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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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Great BBQ photos by Austin’s Darren Carroll

Lunch rush at Smitty’s Market, Lockhart, Texas, 2009. (Photo ©Darren Carroll) Our first installment of Focus on BBQ features photos shot by Austin photographer Darren Carroll. This launches an occasional series that will showcase great barbecue images shot by top photographers in the country. Most are friends of the Posse, which was founded in 2009 by a core group of writers & photographers at The Dallas Morning News. Over the years, we’ve had a number of contributing shooters, ranging from top commercial, news and sports photographers, including several Pulitzer Prize winners. Darren has an impressive mix of editorial and advertising clients. You might know his work from…
 - 04/23/2017
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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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What do BBQ bloggers have in common with Homer, Chaucer and Twain? A lot!

BBQ sign on Hwy. 71 outside of Spicewood, TX., not one of the monsters of The Odyssey. A long while ago, we attended a gathering of BBQ bloggers at Louie Mueller’s in Taylor. Organized by Daniel Vaughn, then just the BBQ Snob now also the BBQ editor of Texas Monthly, the group included Don O., J.C. Reid, and others. It was a fun day of camaraderie and food. Fast forward most of a decade and I found myself engaged in a Facebook discussion about the “food press” last weekend with Jack Perkins, who created and sold Slow Bone in Dallas. My…
 - 04/18/2017
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How-to videos: Prepping pork ribs with Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper

Texas BBQ Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper puts pork ribs on the Jambo smoker at his north Dallas home. Welcome to our first batch of short videos featuring how-to BBQ techniques from Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper. Marshall has been cooking barbecue in his backyard for 30-plus years, after learning the craft from his late father. Now using his fourth custom Jambo pit, Marshall has cooked with such BBQ legends as Chris Lilly, Jamie Geer, John Mueller, and John Lewis. One of the missions of the Texas BBQ Posse is to share ideas and tips to help you become a great backyard pitmaster. We…
 - 04/16/2017
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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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Smoked pastrami recipe that is sure to impress your guests

By Bryan Gooding It was more than two years ago when the Posse heard a rumor that Cattleack Barbecue in Far North Dallas was going to be serving smoked pastrami for its Saturday special. I remember thinking “Wow! This is different!” Pitmaster Todd David would be cooking “outside the box.” Afterward I told Posse co-founder Gary Jacobson that Cattleack had thrown down the gauntlet with its smoked pastrami and that there would be a lot of pitmasters experimenting with recipes over the next year.  The times were ripe for some new barbecue. In the fall of 2015 Gary and I…
 - 04/05/2017
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Welcome to our new Texas BBQ Posse website

In Texas, Robert Earl Keen probably comes as close to being the official Bard of Barbecue as anybody we’ve got. You might quibble with his spelling, but not his sentiment: Don’t give me no broccoli Or any Swiss fondue Baby if you want to rock me Give me good ole barbeque And what, you ask, puts us in such a mood for song? After seven years of blogging about smoked meats, the Texas BBQ Posse is launching a full blown Web site about our favorite topic. Don’t worry. Our main mission remains the same. We’ll tell the stories of the people and places…
 - 03/31/2017
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Lights, Camera, Eat BBQ! The Posse — briefly — goes Hollywood

George Clooney and Leo DiCaprio can relax. It’s unlikely anyone from the Texas BBQ Posse will challenge them for leading roles in Tinseltown. Still, we had our brush, very briefly, with video fame. And while nothing came of it — yet, anyway — the experience was great fun so we thought we would share it with you. About a year ago, the folks at 12 Forward Entertainment in Dallas approached us about making a “pitch” video for a reality TV show based on the Posse. The video would then be used to sell the concept to producers and networks. We…
 - 01/02/2017
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Smoked beef tenderloin the Lopez Island way — hot and fast

Editor’s note: Posse members not only love to eat barbecue but they also love to cook. Bryan Gooding, who recently retired and moved from Dallas to Lopez Island in Washington state, shares his secrets for smoking great tenderloin. By Bryan Gooding Though I love to barbecue meats you can’t treat a beef tenderloin like a brisket or pork butt. The smoking needs to be hot and fast since there isn’t enough fat on a tenderloin to survive a long time in low heat. So I use my smoker with a lot of heat from a wood fire. In this case…
 - 12/29/2016
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Photos: Depression era Texas BBQ through the eyes of legendary FSA photographers

I was recently researching some historic photos when I ran across the Library of Congress website for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) photo archive. Initially created in 1935 as part of the New Deal, the FSA was an effort during the Depression to document and combat American rural poverty. The FSA photo collection houses some of the most famous photographs in history, including Dorthea Lange’s migrant mother photo and Arthur Rothstein’s Oklahoma dust bowl photo. Other legendary FSA photojournalists included Gordon Parks, Russell Lee, Carl Mydans and Walker Evans. I was immediately curious if there were any Texas BBQ photos.…
 - 12/29/2016
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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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The day the Posse flew Chile’s national flag (oops) and other tales from Blues, Bandits & BBQ

The Posse cook team celebrates after the first Blues, Bandits & BBQ festival in 2010. (Photo@R.J. Hinkle) The Posse has always loved Blues, Bandits & BBQ, the food and music festival held in Oak Cliff. Loyalty is a factor. Some of us lived in the O.C. and the festival does a good job of showcasing a great part of Dallas. We also liked the fellowship of close friends cooking together around the clock and competing against other barbecue teams. Occasionally, winning was a side benefit. So with the seventh annual BB&BBQ coming soon (Nov. 11 and 12 at Kidd Springs…
 - 11/02/2016
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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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And everywhere the BBQ Posse looked there were other posses

Member of the Bandera County Young Life BBQ group pose for a photo with legendary Snow’s pitmaster Tootsie Tomanetz. (Photo ©Chris WIlkins/Texas BBQ Posse) My memory isn’t what it used to be, but I was pretty sure we ran into a first — for us anyway — during the Posse’s trip to Snow’s BBQ in Lexington last weekend. We met two groups of fellow barbecue lovers, each wearing special shirts championing their meat-loving pursuits. One group of a half-dozen guys from North Texas wore very nice black and red bowling shirts with the words “BBQ Burnt Ends” above the word…
 - 10/26/2016
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How to put some smoke on your prime rib roast before using the 500-degree reverse sear

The Gagne’s prime rib roast ready for carving. (Photo ©Texas BBQ Posse) Warning: This isn’t a normal Posse blog post. Just how atypical? I had to look up how to spell sous vide. But don’t worry, that vacuum-sealed cooking method was used only for warming up some wonderful leftovers from the meal that long-time Posse member Mike Gagne cooked on Christmas Day. Mike is a University of Texas law school grad and serious Longhorns fan, so when we (Mike is married to my daughter, Libby) decided to cook prime rib for the holiday, he went right to the source of…
 - 10/24/2016
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Cooking up a kosher BBQ storm in Big D

I don’t know who invented the double-barreled lede, but old Charlie Dickens had it down: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” After talking to barbecue competition judge Jennifer Shiflett in advance of the Dallas Kosher BBQ Championship next weekend, we found ourselves in need of the same technique. She said there’s no difference in taste between kosher barbecue and regular barbecue. And she wondered if competitors are using too much sauce on some of their entries. Either idea would make a good lede — beginning —  for this blog item. During the interview, we the got…
 - 10/23/2016
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