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The first families of Dallas BBQ meet up at The Great Posse Smokefest

A spouse of one Posse member likened The Great Posse Smokefest this past Saturday and Sunday to a sleep-over for 10-year-old boys. Yes, I did take my pillow and, thankfully, got to use it for an hour and a half. The smoking of meat started Saturday evening, continued all night, and culminated in a party for Posse members and friends, totaling more than 50 people. The highlight, other than the fellowship around the pits, was early Sunday afternoon when the owners of the Pecan Lodge — Justin and Diane Fourton — met the owners of Lockhart Smokehouse — Jeff and…
 - 05/17/2011
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We love the smell of hickory smoke in the morning

It’s 11 a.m. on a beautiful day for The Great Posse Smokefest in Dallas. Everyone has had a nap — some longer than others — and we feel rejuvenated after a night of fellowship around the pits. Most of the meat is done and resting. Chris’ pork butt still has some time to go. Justin’s brisket, which looks absolutely beautiful, is finishing. We just loaded the chickens on the Jambo. For now, we can relax and enjoy the smell of hickory smoke. Photos ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse
 - 05/15/2011
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Justin Fourton of Pecan Lodge is in the house

It’s now 4:49 a.m. and Justin Fourton, owner and pitmaster of the Pecan Lodge has joined the party at the first Great Posse Smokefest. Justin and his wife Diane, aka: The Boss Lady, serve what many consider to the the best brisket in Dallas. We started with a tour of his awesome mobile pit as he got the fire up to temp. It’s now 5:30 a.m. and we’re talking BBQ technique and getting as many of his secrets as we can. Brisket and biscuits for breakfast before too long….. Photos by ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse
 - 05/15/2011
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Welcome to The Great Posse Smokefest

It’s 1:30 a.m. on Preston Crest Lane. The Jambo J-3 is locked in at 250 degrees. Five briskets soaking up clean hickory smoke. We’ve got a half-dozen racks of ribs in the brine, waiting to be rubbed and put on the smoker at 6 a.m. or so. A couple of chickens, and pork butt, too. Justin Fourton, pitmaster of the Pecan Lodge, plans to arrive at 4 a.m. with his pit. Later, Jeff Bergus, owner of Lockhart Smokehouse plans to arrive with some of his original Kreuz Market sausage. Welcome to The Great Posse Smokefest. We hope to have fun…
 - 05/15/2011
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BBQ Signs of our Times – Chapter 3

Back by popular demand, our BBQ signs series continues. A rule of thumb: The more homemade the sign, the down home the barbecue. Here are some signs from our recent East Texas II BBQ Tour and a couple of other recent BBQ roadtrips. You can click to see the first BBQ Signs of our Times post or BBQ Signs of our Times II. Thanks to new posse member Phil Lamb for his contributions to this chapter. Family Tradition Bar-B-Q, Waelder, TX Baby J’s Bar-B-Que & Fish, Palestine, TX Lonnie Ray’s BBQ, Harrisburg, MO Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Que, Tyler, TX Stacy’s…
 - 04/23/2011
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If we’re the posse, he’s the sheriff

The tough part about always being the guy behind the camera is that you’re never* in the photo. Chris Wilkins, the driving force behind the Texas BBQ Posse, is a professional photographer. So are a lot of posse members. But Chris is the guy who’s always ready with his lenses and flash when we pull up to a new joint. He’s the guy who’s always walking in with at least two cameras around his neck. He’s the guy who’s always in perfect position to record the moment when a pitmaster agrees to take us around back and show us where…
 - 04/23/2011
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Texas Monthly’s Pat Sharpe joins the Top 50 BBQ dialogue….

Texas Monthly executive editor and food writer Pat Sharpe graciously comments on our blog posts regarding their Top 50 BBQ rankings. We wanted to publish her comments in a seperate post to be sure everyone got a chance to read it. Hello, all. Since I am the person who heads up Texas Monthly’s top-fifty list every five years, let me respond to a couple of questions. We do, in fact (as Jacob said, above), indicate whether each place uses wood or gas/electric, but it’s in the form of a symbol (of flames or a commercial smoker) so a reader might…
 - 04/19/2011
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More on Texas Monthly’s taking the gas

I don’t mean to pour charcoal lighter on the fire, but Gary is indisputably correct about gas versus wood: No one who cooks with gas belongs on a list of Texas’ best barbecue joints, any more than grape Nehi belongs on a wine list. (And the offense isn’t pardoned just because the gas cook throws on, as Marshall Cooper puts it, “a couple of sticks of wood for perfume.”) Texas Monthly, more than most, ought to realize this. Indeed, in the introduction to the magazine’s last Top 50 issue (published in June 2008), the editors described their vaunted list thusly:Our…
 - 04/19/2011
cwfirewood

‘Someone needs to call out Texas Monthly on its Top 50 BBQ joints’

One of the great things about full-day barbecue tours is the time it allows for important, spirited debates about important issues. Some of the topics we’ve addressed: Is it ever worth making a special stop at a joint that advertises on a highway billboard? (No.) Should you make an impromptu stop at a place that has “Soulman” in its name? (Probably not. They’re trying too hard.) Can “great” sausage ever truly compare to “great” brisket? (No. We need a new grading system for sausage.) On our East Texas tour last weekend, we got into a new hot topic. “Someone needs…
 - 04/18/2011
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Lady Gaga, Texas BBQ and Aaron Franklin

If you can work Lady Gaga into a conversation about Texas barbecue, then it’s probably going to be a pretty good conversation. That was true Thursday morning when I stopped by Aaron Franklin’s new place in Austin on my way back to Dallas. It was just after 9 a.m., still about two hours until he opened for business, so Franklin had a few minutes to show me around. “What are you doing in town?” he asked. I explained that I had gone to the Lady Gaga concert the night before at the Erwin Center. (Terrific show, btw.) One of her…
 - 04/08/2011
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Texas BBQ wins another convert

Before Dan Sweet made his recent pilgrimage to the Central Texas barbecue holy land, he called the Posse. The Oregon resident, who works in corporate public relations, said he had won a Texas tourism essay contest and that one of the research resources he had used was this blog. Thanks, Dan. It’s always nice to get a nod. Anyway, for his essay about starting the church of Texas barbecue, Dan and his wife, Cheryl, won a five-day trip to Austin and the Central Texas barbecue trail. Last week, they went to Lockhart, Taylor and other famous barbecue towns and ate…
 - 03/28/2011
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Texas BBQ competition season is upon us

As the Texas BBQ Posse, a small group of us from the The Dallas Morning News, and friends, have traveled much of the state in search of the best smoked meats we can find. Then we tell readers what we think of the joints we visit. Anyone can talk a good game, some readers have gently reminded us since we began our Barbecue Chronicles in late 2009. So we decided to see if we could also walk the barbecue walk. Last September, we entered our first competition, the Blues, Bandits & BBQ festival in Oak Cliff. It was an exhausting,…
 - 03/22/2011
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On the road: The Steve Miller Band makes a BBQ stop in Austin

Texas BBQ Posse member and Dallas Morning News staff photographer David Woo was on the road last week with the Steve Miller Band, a group he has been photographing for 20 years. Steve, who moved to Dallas when he was 7 years old, is a huge fan of Texas BBQ and always looking for the greatest que the state has to offer. David accompanied the Posse on our recent anniversary tour to central Texas and discovered the brisket at Franklin Barbecue and the ribs and sides at Lamberts Downtown Barbecue, both in Austin. He started planning a BBQ feast for…
 - 03/05/2011
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Super Bowl XLV Media Party – See photos of the Texas BBQ celebration

Even Super Storm 2011 couldn’t stop the BBQ greatness of the Super Bowl XLV Media Party last night at the House of Blues. Eight of the planned ten pitmasters from across Texas made it through the ice and snow to the HOB. The teams were Snow’s BBQ of Lexington, Louie Mueller Barbecue of Taylor, Franklin Barbecue of Austin, Black’s BBQ of Lockhart, Blue Ribbon BBQ (Mikeska family) of Austin, Mills County BBQ Company of Goldwaite, Stanley’s Famous Pit BBQ of Tyler, Schoepf’s Old Time Pit BBQ of Belton and Earl Campbell’s Sausage. Only the teams from Cooper’s Old Time BBQ…
 - 02/02/2011
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10 Texas BBQ giants gather in Dallas to cook for Super Bowl XLV Media Party

It’s like a dream BBQ tour. Imagine hitting 10 of the best barbecue joints in Texas…..all in one night. Posse lead writer Gary Jacobson got the scoop this morning about a gathering in Dallas next week of legendary pitmasters. Snow’s BBQ owner Kerry Bexley called to give Gary a heads up on the story. Pitmasters from 10 top TexasBBQ joints will gather in the parking lot of the House of Blues next Tuesday to cook for the 2011 NFL Super Bowl XLV Media Party, which is held that evening at the HOB. You have to be a Super Bowl credentialed…
 - 01/27/2011
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Merry Christmas from the Texas BBQ Posse

We’ve been busy since 4pm Wednesday smoking Christmas briskets and hanging with Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper. Best holiday wishes to you and yours and we hope to see you all on the BBQ trails of Texas in coming year!!!! Photo by Chris Wilkins
 - 12/25/2010
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Texas BBQ Posse – Follow us on Twitter!

We fought the Twitter thing for a couple of years, making fun of those who tweeted. But in the end, it’s time for the Texas BBQ Posse to get aboard the Twitter revolution. “Son, if you can’t beat’em, join’em,” as my east Texas grandpa always said. Just a quick way to keep the Posse nation up to date with where we’ve been and what we’re up to. Click here to follow us on Twitter, we’ll promise to keep it interesting. Thanks for your support and remember, always let the meat speak for itself!
 - 12/15/2010
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Wilkins tries something new – Blogging while riding shotgun on a BBQ tour

Given a choice, Chris Wilkins would prefer to do his blogging from home, a glass of red wine nearby. More and more, though, the Texas BBQ Posse co-founder has been live-blogging from the center of the action. During the Blues, Bandits & BBQ cook off in Oak Cliff in September, he regularly posted items and photographs over two days and one long night. “Can’t believe I’m still standing,” he wrote then. “It’s 3:30 am and it’s finally cooled down, after a pretty strong little thunderstorm…” On our recent “anniversary” tour to Central Texas, Wilkins tried something new: Posting from the…
 - 12/11/2010
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It’s hard to beat BBQ and trains

A surprise from our recent anniversary tour of Central Texas barbecue joints was the discovery of all the train-watching opportunities near the places we visited. In Smithville, a few blocks from Zimmerhanzel’s Bar-B-Que, there’s a nice city park, with a big gazebo, located trackside. In Giddings, a short walk from the City Meat Market, you can watch coal trains (empty and full) pass through and visit a train museum. One of the exhibits lets you toot a train horn. Bet you can’t do it just once!! In Taylor, right outside the doors of the Taylor Cafe, there’s a switching yard…
 - 12/09/2010
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Franklin Barbecue plans to move

UPDATE: According to our friends at Man Up Texas BBQ, Franklin Barbecue will be moving to 900 E. 11th St., the former location of Ben’s Long Branch Barbecue, hoping to open some time in early January. On our recent Central Texas anniversary tour, Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue in Austin told us that he was looking to move soon to a permanent building. For about a year, he has been operating out of trailers at the back of an old gas station on the east side of I-35 at 34th street, producing what many of us in the Posse think…
 - 12/08/2010
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Posse writer Gary Jacobson talks Central Texas cue with Mr. BBQ

Listen in as Texas BBQ Posse founding member and Dallas Morning News writer Gary Jacobson returns for his third visit this year with Mr. BBQ, a syndicated radio show out of Portland, Oregon. Gary is the preeminent barbecue expert at the Morning News and one of the top writers in the BBQ nation. Mr. Barbeque, aka Bruce Bjorkman, has an outdoor cooking show on Newsradio 750 KXL in Portland that is syndicated up and down the Pacific coast. Gary has become a regular visitor on the show as he helps spread the gospel of Texas BBQ to those less fortunate.…
 - 12/04/2010
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Texas BBQ Posse named to list of top 50 BBQ blogs in U.S.

We got the news today from Cate Newton of the Guide to Culinary Schools that the Texas BBQ Posse blog has ben named as one of the top 50 BBQ blogs in the country. We share that honor with our Texas BBQ blogging friends at Man Up Texas Barbecue and Full Custom Gospel BBQ Blog. Cate writes, “I am writing to inform you that Texas BBQ Posse has been featured on Guide to Culinary Schools’ list of the Top 50 BBQ Blogs. We hand-picked a list of our favorites and outlined the unique reasons why we love them. We chose…
 - 12/04/2010
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Brisket in the meadow

Diane and Justin Fourton of Pecan Lodge recently showed their catering greatness at Connemara Conservancy’s “In the Meadow” event held at their Meadow Preserve in Allen. Catering is a big part of the Fourton’s business, in addition to running a great restaurant out of Shed #2 at the Dallas Farmers Market. Pecan Lodge prepared smoked brisket and quail as the highlight of an impressive dinner for 150 served on white linen in the meadow. It was a night to remember…… Pecan Lodge, 1010 South Pearl Expressway, Farmer’s Market Shed #2, Dallas, TX, 75201, (214) 748-8900. Open: Thur-Fri 11am-3pm, Sat-Sun 9am-3pm.…
 - 10/06/2010
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Born to be a great pitmaster? Mark Cooper, 6, of Dallas makes the case…..

Can genetics contribute to the making of a great pitmaster? It worked for Tiger Woods, who began golfing as soon as he started to walk. As we know, the rest is history. Mark’s dad is Marshall Cooper, the lead cook of the Texas BBQ Posse, who has over 25 years of smoker experience under his belt. Marshall led the posse to first and second place finishes at last weekend’s Blues, Bandits & BBQ cookoff in Oak Cliff. Similar to Tiger, Mark has been observing his dad at the smoker since he could walk. Marshall reports he ate his first baby…
 - 09/16/2010
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Amazing photos from the Blues, Bandits & BBQ cookoff

Here’s a great set of photos from the Blues, Bandits & BBQ cookoff by Texas BBQ Posse member R.J. Hinkle. R.J. joined us on Sunday to document the madness that invaded the OC last weekend. He’s the manager of Quad/Photo—Dallas and one of the premier visual storytellers working the Texas BQQ trail. Enjoy……!
 - 09/16/2010

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