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More historic BBQ photos from the files of the Farm Security Administration

Here’s another set of barbecue photos from the collection of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) photo archive. These were shot in 1940 by photojournalist Russell Lee at a free community barbecue picnic on Labor Day in Ridgway, Colorado. After my blog post last week on FSA images of Texas BBQ, I spent some more time going through their photo archive searching “barbecue.” I found an amazing set of color photos from a community BBQ in New Mexico, also shot in 1940 by Russell Lee, a rarity as almost all FSA images were shot on black & white film. I’ll put…
 - 12/30/2011

Posse favorites: The Tipsy Texan sandwich at Franklin BBQ

The Posse is always keeping an eye out for the greatest sandwiches offered on the Texas BBQ trail. Such was the case the first time we saw the massive $2.75 chopped beef sandwich at Meshack’s BBQ in Garland, the BBQ Po Boy at Loco Coyote Grill in Glen Rose or my favorite, the Brother-in-Law sandwich at Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q in Tyler. Well, it looks like there’s another contender for the BBQ sandwich elite, the Tipsy Texan at Franklin Barbecue in Austin. Seriouseats.com blogger Carrie Vasios sums up the Tipsy Texan this way, “This sandwich tastes like everything that is…
 - 12/26/2011

First visit to JMueller BBQ in Austin

Last week, I joined Posse members Marshall Cooper and Jim Rossman for a quick roadtrip to Austin. Marshall was returning a portable smoker to Franklin Barbecue pitmaster John Lewis, who he has been helping on the national BBQ cookoff competition circuit. It was a great excuse to grab a bite at both Franklin and the new JMueller BBQ while we were down there. JMueller BBQ was opened in October by John Mueller, grandson of legendary BBQ master Louie Mueller of Taylor. Much has already been written about the joint, including a New York Times story published before he even opened…
 - 12/19/2011

Checking out Casstevens Cash & Carry in Lillian

Texas BBQ Posse member Guy Reynolds writes and shares photos from a recent trip to Casstevens Cash & Carry in Lillian. The joint has received four stars from Daniel Vaughn on his Full Custom Gospel BBQ blog and received a 4.5 rating from Texas Monthly. Here’s Guy’s dispatch from Lillian: My mother and I have been waiting for Off The Bone to open its new location, walking distance from where she lives in Mansfield, but it’s been months since the announcement and little progress has happened. So the last time I was over that way we decided to make the…
 - 12/13/2011

Photos from the Blues, Bandits and BBQ cook off in the OC

Here’s a list on winner’s from the Blues, Bandits and BBQ cook off at Lake Cliff Park in Oak Cliff. Congrats to all….. Brisket: 1st – Matador Meat wine; 2nd – Texas BBQ Posse; 3rd – The Smoke Cliff Boys Pulled pork: 1st – Smokin Ronnie’s BBQ; 2nd – Texas BBQ Posse; 3rd 3-Bar BBQ Ribs: 1st – Oak Cliff Oh’s; 2nd – Smokin Ronnie’s BBQ; 3rd – Matador Meat wine Chicken: 1st – Oak Cliff Oh’s; 2nd – Texas BBQ Posse; 3rd – The Smoke Cliff Boys Sausage: 1st – BBQ Bandits; 2nd – Matador Meat wine; 3rd –…
 - 10/23/2011

The Sheriff and her Posse

The Texas BBQ Posse cook team poses with Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez during the Blues, Bandits and BBQ cook off held in Oak Cliff’s Lake Cliff Park. We did well (more details to come), placing second place in brisket, pulled pork and chicken. I’ll be posting more photos shortly, but here’s one of our favorites. Thanks to the amazing Rob Schear and his awesome crew, it was a BBQ fellowship to remember. Also thanks to the judges, who each had to eat samples of all 54 meat entries today! See you all next year…… Photo by Daniel Vaughn
 - 10/23/2011

To shig, or not to shig, that is the barbecue question

Excuse me if I’m late to the party, but I just learned a new word: shigging. It means stealing, or attempting to steal, someone’s barbecue secrets. The term seems to have come out of the BBQ competition circuit, but also works for joints and backyard pitmasters. For example, my good friend Bryan Gooding, who won the chicken category at the Blues, Bandits & BBQ cook-off in Oak Cliff last year, won’t share his recipe. But I watched him. And there’s vinegar — and ice cubes — in his brine. And on tours, the Posse is almost always shigging. We’re constantly…
 - 09/15/2011

Looking for some real Texas BBQ on the west coast?

OK, I know this is the Texas BBQ Posse. But every now and then we discover the real deal outside of the Lone Star state and feel the need to tell you all about it. Such was the case when I visited Lonnie Ray’s BBQ in Harrisburg, Missouri, earlier this year. Introducing Podnah’s Pit Barbecue in Portland, Oregon. Posse member Michael Ainsworth was vacationing in Portland recently and ended up at Podnah’s. Michael was the first Posse member to try Franklin BBQ, before the super long lines and signs announcing they were sold out of BBQ by noon. He knows…
 - 09/10/2011

Road trip to Llano – Laird’s vs. Cooper’s BBQ challenge

During a recent trip to Fredericksburg with my wife Michele, I made sure the backroads route from Dallas included driving through Llano. During the two years the Posse has been visiting and blogging about BBQ, few joints have stirred up as much debate as Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que in Llano. We’ve gotten emails proclaiming it as the best in Texas, while others labeled Cooper’s as an overrated stop for BBQ tourists. Posse member Michael Hamtil & his wife Lara Solt did extensive comparisons between Cooper’s and Laird’s Bar-B-Q, also in Llano, for their wedding catering a couple of years…
 - 09/06/2011

BBQ Signs of our Times – Chapter 4

Once again, our BBQ signs series continues. And yes, we like homemade signs the best. Our Texas BBQ tours went on hiatus for most of one of the hottest summers in Texas history, but we’ll be hitting the road soon for Houston, among several other planned BBQ journeys. The top photo is from Dairy Land Drive Inn in Jacksboro. You can click to see the first BBQ Signs of our Times post, or BBQ Signs of our Times II and last but not least BBQ Signs of our Times III. Stay tuned for more tales for the Texas BBQ trail.…
 - 09/02/2011

Goodbye Luckie’s Smokehouse, hello OC Smokehouse & Bar

UPDATE: OC Smokehouse went out of business within a few months. Stay tuned to see what opens there next! 12/2011 When one door closes, another one opens. Such is the case of Luckie’s Smokehouse on Davis Street in Oak Cliff. The new OC Smokehouse & Bar will be opening for business there tomorrow. As predicted by the Dallas Observer’s City of Ate food blog two weeks ago, Luckie’s closed due to disputes between co-owners Nhat Ngo and Charles “Lucky” Johnson. Speculation was running rampant as to who would move into the building in the upcoming and trendy north Oak Cliff…
 - 09/02/2011

Hey, Drew, next year, let’s Get Sauced! in November

How hot was it at the 2nd annual Gettin’ Sauced! competition in Austin last week, organized by Drew Thornley and Man Up Texas BBQ? “If sweat was gold, my friend Steve would be a millionaire,” one Yelp reviewer wrote of the event at Independence Brewery. How hot was it? The official high was 110 degrees, just two degrees short of the all-time record for any day, any time in the Texas capital. (The record was tied the next day.) How hot was it? Texas BBQ king Aaron Franklin waved the white flag after about two and one-half hours in the…
 - 09/01/2011

Good news for Off the Bone fans…..

It looks like Off the Bone in Forest Hills is expanding to a second location. The acclaimed joint run by Eddie Brown is a DFW favorite of many of the Posse members. Got this from Mansfield resident Joanne Reynolds, mom of Posse member Guy Reynolds: “An article in today’s Mansfield newspaper about new businesses opening soon includes news of Off the Bone. It is a second location for the one in Forest Hill and is scheduled to open in early September. They also leased the adjacent space that formerly housed a Subway restaurant. Owners say there will be seating space…
 - 07/28/2011

Check out the Posse’s BBQ destinations story in the Dallas Morning News

Dallas Morning News travel section editor Mary Ellen Botter recently asked Gary Jacobson and I to come up with a list of the Texas BBQ Posse’s favorite joints to visit. We solicited suggestions from the posse and were off and running. We weren’t trying to come up with a list for the best meats we’d sampled, we did that last December in our piece Announcing the Posse’s “2010 Best in Texas BBQ picks and will follow up annually with updated lists. This is just an unofficial accounting of cool places we’ve been, though like any BBQ list I’m sure it…
 - 07/23/2011

The best in Dallas BBQ join to honor firefighter Shannon Stone

Anyone who has ever taken their son to a big league baseball game can relate. We all watched the footage as Rangers fan Shannon Stone fell trying to catch a ball for his six-year-old son Cooper. Heartbreaking beyond belief…….. Now is your chance to help. Diane Fourton of Pecan Lodge and Jill Bergus of Lockhart Smokehouse, aka: the First Ladies of Dallas BBQ, have joined forces to help the Stone family. This will be a can’t miss event for hardcore Dallas BBQ fanatics and will be held at Dallas Farmer’s Market shed #2 on Sunday, August 14, 2011, starting at…
 - 07/22/2011

No, this isn’t another rant against gas-fired bbq

First off, Johnsonville’s Big Taste Grill, pictured above, uses propane. Don’t even think about wood…or charcoal. But doesn’t that machine look cool! The semi-tractor-hauled cooker weighs 53,000 pounds, is 65 feet long, 20 feet high and 6 feet in diameter, according to materials sent to us by Johnsonville, the sausage company. A dozen cooks can grill 750 brats at a time. The lid alone weighs 6,000 pounds and is operated by a hydraulic system. If you want to check out the grill, which has traveled to charity events throughout North America since 1995, it will be in Burleson July 21…
 - 07/14/2011

We read a label on a Cookshack smoker oven — this ain’t real Texas BBQ, folks

Normally, we don’t like piling on. But some opportunities can’t be resisted, especially when it involves a topic important to us: real wood-fired barbecue. A couple months ago, we got a good debate going here about wood vs. gas, and even ran highlights of a Southern Pride recipe for Texas-style brisket that we thought supported our point of view. Now, our attention turns to commercial pellet machines. Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper found the above photo of labels attached to a Fast Eddy’s by Cookshack Model FEC100 “smoker oven.” The company says on its Web site that the machine is “100%…
 - 06/16/2011

The Pecan Lodge gets some advice from a pro on its new pulled pork sandwich

We were about to leave the Pecan Lodge during our impromptu Best-of-Dallas barbecue tour Saturday when owner Diane Fourton popped the question. “Do you guys want to sample the pulled pork?” We felt a little sheepish. BBQ Snob Daniel Vaughn had raved about the dish when he stopped by our table earlier. But none of us had ordered it. We had been committed to the hard core staples of Texas barbecue. Nothing but brisket, ribs and sausage. (All right, a couple of us also got the fried chicken.) Pulled pork is a new menu item for the Pecan Lodge. Diane…
 - 06/15/2011

Lockhart Smokehouse shrugs off review, smokes 3,000 pounds of meat a week

Lockhart Smokehouse owner Jeff Bergus was working the front of the house during the Posse’s visit to his Oak Cliff joint Saturday afternoon. When new customers arrived, he asked if they had ever been to his place before. If no, he immediately escorted them to the meat-ordering counter in the back. After a while, he sat down at the Posse’s table and chatted. We asked how business has been since his place received a one-star food review from The Dallas Morning News a few weeks ago. A framed copy of the review hangs on one wall, along with copies of…
 - 06/14/2011

Dallas is raising its BBQ game

We’ve commented in the past about the lack of great Texas style — real wood-fired — barbecue in Dallas. But during the Posse’s “Impromptu Best of Dallas BBQ Mini-Tour” Saturday, one conclusion was clear: Big D is raising its game. Over a period of about four hours, we ate at three joints. Each smokes with a different kind of wood. The Pecan Lodge at the Dallas Farmers’ Market uses mesquite. Meshack’s Bar-B-Que (OK, it’s in Garland but we’re counting it as Dallas) uses pecan. And Lockhart Smokehouse in Oak Cliff uses post oak. Admittedly, these three places were already our…
 - 06/13/2011

See the photos: Celebrating the return of BBQ today at Pecan Lodge

After a couple of months absence, barbecue is back at Pecan Lodge. Eight members of the Posse gathered at Farmers Market shed no. 2 this morning to test samples hot off the pit. BBQ Snob Daniel Vaughan and his family joined in the action as well. This was the first stop of what we called the “Impromptu Best of Dallas BBQ Mini-Tour.” Stops followed at Meshack’s Bar-B-Que in Garland and then back down to Lockhart Smokehouse in Dallas. Pecan Lodge owners Dianne and Justin Fourton have added several new menu items, including pulled pork, homemade sausage and fried chicken. More…
 - 06/11/2011

Meshack’s Bar-B-Que in Garland named as one of the best in the country

The honors continue for one of the Possse’s favorite BBQ joints in the state. Meshack’s Bar-B-Que Shack in Garland has been named in the list of Top 21 BBQ Sandwiches in this month’s Garden & Gun magazine. The slick looking national magazine describes itself as, “A Southern lifestyle magazine that’s all about the magic of the new South – sporting culture, food, music, art, literature, people, and ideas.” Meshack’s owners Donna and Travis Mayes got a visit yesterday from the city of Garland, who will be honoring them with a proclamation at the next Garland City Council meeting. Congrats to…
 - 06/09/2011

See the latest & greatest photos of Franklin Barbecue in Austin

My Dallas Morning News colleague Guy Reynolds made a couple of trips to Austin to shoot photos for a page one story on Franklin Barbecue, which has attained cult status in an amazingly short length of time. Click here to see the slideshow of Guy’s work, behind-the-scenes photos of Aaron Franklin & crew from the early hours working the pits to closing time, and everything in between. Above is a photo of Aaron and wife Stacy relaxing in front of the little turquoise trailer that started it all. Guy describes how he shot the Franklin portrait on his facebook page,…
 - 06/09/2011

Checking out the smokers at the Smokin’ Possum Cookoff

One of the coolest things at a BBQ cookoff is the opportunity to check out everyone’s smokers and cook setup. Here’s a quick tour of some of the teams the Posse is competing against here at Possum Hollow Camp near Graham.         Photos by Chris Wilkins
 - 05/24/2011

Smokin’ Possum Cookoff a character-building experience for the Posse

We’re still processing everything we learned at the Smokin’ Possum Cookoff. It will take a while. We had fun cooking just outside our cabins at Possum Hollow Resort on Possum Kingdom Lake over a nearly weather-perfect weekend. As for our results, however, the best thing we can say is that it was a character-building experience. Our first entry into the world of sanctioned barbecue competitions was a crash course in harsh reality. Cooking to maximize the impact of that one bite a judge takes of your food is not the same as cooking for friends and relatives in your backyard.…
 - 05/23/2011

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