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Babb Bros. BBQ & Blues, the new joint in town

Posse members Jim Rossman and Gary Jacobson paid a visit to the newest BBQ joint in town, Babb Bros. BBQ & Blues, located just west of downtown. Jim shares his thoughts on the two-day old restaurant, as follows: We timed it just right at 11:45 am for beating the line at Babb Bros. BBQ & Blues, which was about 20 people deep by noon. The serving line was well staffed. I counted at least a dozen employees on the floor. I got the three-meat plate (brisket, ribs, spicy (cheese) sausage) with two sides for $11. Iced Tea added $2 and…
 - 12/01/2012

Big BBQ beef ribs coming soon to Pecan Lodge in Dallas

Posse veteran Jim Rossman and I went to lunch at the Pecan Lodge on Thursday. For us, it was our first time to eat at the popular Dallas Farmers Market barbecue location since it was featured on the TV show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives at the end of May. The lines have just been too long. But when we arrived just before the 11 a.m. opening, only 15 or so people were ahead of us and it took only about 10 minutes to work our way to the cash register where we ordered. We both got 3-meat platters. And neither…
 - 09/14/2012

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

Tuel's M&ET Barbeque - Doing it right in Gilmer

On our way to Jefferson to last Saturday, we discovered an interesting new BBQ joint on Hwy. 154 about three miles west of Gilmer in the Kelsey bottom. Tuel's M&ET Barbeque was just about to finish their fourth week in business the following Tuesday. Over the past six months, several people had messaged me desperately looking for good BBQ in the area. I didn't have first-hand knowledge to help relieve their suffering. That might be changing. Tuel's is a family affair, run by pitmaster Ryan Tuel and his folks, Linda and Ronnie. They built an impressive facility in the woods…
 - 07/03/2012

Rebuilt from the ground up, Jospeh's Riverport BBQ is back in a big way

There were smiles all around on Saturday at Joseph's Riverport Bar-B-Cue in historic downtown Jefferson. Five and a half months after a devastating fire that completely destroyed the building, owner and pitmaster Stephen Joseph reopened on Thursday to swarms of old friends and townsfolk who appreciate some of the best BBQ on this side the state. "We can't live without Joseph's," said longtime customer Misty Baldwin of Jefferson. "When it burned, it was like losing someone in your family. It's all new, but it's just as good as ever" Around midnight on January 15, Stephen got the phone call that…
 - 07/02/2012

Joseph's Riverport BBQ in Jefferson reopens tomorrow

Here's the news we've been waiting for. Joseph's Riverport Bar-B-Que is reopening tomorrow, Thursday June 28, after a fire that totaled the restaurant last January. Owner/pitmaster Stephen Joseph sends these photos of his new joint, which was rebuilt from the ground up on the original location at 201 N Polk Street in downtown Jefferson. He installed a new Bewley pit, which he has been breaking in for the past couple of months. My wife Michele and I will be heading over for a return visit this Saturday. We had some great BBQ during our last trip there, ranking Joseph's Riverport…
 - 06/27/2012

Posse members react to Clyde Biggins' BBQ

There is no shortage of opinions on the Texas BBQ Posse. Often we differ among ourselves. That wasn't the case when we ate lunch last week at Clyde Biggins' house. We all agreed that the former Dallas BBQ King, trying to make a comeback after nearly 17 years in prison, can still cook. Here are comments from Posse members there: Michael Ainsworth: Took me back to a different time, when it was just a bunch of friends getting together for food and fun. It's not re-creatable. It just is. Chris Wilkins: What a great setting for a Friday afternoon BBQ…
 - 06/26/2012

Clyde is back, cooking some of the best BBQ in Dallas, but you can't buy it

Sometimes, the only place to start is at the beginning. In early January 2010, a large manilla envelope came to me in the mail from the federal prison in Fort Worth. A reader commented on a story I had written for The Dallas Morning News about the Posse's very first barbecue tour, to the Central Texas BBQ heartland. "It's all good," the reader wrote. "'But' have you really tasted the best barbecue in Texas?" The reader said his name was Clyde Biggins and that he once owned "Clyde's Old Fashion Hickory Smoked Barbecue" on Westmoreland Road in Dallas. "'Note,'" Biggins…
 - 06/25/2012

The Barbecue Chronicles: Houston, we have a barbecue problem

The eight stops on the Texas BBQ Posse's Gulf Coast BBQ Tour.  (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Houston is a wasteland for good barbecue, but Galveston and Bryan aren’t. The main mission on the BBQ Posse’s recent 35-hour, 700-mile barbecue tour to the Texas Gulf Coast and back was to find good smoked meat in Houston. We didn’t. But an hour south, on Galveston Island, we met Leon O’Neal and learned again about the true power of barbecue. O’Neal, who runs Leon’s World Finest In & Out Bar-B-Que House at Broadway and 55th, told us about the cleanup after Hurricane…
 - 06/24/2012

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

At Pecan Lodge, the Franklin-esque lines for BBQ begin to form at about 10:15 a.m. weekends

Just the other day, a barbecue friend asked me when the lines begin to form for the Pecan Lodge, open Thursday through Sunday for lunch at the Dallas Farmers Market. We have both tried to eat there on a work day since the Lodge was featured on the popular TV show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and been discouraged by long lines and gone elsewhere. This morning, I ran into my Oak Cliff neighbor and Pecan Lodge pitmaster Justin Fourton. He said business has continued to build since the show first aired in late May. On Thursdays and Fridays, he said,…
 - 06/20/2012

Professor Rossman explains the BBQ star system

So we're sitting in our bring-your-own chairs on the narrow sidewalk outside of Fargo's Pit BBQ in Bryan during our recent tour, loudly licking our fingers after eating some fine brisket, ribs, chicken and sausage. "I like everything," I said. "That's rare," Posse member Jim Rossman said. "A five-star place is good at everything. A six-star place is good at everything all the time. Consistency." Rossman, a technology expert at The Dallas Morning News when he isn't visiting pawn shops and eating barbecue, did an authoritative job explaining the star-rating system that the Posse borrows from Daniel Vaughn, the BBQ…
 - 06/18/2012

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

Just in time for Father's Day - Here's an updated list of our favorites

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from Dallas Morning News food and travel editor Cathy Barber, who I work with as a photo editor at the paper. The dallasnews.com web team was looking for Father's Day content and wanted to rerun our list of favorite joints that ran in the DMN travel section and online last fall. "Do you think this story is still pretty solid, or have you guys changed your mind about some of them?," Cathy asked. Our original list of 12 joints had stirred up a little dust in the BBQ blogosphere. We had intended…
 - 06/14/2012

On a barbecue tour, Facebook is your friend

From the accompanying video (* the video was removed a while after we wrote about it), it would appear that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is a barbecue fan. Though it's hard to think that Silicon Valley's apparent taste for fish eyes would ever catch on in Texas. Anyway, real barbecue aficionado or not, the Posse wants to thank Zuck for developing the best tool ever for keeping barbecue fans informed and connected, especially when they are on a tour. Witness our recent 700-mile, 35-hour run to the Texas Gulf Coast and back. Posse co-founder and ace photographer Chris Wilkins regularly…
 - 06/13/2012

Houston BBQ king Jerry Pizzitola's epiphany: His brisket isn't in the same league as Snow's

WARNING: This post contains some gloating, but we hope it stops well short of excessive celebration. A few weeks ago, we wrote about our latest BBQ tour, in search of good smoked meat in Houston. We didn't find any. And we quoted Houston Chronicle photographer Smiley Pool, who shared a Pulitzer Prize while at The Dallas Morning News, saying if you wanted good BBQ in Houston, then you had to get in a car and drive two hours. Several readers chided our taste and challenged our BBQ expertise. One even took at shot at the beer we drank. That's low.…
 - 06/12/2012

History more interesting than BBQ at Pizzitola's in Houston

Pizzitola's. Great name for a pizza joint. And that's exactly what what some potential customers mistakenly thought until the place changed its signs several years ago, adding references to barbecue, said manager Lexie Moore. "Everyone thanked us for bringing barbecue to the neighborhood," Moore said. "We had it all the time." We arrived at Pizzitola's Bar-B-Cue on Shepherd Drive in Houston about an hour or so before closing on a Friday night. The joint touts itself as "Houston's Home for Spareribs" and they weren't bad. Neither was the sausage. But the brisket was closer to roast beef, dry and without…
 - 06/12/2012

If you want good BBQ in Houston, get in a car and drive 2 hours

Gatlin's BBQ, located just a few miles from downtown Houston, might have the best motto we've ever run into on our barbecue tours. "Welcome to Gatlin's," the sign said. "Where love is the secret ingredient." And if you want to experience the reality of life in a no-zoning, anything-goes big city, this is the place. Next door is a garden expo that looks like a nursery. Directly across the street are an engine repair business, a house where people live and an automotive sales building. Welcome to Houston. Gatlin's gets rave reviews from some, but the Posse was underwhelmed. "If…
 - 06/11/2012

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

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

The Houston BBQ Tour - A quick look at our itinerary

Here's a quick look at the itinerary for our first Houston BBQ Tour. Last Friday, we headed south down I-45 for a 700-mile journey, searching for the best smoked meats in the Houston area. Over the next two days, we stopped at eight joints stretching from Huntsville to Galveston. This was our tenth organized BBQ tour since November 2009, when an early-morning visit to Snow's BBQ in Lexington started an obsession to search for the best BBQ in Texas. Barbecue would never taste the same again after that day. We'll be writing about the tour in an upcoming travel story…
 - 06/07/2012

The thrill is gone from New Zion Missionary Baptist Church BBQ

Everyone in the Posse -- all five of us on this trip -- looked forward to our visit to New Zion Missionary Baptist Church Barbecue in Huntsville, the first stop on a 700-mile, 35-hour tour last weekend to the Texas Gulf coast. Some love the Church's food and wax poetic about the atmosphere. But we were disappointed. Really disappointed. "It was like a bubble burst," said Posse member Phil Lamb. "Boy, the romance is gone from that place." "It was probably good yesterday," Jim Rossman said after tasting the brisket. No smoke, no taste, and the meat looked as if…
 - 06/06/2012

Avoiding the dreaded barbecue belch

On a barbecue tour, sometimes wisdom sneaks up on you. And so it was in Galveston on Saturday when Leon O'Neal told us his secret to preventing his customers from burping after they ate his smoked meat. Use dry wood, the owner of Leon's World's Finest In and Out B-B-Q said, standing in front of a tall wall of cut oak. "That's where the after belch comes from." In other words, sappy wood is burping bad. Some might put this wisdom in the same category as always buy brisket from the left side of the cow, which we wrote about a…
 - 06/05/2012

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

Katy Trail Ice House: The new kid on the BBQ block

We had the pleasure of checking out the latest serious BBQ player in Dallas on Friday. The Katy Trail Ice House, located on the trail near Reverchon Park, has been cooking BBQ on a huge custom-built smoker for the past two months. The results are quite impressive, especially given the short time they've been smoking meats. Alerted by a recent blog post on written by Stephen Doyle on cravedfw, we rounded up a group and headed there for lunch. BBQ Snob Daniel Vaughn also rounded up a posse of five from nearby Good Fulton & Farrell, the architecture firm where…
 - 05/05/2012

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