Texas BBQ Posse

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First Look: Work Bar & Grill in Deep Ellum, Dallas

Brisket plate with sides of cole slaw and tortellini mac & cheese at Work Bar & Grill. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Editors note: This joint is now closed. A philosophical question: Can a place that has more salads on its menu than smoked meats be called a barbecue joint? After sampling the brisket, pulled pork and chicken at Work Bar and Grill in Deep Ellum, the Posse answers “Yes.” We also are better able to answer a couple of other pressing Dallas barbecue questions. Where’s a good place to have a sit-down barbecue dinner with drinks? Lockhart Smokehouse used…
 - 06/28/2013
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Posse winner talks about growing up with Aaron Franklin and the future of barbecue in Texas

Aaron Franklin, right, and his bandmates in Those Peabodys. (Photo courtesy of Post-Parlo Records) Please pardon our tardiness, we’re a bit late with this post. Neil Gallagher of Bryan won last month’s Texas barbecue giveaway offered by FoodyDirect in partnership with the Posse. FoodyDirect, an online food marketplace, randomly selected his name from among more than 200 entries. When I contacted Gallagher, 35, to congratulate him, the conversation ranged widely, from his win to even pondering the future of barbecue in Texas. He said he grew up in Bryan with Aaron Franklin, now the reigning barbecue baron of the state.…
 - 06/18/2013
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Where’s Vera’s? … and other Posse reactions to Texas Monthly’s new Top 50 BBQ joints

In case you missed it, Texas Monthly’s new Top 50 list of the best BBQ joints in the state is at the end of this post. The magazine will reveal its Top 4 on Thursday. Why only 4? We’re hearing No. 5 had consistency problems and was dropped at the last minute. Now, for some Posse reaction to the new Top 50: — The most interesting omission was Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Que in Brownsville. New Texas Monthly BBQ editor Daniel Vaughn put Vera’s in his Top 5 in the state in his book, The Prophets of Smoked Meat. But maybe whole…
 - 05/16/2013
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It’s not just Austin, something big is happening in Dallas BBQ, too

These five joints are leading a BBQ renaissance in the Dallas area. (Photos ©Chris Wilkins and Jim Rossman) Reader interaction is terrific. On our story in The Dallas Morning News about Austin’s barbecue renaissance, one online reader — going by the moniker “J” — wrote: “Too bad the BBQ scene in DFW stinks.” I responded to “J” that the sentiment is wrong. There’s a barbecue renaissance in Dallas, too. From the Posse’s extensive touring, we put Pecan Lodge at the Farmers Market among the top two or three joints in the state. If Texas Monthly’s new rankings (the June issue) don’t…
 - 04/30/2013
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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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BBQ is….. A photo project by Posse member Daniel Goncalves

Lance Kirkpatrick, pitmaster at Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves) Here’s a sneak peek at the beginning of an extraordinary photo project by Dallas-based editorial and commercial photographer Daniel Goncalves. As most of you know by now, the Posse is a pretty creative group, made up of Dallas Morning News photojournalists, writers, editors and their friends. With this project, Daniel has raised the creative bar for the Posse. Daniel writes about the concept: I love people as much as I love food. The Posse has introduced me to great people and incredible BBQ. While on tour I’ve been…
 - 04/22/2013
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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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How to plan your own Texas BBQ Tour

       The posse samples meats during our first trip to Franklin BBQ. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/The Texas BBQ Posse) When it comes to Texas BBQ tours, the Posse has a few tips to share with our readers. We’ve had 12 BBQ tours since 2009, covering around 5,000 miles. Our last trip, the Best of Texas BBQ Tour, covered 700 miles and 10 top Texas BBQ joints over 48 hours. Tip no. 1: Do your research and planning, have an agenda. Check out website’s like Daniel Vaughn’s Full Custom Gospel BBQ blog. Daniel has been to every BBQ joint in Texas and…
 - 03/20/2013
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A short, philosophical meditation on our Best of Texas BBQ Tour

Posse BBQ judges (L-R) Jim Rossman, Bruce Tomaso and Gary Jacobson sample the meats at Fargo’s Pit BBQ in Bryan. (Photo by Tom Fox/DMN) In some respects, our recent Best of Texas barbecue tour was like a cookoff. Only the food didn’t come to the judges, we went to the food. Eating at 10 places over 48 hours and scoring each joint’s brisket, pork ribs and sausage — the three foundation meats of Texas BBQ — gave us a good framework for comparison. It also focused our attention entirely on the basics. Yes, side dishes are important. And so are…
 - 03/07/2013
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Memo to Gov. Perry: Texas needs a truth in BBQ law

Last week on the Posse’s Facebook page, we had a good discussion with readers about the use of real wood or other means to smoke barbecue. One reader, Mark “The Hogfather” Gabrick, suggested that we lead an initiative to get Texas to pass a truth in barbecue law. Or, more simply, we should designate joints that use only wood as “Posse approved.” Gotta admit, that last phrase does have a nice ring. The Hogfather noted that “Carolina” passed a similar law a while back, which sent us scrambling to the Internet archives to substantiate. Indeed, in 1986, Gov. Richard Riley…
 - 02/25/2013
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It’s the Super Bowl of BBQ tours for the Posse

As we prepared for our biggest tour ever this weekend, members of the Texas BBQ Posse faced their biggest controversy yet: Should sausage count as much as brisket in determining the best barbecue joint in the state? On our organized tours and smaller excursions over the past 4 years, members of the Posse have visited hundreds of places in search of the best smoked meats in Texas. Now, to determine the very best – at least for this one trip — we plan to visit our 10 favorites over three days, covering nearly 700 miles. Then, we’ll rank the top…
 - 02/04/2013
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Still no joint of his own, but Clyde Biggins wins more BBQ fans

The first time we sampled the cooking of Clyde Biggins, the former Dallas BBQ king who is trying to make a comeback after nearly 17 years in prison, we arrived with about 10 Posse members and friends. The food was great. So was the company. That was a month ago. Since then, Clyde’s fame has grown, even though he still doesn’t have a joint of his own, just a portable smoker. When we arrived Friday for another lunch sampler, we were more than 30 strong, all anxious to taste Clyde’s brisket, ribs and sausage. “It was better than the first…
 - 07/27/2012
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About the iguana who thought he was a cat and the python who only eats rats

On a barbecue tour, there is no such thing as down time. Even the long drives bring surprises. Last year, returning to Dallas from East Texas, we decided that someone should call out Texas Monthly for including joints that use gas-fired pits in its Top 50 BBQ rankings. We did just that, eventually engaging TM food editor Pat Sharpe in a constructive discussion about the magazine’s selection criteria. Sometimes, we just learn interesting things about our fellow Posse members. On the first leg of our recent 35-hour, 700-mile dash to the Gulf Coast and back, Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins talked…
 - 06/22/2012
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A meditation on “creamy, crunchy” BBQ perfection

Recently, one of our readers, probably from Houston, took issue with a reference here to the spectacular ribs at City Market in Luling, seen in the photo above. A Posse member called the best rib he had ever eaten — just that morning at City Market — “moist, creamy, crunchy perfection.” Our reader wondered how any real barbecue fan could ever call a rib creamy. Of course, he was probably more upset that the same post essentially said the best barbecue in Houston was average when compared to the best in Dallas. Hot barbecue opinions, like hot sports opinions, do…
 - 06/15/2012
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The Posse takes a beach break in Galveston

For me, a little beach goes a long way. So, during the Posse’s 45-minute beach break in Galveston last weekend, midway through a 700-mile, 35-hour barbecue tour, I mainly watched the pelicans dive-bombing for fish. At times, I’d swear those big birds were flying in attack formation. Phil Lamb, an attorney and also the wheelman on the tour in his Chevy Tahoe, fished from a rocky breakwater nearby. He caught one small mullet and 15 pounds of seaweed. Chris Wilkins, a photo editor at The Dallas Morning News, shucked his shoes and walked into the surf for a while. Then…
 - 06/09/2012
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Unlocking at least one secret to what makes Fargo’s Pit BBQ so good

Alan Caldwell, owner and pitmaster at Fargo’s Pit BBQ in Bryan, has been very protective of the cooking secrets that help make his joint one of the top two or three in Texas. In the past, he has refused to tell the Posse and BBQ Snob Daniel Vaughn the kind of pit he uses or the kind of wood he burns. “You still refusing to show anyone your pit?” he was asked during our weekend barbecue tour that covered 700 miles and took us to the Texas Gulf Coast. “That’s my secret,” he said. “Let’s talk about something else.” After…
 - 06/08/2012
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Follow the Texas BBQ Posse on Facebook and Twitter

The Texas BBQ Posse began in November 2009 when six friends took their first BBQ road trip to Central Texas. As we sat beside the smokers at Snow’s BBQ, our lives changed with the first bite of brisket during breakfast at the legendary Lexington joint. Stops at Louie Mueller, Smitty’s and Kreuz Market followed that day. We started the Posse blog shortly thereafter. Since then, we’ve driven 4,000-plus miles of Texas highways and backroads. Whether on organized tours or meandering road trips, we’re always searching for the best BBQ in the state. We’ve reported on our adventures on the blog, on…
 - 05/24/2012
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Fear & Loathing at the Smokin’ Possum Cookoff at Possum Kingdom Lake

It’s less than 11 hours til our first check in time at the Smokin’ Possum Cookoff. This is the second year for the competition, which has been named as a Texas state championship by the I.B.C.A. We’re missing two members of our cook team, Bryan Gooding and Gary Barber, who were key members of the award winning run at last year’s Blues, Bandits & BBQ Festival in Oak Cliff. This is our first cookoff since then. We’re cooking ribs, chicken and brisket against a tough field of seasoned competitors. We’ll be live blogging during the day, for better or for…
 - 05/21/2011
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The first families of Dallas BBQ meet up at The Great Posse Smokefest

A spouse of one Posse member likened The Great Posse Smokefest this past Saturday and Sunday to a sleep-over for 10-year-old boys. Yes, I did take my pillow and, thankfully, got to use it for an hour and a half. The smoking of meat started Saturday evening, continued all night, and culminated in a party for Posse members and friends, totaling more than 50 people. The highlight, other than the fellowship around the pits, was early Sunday afternoon when the owners of the Pecan Lodge — Justin and Diane Fourton — met the owners of Lockhart Smokehouse — Jeff and…
 - 05/17/2011
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Welcome to The Great Posse Smokefest

It’s 1:30 a.m. on Preston Crest Lane. The Jambo J-3 is locked in at 250 degrees. Five briskets soaking up clean hickory smoke. We’ve got a half-dozen racks of ribs in the brine, waiting to be rubbed and put on the smoker at 6 a.m. or so. A couple of chickens, and pork butt, too. Justin Fourton, pitmaster of the Pecan Lodge, plans to arrive at 4 a.m. with his pit. Later, Jeff Bergus, owner of Lockhart Smokehouse plans to arrive with some of his original Kreuz Market sausage. Welcome to The Great Posse Smokefest. We hope to have fun…
 - 05/15/2011
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Texas BBQ competition season is upon us

As the Texas BBQ Posse, a small group of us from the The Dallas Morning News, and friends, have traveled much of the state in search of the best smoked meats we can find. Then we tell readers what we think of the joints we visit. Anyone can talk a good game, some readers have gently reminded us since we began our Barbecue Chronicles in late 2009. So we decided to see if we could also walk the barbecue walk. Last September, we entered our first competition, the Blues, Bandits & BBQ festival in Oak Cliff. It was an exhausting,…
 - 03/22/2011
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On the road: The Steve Miller Band makes a BBQ stop in Austin

Texas BBQ Posse member and Dallas Morning News staff photographer David Woo was on the road last week with the Steve Miller Band, a group he has been photographing for 20 years. Steve, who moved to Dallas when he was 7 years old, is a huge fan of Texas BBQ and always looking for the greatest que the state has to offer. David accompanied the Posse on our recent anniversary tour to central Texas and discovered the brisket at Franklin Barbecue and the ribs and sides at Lamberts Downtown Barbecue, both in Austin. He started planning a BBQ feast for…
 - 03/05/2011
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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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