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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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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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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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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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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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More evidence that Lockhart has lost its barbecue magic

Smitty’s Market oak wood pile & the Caldwell County courthouse. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) On our way back to Dallas from our recent Houston-area barbecue tour, all 6 Posse members on the trip listed their top 5 joints in the state, in no particular order. Specific criteria probably varied from person to person, but these would be places we’d drive across the state to eat at or recommend to good friends that they do the same. Since then, we’ve been asked to run each person’s top 5. Those lists are below. Three joints mentioned by each of us: Killen’s…
 - 02/01/2015
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Ten 50 BBQ in Richardson shows promise in first week, but Franklin, it’s not…

Large pallets of wood wait their turn in the smoker  (Photos by Jim Rossman) After an extensive remodel of a K&G Men’s Wear on north Central Expressway in Richardson, Ten 50 BBQ, owned by Chili’s founder Larry Lavine, finally opened this week to long lines and daily sellouts around 2:30p.m. each day. I watched a few accounts of Monday’s opening day, including a good writeup by Kellie Reynolds in the Dallas Observer. It was a quote in her story that caught my attention. “Franklin’s in Austin is the gold standard and we think we’ve matched that,” Levine told Reynolds. “We’ve…
 - 08/21/2014
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Take a number — A different approach to BBQ lines

Posse members Jim Rossman & Gary Jacobson head up the line at Killen’s BBQ. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves/fotobia.com) In our recent travels to Houston, part of the scheduling involved knowing that two joints – Killen’s and CorkScrew – were places that would require a wait in a pretty lengthy line. We hit CorkScrew BBQ in  Friday for lunch and did the same Saturday at Killen’s. Each place opens at 11am. I volunteered to be the line sitter each morning, arriving at 8:30 a.m. each day to secure the first spot in line. Note to our fellow line-waiters – I was alone…
 - 07/01/2014
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Soft on gassers? Not so says Posse member Bruce Tomaso…..

Snow’s BBQ pit boss Tootsie Tomanetz tends the pits as the sun rises over Lexington. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) By Bruce Tomaso/Texas BBQ Posse Gary Jacobson is a friend of mine. He’s a gifted writer, an extraordinary journalist with a sharp wit and a sharper mind. And he knows his barbecue. He’s been riding with the Posse longer than just about any of us. So it pains me to say this: On the subject of gas-fired smokers, Gary Jacobson is full of gas. A few days ago, he wrote on this blog that “perhaps we have mellowed a bit”…
 - 03/01/2014
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Zip Code 78702 — East Austin — the center of the Texas BBQ universe

Tom Micklethwait, pitmaster & owner of Micklethwait Craft Meats. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Last spring we wrote that Austin had replaced Lockhart as the new barbecue capital of Texas. Now, with La Barbecue moving east of I-35, we’re prepared to be even more specific. East Austin, specifically Zip Code 78702, is the undisputed center of the Texas barbecue universe. La Barbecue, with pit boss John Lewis, opens this week in its new location at the corner of East 6th Street and Waller. According to Google, that puts La Barbecue about a half-mile (a 9-minute walk) from Franklin Barbecue on East…
 - 12/03/2013
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Making the most of the ‘golden hour’ at Texas Monthly’s BBQ Fest

Pitmaster Justin Fourton of Pecan Lodge in Dallas shows off his brisket at the 2013 Texas Monthly BBQ Festival. Note: Posse members Libby and Mike Gagne, who live in Austin, attended Sunday’s Texas Monthly BBQ Festival (TMBBQ Fest 2013), which brings together many of the best joints in the state. Libby and Mike were guests of Phil Winters of FoodyDirect, an Internet food site that advertises on this blog. Here is Libby’s report from the event. We queued up at about 11 a.m. and were admitted to the festival at noon, and enjoyed a “Golden Hour” of reduced lines and…
 - 11/06/2013
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The Barbecue Chronicles: Austin is the new Lockhart BBQ Tour

       The Texas BBQ Posse dives into a spread of sausage, brisket, ribs and turkey at La Barbecue in Austin.  (Photo by Tom Fox/DMN)      Story by Gary Jacobson It would be easy to get carried away by what’s happening in Austin barbecue. Amid a fertile startup environment, young pitmasters are creating a smoked-meat renaissance, using only wood-fired pits and adopting old-school ways to cook for a new generation. A case could even be made that Austin has replaced Lockhart as the capital of Texas barbecue. We’ll leave that big-think stuff for another time. This is a…
 - 05/07/2013
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Today in the Dallas Morning News: The BBQ Posse’s Austin BBQ Tour

Here’s a look at our Austin BBQ Tour story in today’s Dallas Morning News travel section. This is the Posse’s second installment from the Texas BBQ trail in the DMN this year. Our Best of Texas BBQ project was published in early March. The tour grew out of a growing suspicion that Austin might be quickly replacing Lockhart as the state’s barbecue capital. And nothing we experienced on that day disproved the theory, every stop on the tour was nothing short of sensational. Click here to see the story, slideshow and video links on the DMN Travel section of dallasnews.com. Also, you can join us…
 - 04/28/2013
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See the photos from the Posse’s Austin BBQ Tour – The Fantastic Mr. Fox strikes again

Dallas Morning News staff photographer Tom Fox at work on the Austin BBQ Tour. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) When you’re on the road with the Texas BBQ Posse, it’s kind of like being in the middle of a media storm. The Posse is mainly made up of Dallas Morning News writers, editors, photojournalists and their friends. Yes, we have been accused before of being the BBQ paparazzi. On the recent Austin BBQ Tour we had nine journalists and artists in the group, including five photographers. One of those was award-winning DMN staff photographer Tom Fox. Tom has captured numerous…
 - 04/27/2013
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The Posse’s Austin BBQ Tour: Is Austin poised to overtake Lockhart as the barbecue capital of Texas?

Stops on the Austin BBQ Tour, clockwise from top left: John Mueller Meat Co., Franklin Barbecue, La Barbecue and Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew. (Photos by Tom Fox/DMN) The Dallas Morning News just posted Gary Jacobson’s story on our recent Austin BBQ Tour on both dallasnews.com and the DMN iPad app. The print story will appear on the in the newspaper’s travel section on Sunday. This may have been the best single day of barbecue we’ve ever had on tour, sampling four meats from each joint visited. As a collective group, the brisket, ribs, sausage and turkey from La Barbecue,…
 - 04/27/2013
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Turkey makes a move to join the royal family of Texas barbecue meats

The turkey breast at Franklin Barbecue was amazing. (Photo by Tom Fox/DMN) On Posse tours, we’ve noticed that more joints are adding smoked turkey breast to their menus, so we added it to our standard order during our recent Best of Austin barbecue tour. Brisket, pork ribs, sausage… and turkey. The holy trinity — plus one — of Texas barbecue. All four places we visited had turkey. Mainly, it was good. The best we had was at Franklin Barbecue. It was worth the wait in line just to see the meat cutter take the turkey breast from its butter bath,…
 - 04/24/2013
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Mueller ties run deep in BBQ joints on the Posse’s Best of Austin Tour

A portrait of the late Bobby Mueller, shot by daughter LeAnn, watches over La Barbecue. (Photo by Tom Fox/DMN) Follow the roots of most of the joints on our recent Best of Austin tour and they trace back, directly or indirectly, to Texas legend Louie Mueller and his place in Taylor. LeAnn and John Mueller,  grand children of Louie and children of Bobby, are the most direct links. LeAnn owns La Barbecue. John is the pitmaster at John Mueller Meat Co. They used to work together but then there was that infamous blow up. Aaron Franklin, owner of Franklin Barbecue,…
 - 04/23/2013
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Sneak peek at our Austin BBQ Tour

Lunch no. 1 at Franklin Barbecue. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) The Posse was wheels up from Dallas early this morning to check out the growing Austin barbecue scene, which we believe could be overtaking Lockhart as the capital of Texas BBQ. This trip was a chance to test that theory. Stay tuned to the Texas BBQ Posse blog for stories and snippets from the trip. Our reporting will culminate at the end of April with a story in The Dallas Morning News and multimedia on dallasnews.com. Here’s the trip itinerary: Austin BBQ Tour 6:30am: Leave Dallas 9:30am: Franklin Barbecue,…
 - 04/17/2013
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The 10 top posts of all-time on the Texas BBQ Posse blog

Posse members toast at Loco Coyote Grill in Glen Rose during our Brazos & Beyond BBQ Tour. (Photo©R.J. Hinkle) We missed a couple of important Posse milestones recently. So, forgive us a few moments of backslapping as we catch up. The very first item on this blog was posted March 7, 2010, just over three years ago. It likely will never be a trivia question, like “what was the first video played on MTV?” (Answer: Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles.) But, still, it’s kinda sentimental to us. The item was about our first trip to the Central…
 - 03/22/2013
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Bikes, Blues and Barbecues: A father and son hit the Texas BBQ Trail on 2 wheels

Tim Landauer poses in front of the Texas Capitol, left. Son Robby rides between Taylor and Austin.  Here at Posse headquarters, we’ve been feeling pretty good about ourselves and the nearly 700-mile Best of Texas Tour that we did — by car — over a long weekend. Then we got an email from Tim Landauer, a North Texas resident who, with his son, Robby, took a 6-day, 276-mile tour of the Central Texas barbecue heartland by bicycle last May. They ate at five of the same joints we did and arrived at the same conclusion: “Franklin’s is the best we…
 - 03/18/2013
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The Barbecue Chronicles: Best of Texas BBQ Tour

Brisket, ribs and sausage at Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor. (Photo by Tom Fox/DMN) By Gary Jacobson/Texas BBQ Posse For a while now, members of the Texas BBQ Posse have strongly suspected that Dallas finally has a joint that can hang with the elite barbecue restaurants in the state. Our recent Posse Favorites Tour confirmed that suspicion. We drove nearly 700 miles and ate at 10 top places over 48 hours. We scored brisket, pork ribs and sausage, the holy trinity of Texas barbecue, on a 10-point scale. In the end, we compiled a list of the six top-scoring spots.…
 - 03/12/2013
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Indeed, Lockhart is no longer the BBQ capital of Texas, and other things we learned from the Posse’s Best of Texas Tour

A customer eats lunch at Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q in Tyler. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves) A few things we think we learned from our recent Best of Texas BBQ Tour: –In a post here a while back, we pondered whether Lockhart was losing its distinction as the BBQ capital of Texas. Upon more reflection, we’re ready to say, yes, it definitely has lost the crown. With Franklin Barbecue and a host of start-up joints, we’re declaring Austin the new capital. To us, Lockhart is going stale. In Texas barbecue, you can’t take success for granted. –Related to that, newcomers are making a…
 - 03/12/2013
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