An unexpected stop was awaiting us as we threaded our way on the blue highways around the Interstate 10 corridor looking for the next BBQ joint to visit. We had planned a fourth stop at Schulenburg City Market, but they were closed when we got there. We were on the prowl for a replacement.
In the tiny town of Waelder, population a little over 900, we stumbled into the newly opened Family Tradition Bar-B-Q. Waelder is north of Gonzales and east of Luling, both previous stops on this I-10 BBQ roadtrip. Family Tradition had opened a couple of days earlier in an old gas station just south of Hwy. 90, the main drag through town.
This place is a family affair, as the name indicates. Competition trophies line the wall behind the counter, a great sign for potential diners. Melissa Fogle owns the business, which is run by her dad Jerry.
After several years of winning BBQ competitions around the state, the Family Tradition team decided to park the smoker and open a BBQ joint. Jerry has been cooking for 40 years and the meats we sampled off his pit were the best overall we had so far that day after stops in Luling, Gonzales and Hallettsville.
First, Jeff and I tried the ribs, which were smokey and perfectly cooked, then Jerry's handmade sausage which was equally good. He then invited us to try the latest brisket off the pit, which had been smoking for 30 hours. I was a little skeptical at first, I've had 36-hour brisket before at Clark's Outpost in Tioga, where the taste was great but the meat wasn't moist at all.
This brisket was amazing, both tender and juicy while bathed in post oak smoke. This alone was worth the small town stop, which can easily fit into your next south-central Texas BBQ tour.
I heard from Melissa a couple of days later through our Posse facebook page.
She writes, "If you are traveling along Interstate 10 in Texas, between San Antonio and Houston be sure to stop off in Waelder. Just a few miles into town you will find Family Tradition Bar-B-Q. It just opened up, but it's sure to win your approval. It's family owned and operated. See you there!"
Family Tradition Bar-B-Q, 110 S. Ave. E, Waelder, TX, 830-788-7600. Open Wed-Sun 10am-7pm.
Photos ©Jeff Haynes & Chris Wilkins