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Pit Talk: Finding the best level of BBQ smoke

Here’s a new feature on our blog, Pit Talk. Texas BBQ Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper will share insights he’s gained in almost 30 years manning a backyard smoker. Here are a few of his thoughts on smoke and BBQ. Marshall writes: So, it seems there could be a big disparity on desired smoke levels between competition judges, BBQ restaurants and everyone else. In talking to several competition guys, “the judges just want a very subtle layer of smoke, so you can taste smoke but not enough smoke that it makes you burp” is one comment. “I always lose points if…
 - 04/15/2011
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Marshall Cooper takes his new Jambo J-3 pit for a test ride

Texas BBQ Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper finally got his new Jambo J-3 pit on Thursday, after being delayed by the ice storms. In typical Marshall fashion, there was a fire going almost as soon as the J-3 was parked in the driveway. Marshall has been smoking meats for over 25 years and keeps intricate notes and meat maps from all his cooks. Here are some notes from the initial cook: Friday, 2/11 at 11:12 pm “I’ve staggered about 58 pounds of meat onto the pit since 1:30 pm today. Fire management is easier than you would believe. The desired pit…
 - 02/12/2011
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Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper talks butcher paper wrapped cooking with Mr. BBQ

Mr. BBQ Bruce Bjorkman has once again called on the Texas BBQ Posse to talk barbecue on his syndicated radio show. Texas BBQ Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper will join Bruce this Saturday to talk about his test cooks smoking brisket and ribs with butcher paper wrap, rather than foil, during the cooking process. Posse lead writer Gary Jacobson has visited the show three times over the past year to share stories from our Texas BBQ tours, but this is Marshall’s first appearance. He’s a master backyard pitmaster, with over 25 years of experience manning the smokers. We first saw the…
 - 01/21/2011
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Pit Talk: Butcher paper wrapped brisket – Pitmaster Marshall Cooper shows you how

*We have an updated article Cooking butcher paper wrapped brisket, which includes a step-by-step video. Our recent Central Texas 5-Star Anniversary BBQ Tour yielded an unexpected discovery as we talked technique with Aaron Franklin, owner of Franklin Barbecue in Austin. Several Texas BBQ Posse members are backyard pitmasters, so we are always pestering BBQ joint pit bosses for their tricks of the trade. This one stopped us in our tracks though, when Aaron casually mentioned that he wraps his award-winning brisket in butcher paper, rather than foil, during the cooking process. What was that? Butcher paper wrapped brisket? Pitmaster Marshall Cooper…
 - 12/23/2010
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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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Texas BBQ Posse! “Converting the vegetarian, one diner at a time!”

One of the Posse’s proudest accomplishments this weekend was converting not ONE, but TWO vegetarians at the Blues, Bandits & BBQ cook off in Oak Cliff. After a taste of Bryan Gooding’s award-winning chicken, they could not help but join the ranks of carnivores again. The photo below, shot by competition organizer Rob Shearer, shows the decisive moment as our first convert, in the center wearing a dark red jacket, bites into sample of Bryan’s chicken at the Posse’s Saturday night dinner party on Clinton Avenue. On Sunday, a second meat-free person rejoined the ranks of meat lovers after sampling…
 - 09/13/2010
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Victory in the OC: The Posse wins for chicken and brisket

What an incredible two days camped out at the corner of Clinton Ave. & Seventh St. in Oak Cliff! The Blues, Bandits & BBQ cook off was our first competition and the Posse rose to the occasion. Posse cook team member Bryan “Chicken a la KIng” Gooding, below, won first place for his chicken. He had perfected a rub and cooking technique for organic chicken and executed his plan to perfection on Sunday. Our lead cook Marshall Cooper also nailed second place with a 15-pound monster organic brisket, smoking it for a full 24 hours at 220 degrees. After five…
 - 09/13/2010
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Blues, Bandits & BBQ cook off: The end is near

Well, the judging is done and the smokers are cooling down at the Blues, Bandits & BBQ cook off. Who will finish in the money? Stay tuned……. Also, a bonus photo of the Sunset High School Bisonettes dancing to Boot Scootin’ Boogie, they might have been the highlight of the entire weekend! (Photos Chris Wilkins)
 - 09/12/2010
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3:30am at the Blues, Bandits & BBQ cook off, only the strong survive.

Can’t believe I’m still standing. It’s 3:30am and it’s finally cooled down, after a pretty strong little thunderstorm over the OC at the Blues, Bandits & BBQ cook off. Below is a photo I shot at sunset, right before the rain moved in. What an awesome night, looking forward to a glorious Sunday amongst the smoke & BBQ pits. (Photos by Chris WIlkins)
 - 09/12/2010
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Amazing dinner at the Blues, Bandits & BBQ cook off

An awesome spread of food was laid out by the Posse at our spot outside the Kessler Theater in the OC tonight. We invited the public to join in. Posse member Bryan Gooding dished up his famous smoked chicken tacos and Marshall Cooper laid out smoked spareribs, joined by sides and a cold fruit salad, which really hit the spot after being in the heat, humidity and smoke all day. Bryan’s chicken was so excellent that he even converted a vegetarian to come back to meat, shown in the bottom photo! Truly amazing, believe me folks, we can convert them…
 - 09/12/2010
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The Posse heading to Oak Cliff for the Blues, Bandits and BBQ Competition

Come by and say hi to the Texas BBQ Posse cook team on Saturday and Sunday at the first annual Blues, Bandits and BBQ Sustainable BBQ Competition in Oak Cliff. Sustainable means organic, or grass fed, meaning you don’t have near as much fat to help flavor and smoke your brisket or ribs. This should be interesting! Lead cook Marshall Cooper and others on the competition team have had several test cooks trying to perfect our organic meat smoking technique for our first BBQ cook off. Come on by the OC and look for the posse banner flying proudly. This…
 - 09/09/2010
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Fear & Loathing at the Taylor International Barbeque Cookoff

We had an absolutely amazing weekend starting Friday night in Taylor, Texas. The primary purpose of the trip was to attend the Taylor International Barbeque Cookoff on Saturday, but the weekend began on Friday night with a dinner visit at Louie Mueler Barbecue followed by wine, cigars and great music on the back deck at the Talbot Street Bed & Breakfast in Taylor. Saturday morning brought the Texas BBQ bloggers round table at Louie Mueller, arranged by our friend Daniel Vaughn. Then on to the Taylor cookoff for some BBQ 101. Fellow posse member Gary Jacobson and I need all…
 - 08/23/2010
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BBQ bloggers gather at Louie Mueller Barbecue

We had a really cool experience this morning meeting other BBQ bloggers from around the state. Thanks to the BBQ Snob, Daniel Vaughn, for getting everyone together for a smoked meat breakfast at Louie Mueller Barbecue, one of the Posse’s favorite joints in the world. Most of us were in town for the Taylor International Barbeque Cookoff. Gary Jacobson and I represented the Texas BBQ Posse. In addition to Daniel, bloggers from Dallas, Ft. Worth, Houston, Austin and Euless were represented. The highlight was trying some BBQ ice cream after our breakfast. The taste was interesting, to say the least!…
 - 08/21/2010
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The secret to a great brisket is in the wood

There’s a really good article on the wood and barbeque on page one of The Dallas Morning News this morning. Writer Erinn Connor takes a look at Arnold Brothers Forest Products, who supplies wood to most of the barbeque joints around the region. Texas BBQ Posse member Marshall Cooper is quoted in the article. He’s been a long-time customer of Arnold Brothers and sums up the importance of good wood in the story. “A lot of people who don’t do this don’t realize the wood is really important,” Marshall said. “The smoke gives the meat the flavor.” Click here to…
 - 07/18/2010

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