisville and drove atop the Ray Roberts Lake Dam. Seeing the water, the boats, the parks, and the nice shoreside homes was a pleasant respite from the heat, which approached 100 degrees. And then we…
 - 08/23/2014
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Strong reviews for CorkScrew BBQ in Spring…but

  Brisket, ribs & sausage at CorkScrew BBQ in Sprint. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) The food is excellent at CorkScrew BBQ, a trailer joint located behind a shopping center in Spring: “This could be a Top 10 joint,” said friend of the Posse Bryan Norton, who joined us on this stop in our 35-hour, 610-mile barbecue tour of the Houston area. “I can’t stop eating,” said Posse member Phil Lamb as he picked from a selection of fatty brisket, pork ribs, turkey, sausage, pulled pork and chopped brisket. Later he said he would have liked more smoke flavor on the brisket and…
 - 07/21/2014
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High on smoke and creamed corn, BBQ eureka at Killen’s BBQ

Pork ribs, brisket, potato salad & creamed corn at Killen’s BBQ in Pearland. (Photo by Daniel Goncalves/fotobia.com) Just a week after the Posse’s barbecue tour of Houston-area joints, Posse member Daniel Goncalves and his wife, Magda, made a return visit, including a trip to Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland, which might just be the best barbecue joint in the state. Daniel says he had a couple of new barbecue revelations while high on smoke and creamed corn. Here is his report: My wife and I decided at the last minute to spend the 4th of July weekend in Houston. The previous…
 - 07/14/2014
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Robust flavors make Brooks’ Place in Cypress a BBQ winner

Our meal of Brisket, deer sausage & pork ribs at Brook’s Place in Cypress. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) In the Spring of 2013, Trent Brooks said, he was struggling to sell 3 or 4 briskets a day from his barbecue trailer located in an Ace Hardware parking lot in Cypress, outside Houston. “Then one Wednesday,” he recalled, “I opened and all of a sudden my Twitter account exploded. In an hour, I was done.” Sold out. The next day, he said, there were about 50 people in line when he opened. What happened? Brooks’ Place made Texas Monthly’s list…
 - 07/10/2014
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From the NFL to Ray’s BBQ Shack in Houston, meet Herb Taylor, pit master in training

Herb Taylor, co-owner of Ray’s Real BBQ Shack in Houston. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves/fotobia.com) At TCU in Fort Worth, offensive tackle Herb Taylor started every game during his four-year college football career. He was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2007 and spent time with four other NFL teams over six years. Herb Taylor as a Kansas City Chief. Now out of football, Taylor is a co-owner and self described “pit master in training” at Ray’s Real Pit BBQ Shack in Houston. The other co-owners are Ray Busch and Maxine Davis, Taylor’s mother, who were’t there when we stopped. Taylor…
 - 07/07/2014
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Killen’s in Pearland might just be the best BBQ joint in Texas

Customers wait for the 11am opening of Killen’s BBQ in Pearland on Saturday morning. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Even before we had finished eating at Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland on Saturday, the great debate began. “When you factor everything in, this is the best barbecue place in Texas,” declared Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins. We ate brisket, pork ribs, pork belly, beef ribs, turkey and sausage. Everything was excellent — moist, flavorful and nicely cooked. On a scouting mission in May, Posse member Jim Rossman called the food at Killen’s, which opened in a permanent location early this year, “spectacular.”…
 - 06/29/2014
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Stellar preview for the new Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum, Dallas

Owners Diane & Justin Fourton address the crowd at Pecan Lodge’s preview party. (Photo by Jim Rossman) All right. The new Pecan Lodge will open Friday, May 23, ending nearly a couple weeks of Dallas barbecue drought since the original joint last served at the Farmers Market on May 11. That’s the grand opening target for the new place on Main Street in Deep Ellum, according to owner/pitmaster Justin Fourton, who with his wife, Diane, hosted a preview party Thursday attended by about 200 guests. The new space is wonderful. And the food won’t miss a beat, according to many…
 - 05/16/2014
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Some great BBQ joint names, and some great food, too

Clockwise from top left, our stops included Buck Snort BBQ, The First Baptist Church of Bells, Cackle & Oink BBQ and Bull Hollar BBQ.  (Photos ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Had this been an official Posse outing, we would have called it the All-Time Best BBQ Name Tour. Covering 180 miles over 7 hours last Saturday, we ate at Buck Snort BBQ in Van Alstyne, Bull Hollar BBQ in Bells and Cackle & Oink BBQ in Sherman. As names for Texas joints go, that’s a whole lot spicier than Franklin, Pecan Lodge and Kreuz Market. Mid-trip, we also ate at the First…
 - 04/23/2014
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Some barbecue bracketology: The Posse picks the best of the best in Dallas-Fort Worth for the Final Four

Pecan Lodge had a strong showing on the Posse’s Best of the Best DFW BBQ list. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BB Posse) While compiling our list for Final Four fans of the best Dallas-Forth Worth area barbecue joints, we also engaged in some smoked meat bracketology. We rated the best-of-the-best individual menu items — and some other categories — from the field of North Texas competitors. For this task, we relied on the opinions of 6 veteran Posse members. All have eaten a lot of barbecue since we started going on tours in 2009. All have strong opinions. There was just one…
 - 04/02/2014
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Hey, Final Four fans! Here’s the Posse’s guide to the best BBQ in Dallas-Fort Worth

Over the years, readers have asked the Posse for barbecue joint recommendations. Those requests have increased recently with the Final Four of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament headed to North Texas. So, here is our list of best places in the Dallas-Forth Worth area. None of them is more than an hour’s drive from AT&T Stadium. The closest is right across the street. One reader asked what may be the ultimate question this year for barbecue fans who also enjoy a little college basketball: Pecan Lodge or Hutchins? Our answer: Figure out how to eat at both. These are probably…
 - 03/31/2014
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Give customers what they want, says Pit Stop BBQ boss

Award-winning pitmaster Steve Graham and his primary smoker at Pit Stop BBQ. (Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) An experienced competition cook, Steve Graham has filled his Pit Stop BBQ restaurant outside Waxahachie with trophies and plaques. He knows how to cook for a tough audience, judges, even different sets of judges. For example, he said, he always tried to get a look at the judges before he started preparing his meat. Older judges like salt, he said. “In a competition, that first taste is everything,” Graham said. So the flavor has to be bold and great. If you read our posts…
 - 03/25/2014
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In Texas, barbecued bologna is not the new turkey

Pitmaster Terry Massey slices smoked bologna at Lazy S&M BBQ in Joshua. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) A year ago, after our best of Austin tour, we wrote about how turkey breast was making a move to join the royal family of Texas barbecue: brisket, pork ribs, and sausage. We’re still not ready to give the big bird equal status, but we order it whenever we see it on menus. A lot of joints in the state are smoking great turkey. On our recent South of DFW Tour, three of the four places we visited served barbecued bologna. Different, we…
 - 03/22/2014
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A second opinion on the Posse’s South of DFW BBQ Tour

Michael Meadows, left, and the Posse dig in at Pit Stop BBQ in Waxahachie. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Maybe there was a time, long ago, when I was surprised at how seriously people take barbecue. But certainly not anymore. Take Michael Meadows, one of the Posse’s newest members. He and his family were in Colorado skiing last week. They drove 900 miles Friday arriving back in Dallas just before midnight. And yet Meadows made the starting gate with the rest of us Saturday morning at the first stop of our South of DFW Tour. During the day, we ate at…
 - 03/21/2014
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On the barbecue trail, the Posse crosses an historic past and meets again one of its favorite dishes, the Jambo Texan

The legendary Jambo Texan sandwich was one of the highlights of our BBQ tour. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins) On the way to Lazy S&M BBQ in Joshua, the second stop of our recent South of DFW Tour, we crossed the Chisholm Trail Parkway. The 27-mile toll road, which runs from Fort Worth to Cleburne, is scheduled to open later this year. It was an interesting moment of synchronicity. Our modern barbecue trail intersected — symbolically anyway — part of the historic route that Texas cowboys used a century and a half ago to drive their cattle to the railroads. Some might…
 - 03/18/2014
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Rave reviews for BBQ on the Brazos from the Posse

Pitmaster John Sanford works the cutting board at BBQ on the Brazos. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Too bad Posse member Bruce Tomaso didn’t make our tour last weekend. We could have renewed our recent wood-versus-gas debate when our first stop, BBQ on the Brazos in Cresson, got rave reviews from everyone present. BBQ on the Brazos uses a gas-fired Ole Hickory smoker. “How many of our tours have started off with barbecue better than this?” said Posse member Phil Lamb. Technically, it was a question. But like all good attorneys, Lamb knew the answer before he asked: Very, very…
 - 03/16/2014
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Hutchins BBQ in McKinney can hang with Austin’s best and it’s open all day

(L-R) Jim Rossman, Kathy and Steve Hunt, Gary Jacobson, Michael Landauer, Bruce Tomaso and Gary Barber at Hutchins BBQ. (Photo by Tom Fox) For quality, the barbecue benchmarks are clear for Tim Hutchins, owner of Hutchins BBQ in McKinney. “We’re shooting for those guys in Austin,” Hutchins said during the Posse’s recent visit to his joint. He said he and his crew regularly travel to the new BBQ Capital of Texas to sample the fare at places like Franklin BBQ, la Barbecue and John Mueller Meat Co. They also visit Pecan Lodge in Dallas. But Hutchins is even more ambitious.…
 - 02/28/2014
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Is the Posse going soft on gassers?

Massive wood pile outside Smitty’s Market in downtown Lockhart. (Photo by Jeff Haynes) In the 4-year history of this blog, no topic has incited more passion than the wood-fired versus gas-fired smoker debate. The Posse has been pro-wood. All wood. Almost to an extreme. We once called out Texas Monthly for including gas-fired joints on its Top 50 list. But perhaps we have mellowed a bit as at least one of us edges ever closer to Medicare eligibility. On our recent Mid-Cities mini-tour, we liked the food at Eddie Deen Crossroads Smokehouse in Arlington even though the ribs and chicken…
 - 02/20/2014
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The food takes a back seat to the atmosphere at North Main and Hard Eight

A pitmaster tends the smoker at Hard Eight BBQ in Coppell. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) North Main BBQ has lots of fans. We know that. Ever since the very first Posse tour five years ago, readers have told us that we need to get to the Euless joint, which is only open Friday through Sunday. Tardy but determined, we finally made it during our Mid-Cities mini-tour. North Main was our second stop, sandwiched between Eddie Deen Crossroads Smokehouse in Arlington and Hard Eight BBQ in Coppell. It was nice, relaxed tour, covering 60 miles in 3 1/2 hours. After…
 - 02/17/2014
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Arlington’s Crossroads Smokehouse stands out during the Posse’s Mid-Cities mini-tour

Brisket is sliced at Eddie Deen Crossroads Smokehouse in Arlington.  (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves/Fotobia.com) It has been a few months since the Posse went on a barbecue tour. So, it was nice to get back on the trail again this past weekend, if only briefly. We ate at three joints during a 60-mile, 3 1/2-hour mini-tour through the Mid-Cities between Dallas and Fort Worth. Over the course of the tour, a couple of Posse members made cameo appearances, but our main group numbered 8, including some newcomers: Michael Meadows, president of the Dallas Zoological Society; Mark Vamos, who holds an endowed…
 - 02/13/2014
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An unusual smoker and some BBQ bling at North Main in Euless

North Main BBQ owner Ray Green and his infamous armadillo smoker. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves/Fotobia.com) Over the years, the Posse has run into some unusual smokers on the barbecue trail, such as Big Baby, used by pitmaster Jeremiah “Baby J” McKenzie. Saturday we saw another: A 2,200-pound armadillo at North Main BBQ in Euless. Logs go in the mouth and smoke comes out the tail. This smoker is anatomically correct, right down to its brass balls, says owner Ray Green. “We made him for the Texas Sesquicentennial so he’s in his 28th year,” Green said. March 2, Texas Independence Day, is…
 - 02/11/2014
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