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Franklin Barbecue targets first week of November for re-opening

Smokers sit in the burned out smokehouse of Austin’s Franklin Barbecue in early October. (Photo ©Gary Jacobson/Texas BBQ Posse) Call it serendipity. I stopped by Franklin Barbecue near downtown Austin this morning just to check on rebuilding progress since an August fire closed the place. And there was Aaron Franklin, red socks and all, talking barbecue to a couple in a big SUV. “They’re from Wisconsin,” Franklin told me, smiling, after he had finished. Yes, the most famous pit master in the world, even in the midst of major reconstruction, still makes time for his fans. The news from this…
 - 10/19/2017
Dallas_Skyline

The state of Dallas BBQ 2017, a Posse debate

The Dallas-area barbecue scene has changed dramatically over the past six years. (Photo ©Michael Ainsworth/Texas BBQ Posse) A few years back, six to be exact, we wrote a “grim indictment” of the lack barbecue choices in Dallas. Pecan Lodge and Lockhart Smokehouse had recently opened, but, we concluded, there was a dearth of joints, especially for a city the size of Big D. Not to mention for the fourth largest metro area in the nation with more than seven million people located in the heart of barbecue country. Why? Were the chains smothering the independents? Tough city regulations? Lack of…
 - 10/17/2017
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Recipe: A Texas-style test of ribs, and rib rub on Lopez Island

A plate of finished baby backs, “spares” from Midnight’s Farm and chicken. (Photo ©Bryan Gooding) Creative embers aglow, Martha Gooding walked to her spice cabinet. “We’ve got to find some magic ingredient for our rib rub.” she said. “And what I was thinking was garam marsala.” It was the last Sunday of Sherry Jacobson’s and my visit to Martha and Bryan Gooding’s home on Lopez Island. Our mission was to test a punchy Texas style rub on two kinds of pork ribs: a meaty, fatty grocery store-bought rack of baby backs and a much smaller, leaner rack from pigs raised at…
 - 10/10/2017
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Confessions of a Kingsford guy: This new Weber charcoal ain’t bad. . .

I’ve been a Kingsford charcoal guy since first learning to grill more than 40 years ago from Walt Scheela, my wife’s grandfather. Walt used Kingsford and literally counted the briquets as he added them to his Weber kettle each hour when he cooked the Thanksgiving turkey. Over the years I’ve tried other brands, even some lump charcoal. But I always come back to Kingsford Original. I use it with my Weber machines at home, including a 22.5 Smokey Mountain. I’ve also used Kingsford for big cooks for large groups on homemade cement-block pits. We arranged whole bags along the bottom…
 - 10/04/2017
BBQbooks

The best BBQ books of all time

New barbecue books appear regularly, a testament to the enduring popularity of a distinctly American food and the people who created and continue the traditions. Earlier this year, for example, I received a review copy of Texas BBQ, written by a Swede. The book was making its way to the U.S. after being published a few years ago in Sweden and the United Kingdom. Lone Star barbecue has fans everywhere. While Jonas Cramby’s book is a serviceable take on the Texas barbecue phenomenon, it’s not what we’re looking for in this post. With the help of other Posse members, we…
 - 09/28/2017
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Grand opening – Ferris Wheelers Backyard & BBQ in Dallas

The front of the line enters Ferris Wheelers Backyard & BBQ as it opens for the first time at 1950 Market Center Blvd. in Dallas. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) There’s a serious new player on the Dallas BBQ scene, as Ferris Wheelers Backyard & BBQ opened on Monday in the Design District within walking distance the Hilton Anatole. It’s a great location with ample parking, features a spacious dining room and awesome backyard party area. Did we mention the 50-foot ferris wheel out back? More about the later. Most importantly, the meats were spot on as they opened their…
 - 09/25/2017
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See the photos: Smoked Dallas BBQ Festival

Longtime Posse member Michael Ainsworth went to the Smoked Dallas BBQ Festival today and shares some great images, including the photo above of mouth-watering Meat You Anywhere BBQ sample trays from the event. Smoked Dallas was held at the Main Street Garden Park in downtown Dallas. The festival is in its fourth year and has shown steady growth each year. Sixteen of the top BBQ joints from around the state attended and fed a large crowd of festival goers. Here is Michael’s look at the event, enjoy! The crew from Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ in Austin serve samples at the Smoked Dallas…
 - 09/24/2017
Cleo-Baltimore

A tribute to Cleo Baltimore, the BBQ goodwill ambassador of Port Neches

  Billy Joe’s Bar B-Q pitmaster Cleo Baltimore, who passed away last week in Port Neches. Editor’s note: The Posse, largely, is made up of jaundiced, old newspaper types who don’t get worked up about much. But Joel Smith’s Facebook tribute to Cleo Baltimore, who recently passed away, moved even us. Many thanks to reader Tim Hinson who alerted us to the post. And to Joel for allowing us to reprint his thoughts. By Joel Smith This man’s name is Cleo Baltimore, and he passed away yesterday. I don’t write this out of sadness, but out of thankfulness. He’s the first…
 - 09/20/2017
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Interested in owning a classic joint? Fatboys BBQ in Cooper is for sale

If you’ve ever wanted to own a true Texas barbecue joint, there’a a really good one — Fatboys BBQ — for sale 80 miles northeast of Dallas in Cooper. We first met and wrote about Heather Hoff & Shannon Bankston in 2012 when they ran Fatboys in the tiny town of Ladonia, population 612. Within a year they had moved the business to nearby Cooper, a bigger town with state Hwy. 24 running through it. When we saw earlier this summer that the joint was for sale, Marshall Cooper and I headed east to visit. Fatboys BBQ is a classic…
 - 09/19/2017
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Recipe: Lightly smoked, grilled salmon on a Weber — Let the fish speak for itself

Lightly smoked, grilled salmon served with grilled fresh vegetables. (Photo ©Bryan Gooding) When you live on an island where you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a salmon you have to cook fish. The touch of smoke you get with this approach to lightly smoked, grilled salmon really kicks up the umami flavor profile giving it a heartier taste. The added benefit of this recipe is a fast cook on a regular Weber. The dish  looks and tastes great. Ingredients: 2 – 2 lb. Coho salmon fillets kosher salt lemon pepper olive oil fresh or dry dill lemon Martha’s…
 - 09/13/2017
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Don’t miss Smoke Sessions Barbecue — new joint east of DFW

Pitmaster/owner Chad Sessions at Smoke Sessions Barbecue. (Photo ©Jim Rossman/Texas BBQ Posse) A new BBQ joint flashed up on my Facebook feed last week. My nephew’s mother-in-law tagged her daughter to mention Smoke Sessions Barbecue, a new trailer on State Highway 66 between Rockwall and Royse City in the small town of Fate. I was free for lunch the next day, so I drove the half hour east on I-30 and found Chad and Jessica Sessions manning a very sharp-looking smoker/trailer parked in front of a feed store. The right half of the trailer houses the offset pit and a…
 - 09/08/2017
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Franklin Barbecue hopes to re-open in ‘next two weeks’

Repairs at Franklin Barbecue appear to be progressing on schedule and the world famous Austin joint hopes to reopen for business in a couple weeks, Stacy Franklin says. We were in the neighborhood of Franklin on Wednesday and drove by to see how the rebuilding was going. There were workers on the roof, and it was evident that repairs were well underway. The place has been closed since a fire the morning of Aug. 26. Afterward, Aaron Franklin said the place would be closed for at least a month. “We are hoping to open in the next two weeks,” Stacy wrote…
 - 09/07/2017
GreenFlame

With GreenFlame, I broke Weber’s ‘charcoal vow’

  On the Posse, we’re dedicated chimney users when it comes to starting charcoal. Simple and effective, even if from time to time I have to use a second sheet of newsprint to get the coals going. Posse member Bryan Gooding likes to use a propane torch to start the paper rather than matches or a lighter. Marshall Cooper uses a treated cube or wadded butcher paper with cooking oil. He says newspaper and cooking oil work well too. Still, there are times when I’m in a hurry and just want to get a flame going as quickly as possible,…
 - 09/06/2017
Franklin-Barbecue-01

After the fire, could another trailer help reopen Franklin Barbecue?

For a barbecue lover, it might be the saddest sight imaginable: “CLOSED” the sign said. “We had a fire. We will reopen as soon as we can. – The Franklin Family” The sign, hand printed on butcher paper, was taped to the front door of Franklin Barbecue in Austin. Normally, at about noon on a nice summer Thursday, there could be dozens of people in line, ready to taste the best of Texas smoked meats. The original Franklin Barbecue trailer in 2010. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) But no one was in line during my visit. The joint has been…
 - 09/01/2017
Grant-Pinkerton

The Texas BBQ community responds to Hurricane Harvey

Grant Pinkerton, owner and pitmaster at Pinkerton’s Barbecue in Houston, during a visit in June. (Photo @Michael Ainsworth/Texas BBQ Posse) There’s a note with a phone number on the door of Pinkerton’s Barbecue in Houston. It’s addressed to all Hurricane Harvey and flood rescue workers who might show up in the middle of the night. “We live right above the restaurant,” owner Grant Pinkerton explains. “The note says, call this number and we’ll come down and cook for you.” The Texas barbecue community has certainly stepped up to the challenge of helping the state’s residents recover from the unprecedented storm.…
 - 08/31/2017
Smoked-Bacon-02

Recipe: This ain’t your Mama’s smoked bacon

Whole pork belly from Midnight’s Farm on Lopez Island, before trimming. (Photo ©Bryan Gooding) There are only a few dishes in barbecue where a pit master can take it to the edge and really personalize the food. Sausage is one. Smoked bacon another. Former ferry Captain Kenny Burtness dropped by one day and left us a one pound slab of his homemade smoked bacon. This was not by any stretch of the imagination normal looking bacon. Irregular in shape with wide swings in fattiness and leanness, Kenny had used an unusual blend of spices and maple syrup for his personal…
 - 08/29/2017
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The Posse’s Top 6 BBQ Bars in Texas

The Smoked Meat Bloody Mary at Lockhart Smokehouse, a true Texas BBQ bar classic. (Photo ©Lockhart Smokehouse) There are times when you need more than Big Red or Lone Star with barbecue. We were reminded of that fact of smoked meat life on our recent tour of Houston joints. One stop was Pinkerton’s Barbecue, which has a full bar off its main dining area. Our favorite barbecue bar remains Lamberts in downtown Austin. But, with Pinkerton’s, there’s now a new challenger. Bars in barbecue places are somewhat rare in Texas. A lot of joints just offer soft drinks and beer.…
 - 08/16/2017
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Adamson Barbecue: Great Texas taste in Canada

Customers in the main dining area at Adamson Barbecue in Toronto. (Photo ©Sherry Jacobson/Texas BBQ Posse) Other than too many people wearing Blue Jays baseball caps, there’s a lot about Adamson Barbecue in Toronto — O Canada! — that will remind a Texan of home. — There’s the line of customers that forms well before the joint opens, even in the rain. — The big Texas flag in the main dining room. — The gallery of excellent Robert J. Lerma barbecue photos on the wall, including a portrait of Tootsie Tomanetz, the grand matron of smoked meat at Snow’s BBQ…
 - 08/09/2017
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7 ways to spot great BBQ joints

Arthur Gee works in the smoker room at Pat Gee’s Barbecue, a classic joint in the piney woods east of Tyler. (Photo ©Guy Reynolds) A recent Thrillist story about seven ways to spot fake bbq joints generated lots of comments on our Facebook page, so we thought we’d take a cue and advise you how to spot great bbq joints. Being positive, the Posse thinks, is always better than being negative. That’s not to say the Thrillist item, written by Colleen Rush, is bad. It has excellent advice , i.e., be wary if there’s no wood pile in sight. And…
 - 07/27/2017
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Have the young guns of Texas BBQ won the revolution?

Left to right: Esaul Ramos & Joe Melig of 2M Smokehouse, Leonard Botello of Truth Barbeque and Grant Pinkerton of Pinkerton’s BBQ. (Photos ©Michael Ainsworth & Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Your response to the above question probably depends upon personal taste. Evolving personal taste. At first glance, the answer appears to be a loud YES! The young guns of Texas BBQ have, indeed, taken over from the traditional joints. Look no further than the makeup of Texas Monthly’s recent Top 10 places in the state. Seven of them have either started or reopened operations since 2011, five since 2013. Only…
 - 07/25/2017
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Meet the Holy Trinity of Texas BBQ Joints

A customer orders at City Market in Luling, which opened in 1958. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) In Texas, we’re familiar with the Holy Trinity of barbecue meats: brisket, ribs and sausage. How about the Holy Trinity of Texas BBQ joints? For consistent quality and longevity, there’s little argument, at least according to the Bible of Smoked Meat in the Lone Star State. Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, Kreuz Market in Lockhart and City Market in Luling are the only places to be on every one of Texas Monthly’s top-joint lists since they debuted in 1973. We owe a huge…
 - 07/18/2017
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Texas Monthly’s BBQ rankings, fair or not?

Are Texas Monthly’s barbecue rankings fair? Can you compare a joint open just one day a week to places open six and seven? And a related, but more complicated fairness question: With so much of Texas Monthly’s overall business plan — events, tours, dinners, merchandise — now tied to barbecue, can the magazine look beyond its self interest when it comes to smoked meat? After gurgling below the surface since the release of the latest Top 50 list last month, these issues erupted into full view this week when Ronnie Killen went public to the Houston media. He later elaborated…
 - 06/23/2017
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Impressive return to Winners BBQ in Cedar Hill

Selection of smoked meats at Winners BBQ in Cedar Hill, sliced brisket, sausage, baby back ribs & chopped brisket. The Posse gathered recently at Winners BBQ in Cedar Hill, anxious to see if my impressions from a visit a few weeks earlier would hold. Owners De’Andre and Maegan Jackson had just opened their second location three weeks earlier when I dropped in the first time in late April. Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper & I visited their Plano location in early April. We were very impressed. That led to my visit to Cedar Hill and then our gathering of 10 Posse members several weeks…
 - 06/06/2017

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