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Hays County BBQ_01

Big expansion for Hays County Bar-B-Que

The pits burn 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at Hays County Bar-B-Que in San Marcos. Jessie Miranda, the general manager at Hays County Bar-B-Que & Catering in San Marcos, is old school. The joint doesn’t use temperature gauges to judge the doneness of its briskets. It’s all about how the meat looks and feels to the touch. “The only thing we probe is poultry, sausage and sometimes a pork chop,” he said. Miranda is also old school in his approach to competition: Bring it on. “We got room to go,” he said. “There’s plenty business for everybody.…
 - 05/25/2017
Snows BBQ

Snow’s BBQ, well deserved No. 1 for Texas Monthly

Early Saturday morning light hits the smoker area as pitmaster Tootsie Tomanetz works at Snow’s BBQ in Lexington. So we missed — widely — when we predicted last month that Killen’s Barbecue in suburban Houston would be No. 1 on Texas Monthly’s list of the Top 50 joints in Texas. But we applaud — loudly — the magazine’s decision this week to put Snow’s BBQ on top. In all the years the Posse has been touring, breakfast at the Lexington place on a Saturday morning remains our favorite trip. “It’s the ultimate Texas BBQ experience: great food, great people and the…
 - 05/22/2017
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2M Smokehouse video: Living the BBQ dream

2M Smokehouse video: Owners Esaul Ramos, left, and Joe Melig at the counter of their San Antonio restaurant. Esaul Ramos, co-owner and pit master at 2M Smokehouse in San Antonio, has some advice for anyone who thinks they might want to smoke meat for a living. “Don’t get into barbecue unless you really, really love it,” Ramos told the Posse recently during a visit to his joint when we also taped a short video in his smokehouse. With a mattress propped against a nearby wall, Ramos explained how he and partner, Joe Melig, literally camp out there during their long…
 - 05/21/2017
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Opening night of Hot Luck Austin at Franklin’s

BBQ Snob Daniel Vaughn served a nice steak taco at Hot Luck Austin. Hot Luck Austin, the new food festival, officially opened Thursday night at Franklin Barbecue, near downtown. With the State Capitol building visible, the joint’s “back yard” is a great spot for a party. As normal, though, when Posse member Mike Gagne and I arrived a few minutes before the 6 p.m. start, there was a line. We were 40 or so back. But it moved quickly and there was never much backup at the seven chef stations over the next three hours. The event was open only…
 - 05/19/2017
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Forget Texas, go to Smokey D’s for ribs

Lunch at Smokey D’s BBQ in Des Moines, Iowa. Clockwise from top left, Texas toast, pork ribs, turkey, sausage and brisket. I’m a Texan, so it has taken me a few days to get up the courage to write this. The best pork ribs I’ve ever eaten weren’t cooked in the Lone Star State. No, they were cooked about 950 miles north of ATX in Des Moines, Iowa, at a place called Smokey D’s BBQ. Sherry Jacobson and I stopped there in the middle of a recent Monday afternoon while driving to Minnesota. “Oh, yeah,” I said after taking a…
 - 05/14/2017
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New look for Micklethwait Craft Meats, same great brisket

Three-meat plate with fatty brisket, a big pork rib, and knockwurst sausage & sides at Micklethwait Craft Meats. Micklethwait Craft Meats, the excellent barbecue joint near downtown Austin, had a new look when we stopped there for lunch this week. “Gussied up” was the term that immediately came to mind, though it might be a tad high brow for a trailer operation. But it sure looked nice. The space leading to and under the service windows is now covered with pea gravel and several large concrete pavers, and a new planter near the main seating was ready for some greenery. Before,…
 - 05/11/2017
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At Cattleack BBQ, we go behind TV action

Cattleack BBQ owner and pitmaster Todd David points out the menu items to customers. You might have seen a news story that Cattleack BBQ is going to be featured on a new Food Network show called Incredible Edible America with the Dunhams, starring comedian/ventriloquist Jeff Dunham and his wife Audrey, a food blogger. Each show is centered around one city and the one of the shows is about Dallas. The series premieres June 5, but we don’t know yet exactly when the Dallas episode is scheduled to air. I was asked by Cattleack owners Todd and Misty David to attend…
 - 05/06/2017
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No ghosts, just good BBQ spirit at Stiles Switch

Lunch at Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew in Austin, including sausage, pork ribs, brisket, beef rib, smoked fried chicken wings and sides. There’s a lot of history swirling around Stiles Switch BBQ and Brew in Austin. It’s located in what was the city’s first shopping center, built in 1951. And the space now occupied by the joint was the movie location for the pool hall in Dazed and Confused, the 1993 comedy that made Matthew McConaughey famous. “All right, all right, all right.” But if you’re a railroad fan, particularly one who might be partial to ghosts, there’s an even…
 - 04/30/2017
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Finding BBQ truth, wisdom in the land of sauce

A clock showing the legendary pitmaster hangs on the wall at Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque in Kansas City. When in Rome, the saying goes. And that’s exactly what we did recently in Kansas City. We went to Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque. While the food didn’t sync with my Texas tastes, the atmosphere was wonderful at this classic joint on the edge of downtown. Of course, when talking about Bryant’s, sooner or later, Calvin Trillin’s 1972 Playboy article gets mentioned. Trillin, from Kansas City, wrote then: “It has long been acknowledged that the single best restaurant in the world is Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque at 18th…
 - 04/28/2017
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Winners expands its BBQ dream from Plano to Cedar Hill

Two-meat plate with brisket & baby back ribs, baked beans and mac & cheese at Winners BBQ in Plano. Two years ago Maegan and De’Andre Jackson took a leap of faith and opened Winners BBQ in east Plano. They had shared the dream of opening up a BBQ joint since college, where they met as students at Iowa State. De’Andre grew up cooking barbecue, his dad was a backyard pitmaster who cooked for the neighborhood, then got into catering and eventually opened a restaurant. Growing up in Garland, De’Andre was an All Big 12 defensive back for the Cyclones with aspirations to play…
 - 04/25/2017
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Fargo’s brisket might be best BBQ value in Texas

Brisket, chicken, pork ribs & sausage at Fargo’s BBQ in Bryan, a favorite stop for the Posse. Frugal isn’t a word I’d use to describe the Posse. When we see something at a joint that looks good, we order it, whatever the price. But as we’ve journeyed the Texas BBQ trail the past couple weeks, I’ve been struck by brisket prices: $22 a pound at Franklin Barbecue, $24 at LeRoy and Lewis, the excellent new trailer joint in south Austin, $20 or so at several other places. Fargo’s BBQ co-owner Belender Wells shows their new barbecue sauce.(Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ…
 - 04/21/2017
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Killen’s will be #1 on Texas Monthly’s Top 50 BBQ list, the Posse predicts

Diners wait for Killen’s BBQ to open on a Saturday morning in Pearland, a suburb of Houston. Be bold. That advice from an old boss recently ran through my head here at Posse HQ as we contemplated stepping off the barbecue cliff. We took the step. Yes, we are predicting that Killen’s Barbecue in suburban Houston will be No. 1 on Texas Monthly’s highly anticipated list of the Top 50 BBQ joints in Texas, displacing the legendary Franklin Barbecue in Austin. It shouldn’t take long to know whether that call is indeed bold or just plain boneheaded. The list will…
 - 04/19/2017
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The beef cheeks at LeRoy and Lewis in Austin, Yes!

The beef cheeks stole the show during lunch at LeRoy and Lewis in Austin. All the Argentine reggae on my playlist lately has put me in a very “vibra positiva” state of mind. So do the great beef cheeks at LeRoy and Lewis, the new truck and trailer joint in south Austin. Saturdays, the place serves more traditional smoked meats. We went on Good Friday. No line. What a treat in barbecue crazy ATX! This story of discovery begins early that morning. Posse member Michael Ainsworth messaged me that he was on the road to San Antonio from Dallas. “You…
 - 04/14/2017
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Prediction: Franklin Barbecue won’t be No. 1 on Texas Monthly’s new Top 50 list

The BBQ world is anxiously awaiting the release of the 2017 Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ list next month. If Blackie Sherrod were writing this column, he would call it Scattershooting while wondering if Geddy Lee still loves Texas barbecue. . . Sherrod, of course, was a legendary newspaper columnist. After he died last year, his obituary in The Dallas Morning News began: “Blackie Sherrod, the greatest Texas sportswriter of his generation or any other, now and forevermore, died Thursday afternoon at age 96.” Kevin Sherrington, a good wordsmith himself, wrote that. Sherrington tells me Blackie’s food tastes tended toward…
 - 04/12/2017
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Video surprise at Stiles Switch BBQ in Austin

With the launch of the new Posse website, we’ll be doing videos including interviews of Texas pitmasters along with “how to” cooking videos. On our trip to Central Texas last week, we shot two of the top pitmasters in the state, Esaul Ramos of 2M Smokehouse in San Antonio and Lance Kirkpatrick of Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew in Austin. We plan to have those interviews posted over the next week or two. When shooting video at a busy BBQ joint you must be prepared for the unexpected, as happened when Gary and Lance were talking about the ever-exploding Austin BBQ scene.…
 - 04/10/2017
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Is 2M Smokehouse turning out the best barbecue in Texas?

Our lunch of brisket, pork ribs, sausage & turkey at 2M Smokehouse. The first thing you see in the pit room at 2M Smokehouse in San Antonio is, of course, the giant smoker. Built by Texas barbecue legend John Lewis, it is named El Mexicano. Next, you notice the big-screen TV, hanging on one wall. Not far away are two outdoor chairs, and a mattress propped against the wall behind. “Our landlord owns a mattress store next door so he gave us a good deal,” Esaul Ramos said. 2M Smokehouse is open Thursday through Sunday, so Ramos and his partner,…
 - 04/08/2017
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Keep an eye on J.Leonardi’s, Cedric Griffin’s new trailer joint on Austin’s Eastside

Cedric Griffin gets ready for a Thursday morning opening at J.Leonardi’s Barbeque in east Austin. Barbecue and football have a lot in common, says Cedric Griffin, the former University of Texas star and NFL veteran who recently opened a trailer joint on Austin’s Eastside with partner Jerome Faulkner. “It’s a mental game,” Griffin explained, referring to cooking and playing ball. “Getting up and preparing yourself every day to be consistent. We have to be consistently good. We have to do our thing and cook our food to our taste.” J.Leonardi’s Barbeque (the J is for Jerome and Leonard is Griffin’s…
 - 04/06/2017
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Inflation watch: Franklin’s barbecue and Austin home prices on same track

All sold out at the original Franklin Barbecue trailer in Nov. 2010. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins sent me a photo the other day from a trip we made to the original Franklin Barbecue in November of 2010. It shows the front of Aaron Franklin’s little trailer in Austin and his barbecue prices at the time. “Sweet memories,” Wilkins said in his email subject line. Indeed. Franklin then sold his terrific brisket for $13 a pound. Now it’s $20 a pound, a nearly 54 percent increase. Ribs were $11 a pound then; now $17, also a…
 - 11/11/2016
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Going whole hog at CattleAck BBQ on Saturday

Tray of whole hog, brisket & pork ribs with sides at CattleAck BBQ in north Dallas (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) The Posse first caught wind of CattleAck BBQ in May 2013, when Jim Rossman picked up some Twitter buzz on a new joint in north Dallas near the Galleria. Jim headed up on the tollway to investigate, finding a promising new player on the DFW barbecue scene. After success in the catering business, owners Todd and Misty David decided to open on Fridays from 11am until the meat ran out. A full Posse contingent made a followup visit  to…
 - 11/05/2016
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Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton is moving on up

Dirk Miller, owner & pitmaster of Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton. (Photo ©Michael Ainsworth/ Texas BBQ Posse) We got a chance to visit Saturday with one of our favorite pitmasters in the state, Dirk Miller of Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton. Posse member Marshall Cooper & I first visited Miller’s in early 2012, after Texas Monthly BBQ editor Daniel Vaughn tweeted about a promising little joint in Belton. It quickly became one of our favorite BBQ places in the state. Our group of four caught up on all the BBQ news with Dirk, including their move down the street to a much…
 - 10/27/2016
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The Posse finds that John Lewis, indeed, has arrived in Carolina

(Note: Posse members Mike and Libby Gagne recently visited John Lewis’ new barbecue joint. This is Mike’s report from that visit.) Charleston, South Carolina has long been a culinary destination showcasing some of the most American of cuisines. Lewis Barbecue, the eponymous BBQ haven for Texas pit master John Lewis opened just a few months back and has caught the attention of many along the eastern seaboard. Given the Posse’s past with John and the mark he left at places like Franklin, John Mueller BBQ, and La Barbecue, being only an hour away from our beach vacation spot seemed too…
 - 10/27/2016
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A return visit confirms, Killen’s BBQ is one of the best in Texas

Phil’s lunch of brisket, ribs, turkey & Sausage at Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland. (Photo ©Phil Lamb) Posse member Phil Lamb checks in this week with a dispatch from Houston: The passage of time plays funny tricks on the BBQ mind. For example, I often wonder whether a particular joint serving above-average ‘cue will hold up over time. This is especially true of out-of-town spots we don’t regularly visit. Similarly, I occasionally wonder whether a joint we once ranked as “outstanding” was really all that special. It’s as if doubt starts to creep in after a few months go by. Did…
 - 05/23/2016
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Is Snow’s the Machu Picchu of Texas BBQ?

Ray Shepard & David Messersmith during their first visit to Snow’s BBQ in Lexington. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Among the wonders of the world, it probably doesn’t rank with Machu Picchu or the Great Pyramid of Giza. But in the world of Texas barbecue, nothing compares to a trip to Snow’s on a Saturday, the only day the joint is open. It’s a rite of passage for lovers of smoked meat. Soon after Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins posted a Facebook photo from our recent visit to Lexington, a commenter wrote: “Can’t wait to get out there for the first…
 - 02/05/2016
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The Posse returns to Central Texas and not a bad bite of barbecue was had

The Texas BBQ Posse returns to Snow’s BBQ in Lexington. (L-R) Mark Vamos, Jim Rossman, Bruce Tomaso, Chris Wilkins, Michael Ainsworth, Gary Jacobson, Daniel Goncalves & Tom Fox. (Photo ©Tom Fox) We weren’t on the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston. And it wasn’t snowing. Still, James Taylor would have liked the scene. In the early morning sun, a white frosting covered the fields along the highway from Austin to Lexington, Texas. Ice crystals glistened, almost as if they made their own light. It was a nice way to begin a barbecue tour, especially since we were headed to Snow’s BBQ,…
 - 02/04/2016
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More photos from the Return to Austin BBQ Tour

Tending the late-night pits at Freedmen’s Bar, Austin. (Photo ©Tom Fox) One of the great rewards after a Texas BBQ tour is looking back on our trip through the eyes of Posse member Tom Fox.  We’ve written about Tom’s amazing work before, he’s a staff photographer at The Dallas Morning News and a 2006 Pulitzer Prize winner for his work on the Morning News photo team coverage of Hurricane Katrina. We consider Tom to be one of the top visual storytellers documenting the Texas BBQ trail. Along with our friend Wyatt McSpadden, the godfather of Texas BBQ photography, Tom brings the unique beauty…
 - 02/02/2016
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