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Back for more: BBQ Signs of our Times

Marshall’s BBQ, Garland, Texas. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves/Fotobia.com) BBQ Signs of our Times is back once again,with more memorable signs from our last trip to Central Texas on the Heart of Texas BBQ Tour and other Posse stops over the past couple of months. This blog post number eight of classic BBQ signs. You can use the search box in the upper right of the Posse blog homepage if you’d like to see some other sign posts, just search “BBQ Signs of Our Times”. If you happen to see a great sign while you’re out on the Texas BBQ Trail, please…
 - 08/09/2013
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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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Here’s how you can beat the long lines at Pecan Lodge in Dallas

The legendary Trough at Pecan Lodge, with a side of mac & cheese. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) We just got this note from Diane and Justin Fourton, owners of Pecan Lodge, detailing some big changes at one of the great BBQ joints in Texas: Dear Friends, Just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know that we’ve been working on a few things to help make it easier for those coming down to eat with us. Starting today, we are happy to announce that the following options are now available: 1. A second cash register has…
 - 08/01/2013
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Posse favorites: The Jambo Texan sandwich at Jambo’s BBQ Shack

The Jambo Texan sandwich at Jambo’s BBQ Shack in Rendon. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Every now and then you run into something so uniquely Texan that you stop in pure amazement. This is the case with pitmaster Jamie Geer’s Jambo Texan sandwich at Jambo’s BBQ Shack in Rendon. The Posse hit Jambo’s in force during their first week of business and was quite impressed. It wasn’t surprising. Jamie not only builds what many consider to be the best BBQ smoker the in the world, the Lamborghini-esque Jambo pit, but he is also a veteran pitmaster on the competition BBQ…
 - 07/24/2013
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Slow Bone Update: Less smoke is a good thing

Brisket, ribs and cilantro sausage from The Slow Bone. (Photo by Jim Rossman) I stopped by The Slow Bone for lunch today and I was really happy with what I found on my tray. I started out with a two meat plate of moist brisket and ribs, but owner Jack Perkins told me he’s been tweaking the recipe and grind of the cilantro sausage, so I adjusted to a three meat plate. I have to say my first bite of brisket made me close my eyes, stop chewing and savor. The texture was right on and the fat was perfectly…
 - 07/22/2013
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Success brings a new smoker to Pecan Lodge in Dallas, say hello to “Big Rick”

Pitmaster Justin Fourton shows off his new smoker Big Rick at Pecan Lodge. (Photo ©Philip Lamb) Posse member Phil Lamb checks in with Pecan Lodge pitmaster Justin Fourton at Texas Monthly’s “Behind the Pit Dinner” event on Wednesday night.  Phil writes: We’ve known for a while that Pecan Lodge offers some of the best smoked meats around, but its status as an elite BBQ joint was solidified when it was awarded a tie for the No. 2 spot on Texas Monthly’s “Top 50” BBQ list. Now the lines at Pecan Lodge, which were already plenty long, frequently require “Lovers of…
 - 07/19/2013
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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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Mac’s Bar-B-Que of Dallas makes a surprise visit on Men’s Journal Top 10 Texas BBQ list

Brisket Frito Pie at Mac’s Bar-B-Que in Dallas. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Another day, another Top 10 Texas BBQ list. It’s gotten to the point where every publication, whether they’ve ever actually ever stepped foot in the state, is coming out with their own top 10 Texas BBQ list. Outside of Texas Monthly and the Posse’s recent Best of Texas BBQ rankings, I pretty much ignore all the often silly lists coming out these days. However, I couldn’t resist the temptation to open a link this weekend from Men’s Journal, trumpeting “EXPERT ADVICE: Daniel Vaughn’s Top 10 BBQ Joints…
 - 06/23/2013
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From the Posse’s view, Pecan Lodge holds all the cards in negotiations with Dallas Farmers Market

Meats on the smoker at Pecan Lodge in the Dallas Farmers Market. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Posse member and Dallas Morning News assistant metro editor Bruce Tomaso gives us more details on the sweeping changes at the Dallas Farmers Market and how that might affect Pecan Lodge’s decision on moving to a new location. OK, let’s be honest: In the $64 million makeover of the Dallas Farmers Market, there’s only one thing that barbecue aficionados care about: What’s gonna happen to Pecan Lodge? That’s the $64,000 question. Our two-cent answer: No one knows. Owners Diane and Justin Fourton have…
 - 06/21/2013
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Updated: Some thoughts on Pecan Lodge and a potential new location

The lunch line queues up at Pecan Lodge in the Dallas Farmers Market. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves/Fotobia.com) UPDATE: we received a Tweet from Pecan Lodge:[email protected] @jimrossman: Thx for your thoughts. Adding 2nd cash register in next few wks. Already hv 2 cutters in kitchen. Doing our best. So the BBQ blogosphere seems to be full up on stories about Pecan Lodge and whether or not it’ll remain at the Dallas Farmer’s Market. The City of Dallas sold the property and there are plans to redo Shed 2, which apparently include tearing it up while a new sewer line is installed. Not…
 - 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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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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Photo essay of Hutchins BBQ in McKinney, by the Posse’s Daniel Goncalves

Hutchins BBQ in McKinney, newcomer on the Texas Monthly Top 50 list. (Photos ©Daniel Goncalves/Fotobia.com) Here’s another great set of images from Dallas-based editorial and commercial photographer Daniel Goncalves, who joined up with the Posse early this year after moving to Dallas with wife Magda in late 2012. Daniel is helping us document the current DFW 7 BBQ Tour, where we are hitting all seven area BBQ joints from the Texas Monthly Top 50 list, each during lunch time on consecutive days. We’ve previously published several series of his classic pitmaster portraits, which is an ongoing project for Daniel. Click…
 - 06/08/2013
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Bartley’s BBQ popular with the locals, not so much with the Posse.

Bartley’s BBQ is located in a strip mall on E. Northwest Hwy. in Grapevine. (Photo©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Friday brought the Texas BBQ Posse to Grapevine to eat at Bartley’s BBQ, a joint that none of us had heard of before it made the 2013 Texas Monthly Top 50 list. After one visit, we’re wondering how they made the list. It was crowded and the line remained a steady 15-20 during the lunch hour. Service is cafeteria line-style with self-serve sides that were mostly very good. As for the meat, we sampled the brisket, pork loin, pork ribs, turkey, hot…
 - 06/07/2013
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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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Lockhart Smokehouse renews our faith in DFWs Top 7 Tour

Assistant pitmaster Damien Avila takes lunch orders at Lockhart Smokehouse (Photo©Daniel Goncalves/Fotobia.com) After Tuesday’s debacle in Garland we set our sights on Lockhart Smokehouse for lunch Wednesday and we’re proud to say the meat did not disappoint (save for one spare rib that was a bit tough). The Posse rolled into Oak Cliff on the third of seven stops on our weeklong tour of Texas Monthly’s 7 DFW joints that made the 2013 Top 50 list. While the joint was not quite as full as we saw it during our Memorial Day week live chat, it was a steady crowd and…
 - 06/06/2013
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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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Posse visits Texas Monthly’s “DFW 7” top BBQ joints this week

After Texas Monthly announced their Top 50 BBQ list in mid-May, we thought one of the biggest surprises was the inclusion of seven DFW-area barbecue restaurants on the list. The last Texas Monthly list in 2008 had three places in DFW: Baker’s Ribs in Dallas, Cousin’s Barbecue in Ft. Worth and Big Daddy’s Roadhouse BBQ in Lavon. Cousin’s is the only holdover on the new list. As a group, we have been numerous times to Pecan Lodge, Lockhart Smokehouse, Longoria’s BBQ and Meshack’s Bar-B-Que Shack. However, we’ve never visited Bartley’s BBQ, Cousin’s Barbecue or Hutchins BBQ on a BBQ tour. Thus planning…
 - 06/02/2013
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Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ first timers – Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton

Brisket sits on the pit at Miller’s Smokehouse. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) You never forget your first time. That applies to visiting great barbecue joints as well. Our first trip 14 months ago to Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton was one of those unforgettable journeys. The visit was so inspiring that I couldn’t wait to get home and write about Miller’s. The lede was as follows: “Every now and then you hit the motherlode on the Texas BBQ trail. For every 20 mediocre BBQ joints, there’s one good one. For every 50 good ones, there’s one great one. You can add…
 - 05/23/2013
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