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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…
 - 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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The top 10 posts in the history of the Texas BBQ Posse Blog

Our first trip to Snow’s BBQ in 2009 was a life-changing event for a group of friends. If a milestone occurs and no one notices, is it still a milestone? That question certainly doesn’t rank with the great philosophical barbecue debates — i.e., foil or butcher paper? — but it is something we’re pondering this week. Why? This is the 400th published post since we launched the Texas BBQ Posse blog in March of 2010, six and one-half years ago. The initial post in our Barbecue Chronicles is still one of my favorites. It was about our first trip to…
 - 10/17/2016
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How to make the best smoked pimento cheese in the world*

From start to finish, here’s a look at Bryan Gooding’s amazing smoked pimento cheese. Photos ©Bryan Gooding * Or, at least in Oak Cliff, Texas For a while, I’ve been trying to persuade good friend and fellow Posse member Bryan Gooding to write about some of his barbecue recipes. But the reigning chicken king of Oak Cliff has been reluctant to share. He has guarded his secrets as closely as Kentucky Fried. Maybe for good reason. Bryan has twice won the award for best chicken at the Blues, Bandits & BBQ cook-off, including last year. He also has won best…
 - 08/28/2016
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In praise of the Cornell Recipe and Bob Baker, the Aaron Franklin of chicken

Cooking Cornell Recipe chicken at the Rochester Canoe Club in the early 1980s. Photo: Gary Jacobson Within our great barbecue family, none of us stands alone. We’re all influenced by someone or something else. Friends, relatives, pit masters, other cooks, experts, bloggers, books and all the joints we’ve ever visited, good and bad. One of my main influences occurred almost 40 years ago when I first encountered the Cornell Recipe. For fans of Texas barbecue who love dry rubs and post oak smoke, this may be a bit jarring. The Cornell Recipe is for a sauce — a vinegar and…
 - 08/27/2016
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A return visit confirms, Killen’s BBQ is one of the best in Texas

Phil’s lunch of brisket, ribs, turkey & Sausage at Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland. (Photo ©Phil Lamb) Posse member Phil Lamb checks in this week with a dispatch from Houston: The passage of time plays funny tricks on the BBQ mind. For example, I often wonder whether a particular joint serving above-average ‘cue will hold up over time. This is especially true of out-of-town spots we don’t regularly visit. Similarly, I occasionally wonder whether a joint we once ranked as “outstanding” was really all that special. It’s as if doubt starts to creep in after a few months go by. Did…
 - 05/23/2016
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Is Snow’s the Machu Picchu of Texas BBQ?

Ray Shepard & David Messersmith during their first visit to Snow’s BBQ in Lexington. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Among the wonders of the world, it probably doesn’t rank with Machu Picchu or the Great Pyramid of Giza. But in the world of Texas barbecue, nothing compares to a trip to Snow’s on a Saturday, the only day the joint is open. It’s a rite of passage for lovers of smoked meat. Soon after Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins posted a Facebook photo from our recent visit to Lexington, a commenter wrote: “Can’t wait to get out there for the first…
 - 02/05/2016
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The Posse returns to Central Texas and not a bad bite of barbecue was had

The Texas BBQ Posse returns to Snow’s BBQ in Lexington. (L-R) Mark Vamos, Jim Rossman, Bruce Tomaso, Chris Wilkins, Michael Ainsworth, Gary Jacobson, Daniel Goncalves & Tom Fox. (Photo ©Tom Fox) We weren’t on the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston. And it wasn’t snowing. Still, James Taylor would have liked the scene. In the early morning sun, a white frosting covered the fields along the highway from Austin to Lexington, Texas. Ice crystals glistened, almost as if they made their own light. It was a nice way to begin a barbecue tour, especially since we were headed to Snow’s BBQ,…
 - 02/04/2016
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More photos from the Return to Austin BBQ Tour

Tending the late-night pits at Freedmen’s Bar, Austin. (Photo ©Tom Fox) One of the great rewards after a Texas BBQ tour is looking back on our trip through the eyes of Posse member Tom Fox.  We’ve written about Tom’s amazing work before, he’s a staff photographer at The Dallas Morning News and a 2006 Pulitzer Prize winner for his work on the Morning News photo team coverage of Hurricane Katrina. We consider Tom to be one of the top visual storytellers documenting the Texas BBQ trail. Along with our friend Wyatt McSpadden, the godfather of Texas BBQ photography, Tom brings the unique beauty…
 - 02/02/2016
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On an eating pilgrimage to Austin, a Californian meets Aaron Franklin and the Posse, and tastes ‘the love’ of Texas BBQ

Steven Hecht visits with La Barbecue pitmaster Dylan Taylor, 21, who was trained by the legendary John Lewis. (Photo ©Tom Fox) Posse Note: During our barbecue tour of Central Texas last weekend, we met Steven Hecht, born in Texas who now lives in California. He said that he’s a regular reader of this blog and he used it to plan his Texas BBQ tour. Of course, after learning that, we asked him to write about his experience. Here is his story: I just returned from my first BBQ Pilgrimage to Austin, Texas and it was a life-changing experience. My name…
 - 01/30/2016
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An authentic BBQ experience at Billy’s Oak Acres in Fort Worth

Lunch is served at Biily’s Oak Acres BBQ: Sausage, bologna, brisket, pulled pork, hot links and pork ribs. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves/Fotobis.com) On an almost perfect autumn Saturday, there were so many possibilities for fun in North Texas. -The State Fair. -Big-time college football with UT at TCU and Baylor against Texas Tech in Arlington. -The Rangers’ pursuit of the American League West title. -Smoked Dallas, the barbecue and live music event. The Posse, of course, chose barbecue. But not the Dallas affair, which offered VIP tickets for $90 apiece. For us, the terms “VIP” and “BBQ” just don’t go together.…
 - 10/05/2015
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Check out the map of the Texas BBQ Posse’s favorite joints

Since 2009, the Texas BBQ Posse has logged over 7,000 miles visiting joints around the state. In early 2010, group member Gary Barber set up an interactive Google map to chart our favorite BBQ joints around the state. Dozens of BBQ tours have followed since then. This map shows the places we’d visit again, an unofficial Texas BBQ Posse “stamp of approval.” You can click here to access our Google map of Texas BBQ Posse stops. Enjoy the blue highways of Texas BBQ and follow the smoke!
 - 08/24/2015
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How to plan the perfect Texas BBQ tour

Pecan Lodge in Dallas is a don’t miss stop on any DFW BBQ tour. The Posse is approaching its eighth anniversary of driving the cities, towns and backroads of Texas in search of great barbecue. Inspired by Texas Monthly magazine’s 2008 list of the Best BBQ joints in Texas, our original group of six hit the road in early November 2009. Seven-plus years later, we’ve made dozens of trips around the state, sharing our stories on this blog and in The Dallas Morning News. Here are a few things we’ve learned along the way. 1. Do your research: There’s no substitute…
 - 06/20/2015
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Cattleack Barbecue’s Todd David reveals his secrets for great pastrami — some of his secrets anyway

Cattleack BBQ pitmaster/owner Todd David works the cutting board. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) After eating at Cattleack Barbecue last Saturday, the Posse declared the Dallas joint the equal of any in town. We especially loved the pastrami. Salty with a hint of sweet, the taste pleasantly lingered long after swallowing. During an email exchange this week, I asked pit master Todd David for more details about how he prepared his pastrami. Here, in edited form, are his comments: “I have made pastrami a few times in the past in all my experimenting but never for the public. While my…
 - 06/19/2015
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‘Nobody better’ in Dallas than Cattleack Barbecue

Lunch sampling of brisket, pulled pork, beer bacon beef sausage & brisket pastrami at CattleAck BBQ. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) There may be some prophets of smoked meat, but too bad there aren’t more poets. The Posse could have used one last Saturday because the smoked pastrami that Todd David served at CattleAck Barbecue deserved an ode, if not a sonnet. “That’s the barbecue gauntlet right there,” Posse member Bryan Gooding said of the pastrami. “Everybody else is going to have to figure out how to do it.” Sliced from the lean end, the meat glistened on the tray.…
 - 06/15/2015
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A very tasty Texas BBQ day: Breakfast at Snow’s, lunch at Louie Mueller and dinner at Miller’s Smokehouse

Legendary Snow’s BBQ pitmaster  Tootsie Tomanetz. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves/fotobia.com) The Posse took it’s long overdue 5th anniversary barbecue tour Saturday. Dubbed the Central Texas Legends Tour by Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins, it came 5 years and 5 months after our very first trip in November 2009. It was a one-day roundtrip dash from Dallas, covering 390 miles in about 13 hours. We ate at 3 joints and stopped at a fourth to pay homage to one of the state’s cooking legends. A lot has changed since the Posse first started touring. And some things haven’t. One of those is the…
 - 04/15/2015
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The Posse tells you how Texas barbecue is different from the rest

A father & son wait on their order at Gonzales Food Market. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) (Note: This item was written as a guest post for the blog at FoodyDirect, a Posse advertiser, and is being republished here.) As the popularity of Texas-style smoked meat spreads across the country, one of the great philosophical questions of our time is emerging. What makes Texas barbecue different from other barbecue? The answers are many and can lead to intense debates: Beef vs. pork. Dry rubs vs. sauce. Wood vs. charcoal. Indirect heat vs. direct. Austin vs. Memphis or Kansas City or…
 - 02/11/2015

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