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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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Why we wait in long barbecue lines

Diners stand in line as they wait to order on a recent Saturday at Cattleack BBQ in Dallas. The idea about barbecue lines started simply enough during our recent visit to Micklethwait Craft Meats in Austin. “Why would you wait in line at Franklin when you can get this so close?” Sherry Jacobson wondered as she ate some of Micklethwait’s brisket, every bit as fine as what you could get a few blocks away at world famous Franklin Barbecue. And there was almost no line at Micklethwait. So we assembled an email roundtable of the Posse, all line-standing veterans, to…
 - 05/17/2017
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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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The birth of the Posse during a lightning tour of Central Texas’ best BBQ joints

Snow’s BBQ on a foggy Saturday morning in Nov. 2009, this was the Posse’s first of many trips to the BBQ mecca. Editors note: We thought it would be fun to republish the story from our first BBQ pilgrimage to Central Texas in November 2009. What began as a simple roadtrip for six friends became a life-changing experience for us all, giving birth to the Texas BBQ Posse. Once we tasted that Snow’s brisket for the first time, nothing related to BBQ would ever be the same. Here’s our story… By Gary Jacobson In thick fog on a Saturday morning, we…
 - 05/07/2017
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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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Foolproof smoked pork butt for beginners

In the beginning, I wanted to smoke and had no idea where to start. Just about every book on the subject suggested using a pork butt for a test flight. The reason is simple: it is almost impossible to overcook. The abundance of fat and the sheer mass of the cut gives the beginner a lot of room to hide any loss of focus. Everyone loves a pulled pork sandwich and it is a great start for the backyard BBQ. Because it is a massive muscle I find that with this much pork the meat next to the surface with…
 - 05/02/2017
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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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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 because 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 the Texas BBQ Posse 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…
 - 01/02/2017
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Smoked beef tenderloin recipe the Lopez Island way — hot and fast

Smoked beef tenderloin recipe 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…
 - 12/29/2016

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