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Win a free meal with the Texas BBQ Posse at DFW’s favorite joint

UPDATE:  And the winner is……….. Hutchins BBQ in McKinney. Click here to see photos of the favorite D/FW joint, as voted by Dallas Morning News readers. ORIGINAL ITEM:  The Dallas Morning News just launched a new poll for readers to pick their favorite barbecue joint in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. As a bonus, one voter and his or her guest will be treated to a meal at the winning joint by the Posse. Get all the details at The News’ Web site and don’t forget to Tweet a link to the poll with the hashtag #texasbbqposse to become eligible for…
 - 01/10/2014
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Zip Code 78702 — East Austin — the center of the Texas BBQ universe

Tom Micklethwait, pitmaster & owner of Micklethwait Craft Meats. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Last spring we wrote that Austin had replaced Lockhart as the new barbecue capital of Texas. Now, with La Barbecue moving east of I-35, we’re prepared to be even more specific. East Austin, specifically Zip Code 78702, is the undisputed center of the Texas barbecue universe. La Barbecue, with pit boss John Lewis, opens this week in its new location at the corner of East 6th Street and Waller. According to Google, that puts La Barbecue about a half-mile (a 9-minute walk) from Franklin Barbecue on East…
 - 12/03/2013
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A Thanksgiving turkey tribute to Walt and all the grill masters and pitmasters who pass along the tradition

Libby & Gunnar Jacobson at the cabin on Grindstone Island in 1991. With the Posse, I’ve eaten turkey at some of the best barbecue joints in Texas, including Franklin Barbecue in Austin and Stanley’s in Tyler. Their turkey breast is first rate, no question, just like their other smoked meats. But the most memorable turkey I’ve ever eaten still remains Walt Scheela’s, cooked at his cabin on Grindstone Island. The ambiance is important. One of 1,600 islands in Rainey Lake, Grindstone is located about 10 miles East of International Falls, Mn. Look one direction across the water and you see…
 - 11/21/2013
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Posse member Bruce Tomaso nominates Justin and Diane Fourton of Pecan Lodge as Texans of the Year

Diane & Justin Fourton, owners of Pecan Lodge. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Note: The Dallas Morning News editorial department selects a Texan of the Year. Posse member Bruce Tomaso recently nominated Diane and Justin Fourton of Pecan Lodge for the honor. With permission, we are reprinting Bruce’s Viewpoints column from The News. By BRUCE TOMASO Wendy Davis can talk on her feet. Ted Cruz can talk with his foot in his mouth. But neither of them can cook a world-class smoked brisket. Neither of them helped change the public face of Texas cuisine. The people who did that are Justin…
 - 11/16/2013
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Making the most of the ‘golden hour’ at Texas Monthly’s BBQ Fest

Pitmaster Justin Fourton of Pecan Lodge in Dallas shows off his brisket at the 2013 Texas Monthly BBQ Festival. Note: Posse members Libby and Mike Gagne, who live in Austin, attended Sunday’s Texas Monthly BBQ Festival (TMBBQ Fest 2013), which brings together many of the best joints in the state. Libby and Mike were guests of Phil Winters of FoodyDirect, an Internet food site that advertises on this blog. Here is Libby’s report from the event. We queued up at about 11 a.m. and were admitted to the festival at noon, and enjoyed a “Golden Hour” of reduced lines and…
 - 11/06/2013
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After Blues, Bandits & BBQ IV, the Posse salutes its sales team and bribery on a crostini

Bryan Gooding & R.J. Hinkle set up for the Blues, Bandits & BBQ cook off.  Photo by Chris Wilkins A barbecue competition team operates pretty much like a typical manufacturing company. That comparison became clear after the Posse competed in the fourth annual Blues, Bandits and BBQ cook off in Oak Cliff this past weekend. We had our production staff, the guys who actually cooked the meat, working around the clock. We had distribution staff, the meat cutters and runners who made sure contest entries got to the judges on time and food samples got to our serving table. And we…
 - 10/31/2013
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Echoes of Pat Gee’s at Whup’s Boomerang Bar-B-Q in Marlin

A hand-painted sign greets you at Whup’s Boomerang Barbecue in Marlin. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Our first view of Whup’s Boomerang Bar-B-Q in Marlin brought back some nice memories. We hadn’t seen such a genuinely classic-looking joint since our last visit to Pat Gee’s in the woods east of Tyler. While Pat’s is nestled among pine trees and pasture on a rural road, Whup’s is on a thinly settled residential street where the edge of town invades the country. A hand-painted sign – the Posse loves hand-painted BBQ signs – greets visitors to a small building that has been…
 - 08/13/2013
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The power of return customers on display at Kirby’s Barbeque in Mexia

A customer arrives at Kirby’s Barbeque in Mexia. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Luckily, we got to Kirby’s Barbeque near Mexia about 11:30 on Friday morning. So, at noon, while the line of lunch customers was building, we were already eating some excellent brisket and some very good ribs. At one point, Posse veteran Bruce Tomaso counted 20 people waiting to order at this rural barbecue outpost about 90 miles south of Dallas. Considering that Big D is roughly 150 times larger than Mexia, population nearly 8,000, Tomaso calculated that an equivalent line at Pecan Lodge would number 3,000. That…
 - 08/07/2013
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At Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton, expansion means same great barbecue and now a bar, too

Pitmaster and owner Dirk Miller stands outside Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton. (Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) On the looks-like scale, Dirk Miller is closer to Kris Kringle than Tom Cruise. But the owner of Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton was channeling Cruise from Risky Business when we visited last week during our Heart of Texas BBQ Tour. For Miller, too, the dream is always the same: He awakes and the sun is shining through his windows, meaning it’s 8 a.m., meaning he overslept, meaning he didn’t get the pits fired by the required 2 or 3 a.m., meaning disaster for his barbecue…
 - 08/05/2013
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Growing up with Aaron Franklin and other Posse tales that deserve a second look

There have been many meals & just as many stories to tell since our first BBQ tour in November 2009. (Photo ©Gary Barber) In the past, we’ve told you about our most popular blog posts and offered a readers’ guide to all the tours we’ve written about in our Barbecue Chronicles. Now, we’re going to give you a short guide to the other end of the Posse blog spectrum. These aren’t our least popular posts. We’ll keep those buried to protect the innocent. But for whatever reason, these posts didn’t receive the attention we thought they would. Maybe the headlines…
 - 07/18/2013
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How Daniel Vaughn, the BBQ Snob, turned himself into the hottest brand in smoked meat

Daniel Vaughn bites into a rib at the Baby Back Shak in 2009. (Photo by David Woo/The Dallas Morning News) (Note: Rebecca LaFlure is a Texas native, long-time barbecue fan and journalism graduate student at Northwestern University. Prior to attending Northwestern, she worked as a reporter for media outlets in Killeen and Austin. She currently covers national security as a fellow at the Center for Public Integrity in Washington D.C. The following article was initially written as a research paper for a 21st Century Media course at Northwestern.) By Rebecca LaFlure On March 21, Texas Monthly announced it hired someone…
 - 07/12/2013
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Stay tuned for a story about Daniel Vaughn, the BBQ Snob, and how he became the No.1 brand in barbecue. . .you will like it

Daniel Vaughn photographs his breakfast at Snow’s BBQ in Lexington. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) We’ve got a treat for you. And since you are all — y’all — Texas barbecue fans, you are used to waiting in lines for the good stuff, right? So, wait just a little longer. Rebecca LaFlure, a Texas native, long-time barbecue fan and graduate student at Northwestern University, did a research paper recently for her  21st Century Media course on branding and how Daniel Vaughn, Texas Monthly barbecue editor, became the dominant brand in all of barbecue. You might call it, the making of a…
 - 07/11/2013
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Houston-area barbecue fans finally get hip and learn how to form a line at Killen’s Pop-Up BBQ in Pearland

Long line at Killen’s BBQ in Pearland last Saturday. (Photo by Bryan Norton/bbqtreasurehunt.com) “Magic tingle.” That’s how Bryan Norton, a blogger who rides a motorcycle to many of the barbecue joints he visits, describes the experience of tasting perfect brisket. “It’s that magic combination of pepper, salt, perfectly rendered fat, and of course brisket that literally travels through your body,” he explained recently on the Posse’s Facebook page. “I’ve seen it make people giggle, laugh, roll their eyes back in their head, high-five and sometimes all of those at once,” Norton wrote. The Posse can’t argue. That may be the…
 - 07/07/2013
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First Look: Work Bar & Grill in Deep Ellum, Dallas

Brisket plate with sides of cole slaw and tortellini mac & cheese at Work Bar & Grill. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Editors note: This joint is now closed. A philosophical question: Can a place that has more salads on its menu than smoked meats be called a barbecue joint? After sampling the brisket, pulled pork and chicken at Work Bar and Grill in Deep Ellum, the Posse answers “Yes.” We also are better able to answer a couple of other pressing Dallas barbecue questions. Where’s a good place to have a sit-down barbecue dinner with drinks? Lockhart Smokehouse used…
 - 06/28/2013
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Yes, we’re all riding the wave of this Texas barbecue phenomenon

  Lockhart Smokehouse pitmaster Will Fleischman. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves/Fotobia.com) A while back, after the lunch rush and long before dinner, I was sipping a beer and talking to Will Fleischman, the pitmaster-philosopher at Lockhart Smokehouse in Dallas. Is the Texas barbecue bubble going to burst? I asked. Will the culinary accolades from around the country and the long lines of customers here eventually go away? Fleischman acknowledged that the frenzy for Texas barbecue might someday cool. But, he said, he was going to ride the wave of popularity as far as it goes. He had been employed at Lockhart since…
 - 06/24/2013
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Why I love and hate — at the same time — Tim Byres’ new cookbook, Smoke

Filets with Tim Byres’ BBQ Beef Coffee Cure (Photo by Gary Jacobson) My friend, Martha Gooding, says if you get one good recipe out of a cookbook, the book is worth the price. By that measure, Tim Byres’ new cookbook, Smoke, is a tremendous bargain. I got two great recipes, and if you stay to the end of this post you’ll get one of them: Byres’ BBQ Beef Coffee Cure. So far I’ve used it twice, on New York strip steaks and filets. It’s wonderful. Hope to try it soon on brisket. The other great recipe is for homemade sour…
 - 06/20/2013
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Posse winner talks about growing up with Aaron Franklin and the future of barbecue in Texas

Aaron Franklin, right, and his bandmates in Those Peabodys. (Photo courtesy of Post-Parlo Records) Please pardon our tardiness, we’re a bit late with this post. Neil Gallagher of Bryan won last month’s Texas barbecue giveaway offered by FoodyDirect in partnership with the Posse. FoodyDirect, an online food marketplace, randomly selected his name from among more than 200 entries. When I contacted Gallagher, 35, to congratulate him, the conversation ranged widely, from his win to even pondering the future of barbecue in Texas. He said he grew up in Bryan with Aaron Franklin, now the reigning barbecue baron of the state.…
 - 06/18/2013
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Lots of gorilla dust in the Texas barbecue world…Why?

Customers wait in line at Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) I don’t know if Ross Perot likes barbecue. He’s Texan, so probably. But it doesn’t really matter. He had the perfect term for what’s happening now in some parts of the Texas barbecue world. Gorilla dust. Whenever Ross saw sideshows obscure real issues, whenever he saw posturing and anemic attempts at intimidation, he called it “gorilla dust.” For him, cutting through b.s. was the only way to do business. That approach helped make him a business legend. During the past week or so, as I’ve…
 - 06/15/2013
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6 things the Posse learned from its DFW Top 7 BBQ Tour

Lockhart Smokehouse, Dallas, Texas. (Photo ©Daniel Gonclaves/Fotobia.com) 1. Pecan Lodge, without a doubt, is the best joint in DFW. We already knew this, but it was reinforced as we toured the 7 area places that made Texas Monthly’s new Top 50 list. There isn’t a weak spot in pitmaster Justin Fourton’s smoked meat lineup. 2. Bartley’s BBQ in Grapevine and Cousin’s Barbecue in Fort Worth don’t belong among the Top 50, for food or atmosphere. 3. Call ahead to Meshack’s to make sure it’s open. We didn’t and we paid the price when the place was closed. We wound up eating…
 - 06/12/2013
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Longoria’s definitely belongs on Texas Monthly’s new Top 50 list; not so Cousin’s

Meats sit on the smoker at Longoria’s BBQ in Everman. (Photo©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Longoria’s BBQ in Everman turns out some pretty stout ribs, but the star of the menu is the brisket sausage, no doubt about it. “Brisket sausage, I don’t think life gets better than that,” Posse member Magda Michna Goncalves said during the final day of our “DFW Top 7 BBQ Tour” after she tasted Longoria’s specialty. To be proper, we should probably refer to Magda as Dr. Michna Goncalves. Among its members, the Posse numbers several JDs, and we just picked up a reverend, but Magda…
 - 06/11/2013
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‘Bikes, Blues, and Barbecues,’ about a father and son bicycle tour through Texas, now available as an e-book

Robby Landauer rides between Lockhart and Bastrop, on the way to Giddings. This was the longest day of their tour. You may remember the father and son — Tim and Robby Landauer — who made the bicycle barbecue tour through the Central Texas heartland. We published an item about them in March after Robby sent us a copy of an unpublished manuscript he had written about the trip titled “Bikes, Blues, and Barbecues: Me, my dad and our three favorite things.” Now, Robby Landauer has turned his manuscript into an e-book, available both through Amazon and Google Play. “You don’t need…
 - 06/10/2013
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First Look at Jambo’s BBQ: Great start for the new place from pit builder and competition pro Jamie Geer

Dining room at the newly-opened Jambo’s BBQ Shack in Rendon. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Jamie Geer of Burleson is a big-time barbecue competitor and has been called the da Vinci of barbecue pit builders with his sleek-looking and good-cooking line of Jambo smokers. Now, he is trying his hand at running a barbecue joint, called Jambo’s BBQ Shack and Catering, located in Rendon, not far from his home. We visited Saturday, the end of Jambo’s first week in business. “It’s been crazy,” Geer said as he cut orders for a steady line of lunch customers. We sampled his brisket,…
 - 06/08/2013
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A bell-ringer of a meal at Pecan Lodge during Day 4 of the Posse’s Dallas-Fort Worth barbecue tour

In return for being first in line at Pecan Lodge, Chris Wilkins rings the bell as lunch service begins. (Photo ©Jim Rossman) Where to begin to tell the story of Day 4 of the Posse’s week long-tour of the best joints in Dallas-Fort Worth? How about with Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins getting to ring the dinner bell for the start of service at Pecan Lodge. Wilkins earned the honor by arriving at Shed 2 at the Dallas Farmers Market at 9:15 a.m., a full hour and 45 minutes before Pecan Lodge opened, and 45 minutes before the shed itself opened.…
 - 06/07/2013
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A short meditation on baseball and barbecue disappointment, serious barbecue disappointment

The sad sight of an empty parking lot at MeShack’s Bar-B-Que on a Tuesday at 11:30am. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins) As any baseball fan knows, life is all about hitting curve balls. Constant curve balls. And so it goes with barbecue, too. The Posse re-discovered that important lesson Tuesday, the second day of its week-long “DFW Top 7 BBQ Tour,” our plan to hit all of the area joints that made Texas Monthly’s new Top 50 list. What started so grandly at Hutchins BBQ in McKinney on Monday, however, derailed badly in Garland. “The train went off the tracks and down…
 - 06/05/2013
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Hutchins BBQ in McKinney sets the bar high for the Posse’s DFW Top 7 Tour

Hutchins BBQ in McKinney has some of the best prices in the DFW area. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) We kicked off the Posse’s “DFW Top 7 BBQ Tour” Monday at Hutchins BBQ in McKinney and we came away agreeing unanimously that the smoked meat bar had been set very high for the rest of the week. “If I lived up here I’d probably eat here once a week,” Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins said of Hutchins. “I can’t believe how this place has stayed under the radar.” The brisket and ribs were outstanding and the turkey was good. The only…
 - 06/04/2013
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