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 it had been reheated. The ribs and sausage were also routine.
"Our brisket at the K.C. hall is better," echoed Jim's dad, Tom, making his first tour with the Posse. Tom lives in Katy. He said his Knights of Columbus council cooks more than 100 briskets at a time for special occasions.
The first tip-off that things have changed at the Church's barbecue joint sat right outside the front door: a still shiny Ole Hickory smoker, mainly gas fired.
When did you get the new smoker? we asked the order taker.
"October," he said.
Does that thing use wood?
"Yes, some wood," he said.
We each ate a rib and finished the sausage but we couldn't eat all the brisket.
"When has the Posse last left brisket on its plate?" Lamb asked as we left.
The Church, aka: New Zion Missionary Baptist Church BBQ, 2601 Montgomery Rd, Huntsville, 936-294-0884. Open Thur-Sat 11 am-6 pm.
Photos ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse