2013

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tom

Zip Code 78702 — East Austin — the center of the Texas BBQ universe

Tom Micklethwait, pitmaster & owner of Micklethwait Craft Meats. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Last spring we wrote that Austin had replaced Lockhart as the new barbecue capital of Texas. Now, with La Barbecue moving east of I-35, we’re prepared to be even more specific. East Austin, specifically Zip Code 78702, is the undisputed center of the Texas barbecue universe. La Barbecue, with pit boss John Lewis, opens this week in its new location at the corner of East 6th Street and Waller. According to Google, that puts La Barbecue about a half-mile (a 9-minute walk) from Franklin Barbecue on East…
 - 12/03/2013
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Posse member Bruce Tomaso nominates Justin and Diane Fourton of Pecan Lodge as Texans of the Year

Diane & Justin Fourton, owners of Pecan Lodge. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Note: The Dallas Morning News editorial department selects a Texan of the Year. Posse member Bruce Tomaso recently nominated Diane and Justin Fourton of Pecan Lodge for the honor. With permission, we are reprinting Bruce’s Viewpoints column from The News. By BRUCE TOMASO Wendy Davis can talk on her feet. Ted Cruz can talk with his foot in his mouth. But neither of them can cook a world-class smoked brisket. Neither of them helped change the public face of Texas cuisine. The people who did that are Justin…
 - 11/16/2013
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Making the most of the ‘golden hour’ at Texas Monthly’s BBQ Fest

Pitmaster Justin Fourton of Pecan Lodge in Dallas shows off his brisket at the 2013 Texas Monthly BBQ Festival. Note: Posse members Libby and Mike Gagne, who live in Austin, attended Sunday’s Texas Monthly BBQ Festival (TMBBQ Fest 2013), which brings together many of the best joints in the state. Libby and Mike were guests of Phil Winters of FoodyDirect, an Internet food site that advertises on this blog. Here is Libby’s report from the event. We queued up at about 11 a.m. and were admitted to the festival at noon, and enjoyed a “Golden Hour” of reduced lines and…
 - 11/06/2013
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After Blues, Bandits & BBQ IV, the Posse salutes its sales team and bribery on a crostini

Bryan Gooding & R.J. Hinkle set up for the Blues, Bandits & BBQ cook off.  Photo by Chris Wilkins A barbecue competition team operates pretty much like a typical manufacturing company. That comparison became clear after the Posse competed in the fourth annual Blues, Bandits and BBQ cook off in Oak Cliff this past weekend. We had our production staff, the guys who actually cooked the meat, working around the clock. We had distribution staff, the meat cutters and runners who made sure contest entries got to the judges on time and food samples got to our serving table. And we…
 - 10/31/2013
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Check out our Heart of Texas BBQ Tour story in today’s Dallas Morning News

Here’s the lede page from our Heart of Texas BBQ Tour story in Sunday’s Dallas Morning News Travel section. This was the Posse’s 14th barbecue tour since we started following the smoke in November 2009. The Heart of Texas BBQ Tour covered 318 miles over ten hours on a recent Friday. Chick here to see the online package from the tour on dallasnews.com, including Gary Jacobson’s story, a slideshow featuring our four tour stops and a video by original Posse member David Guzman. Heart of Texas BBQ Tour 9am:  Leave Dallas 10:30am:  Wright’s Bar-B-Q, 123 Martin Luther King Jr Hwy…
 - 09/01/2013
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Here’s a new installment of our “BBQ is” pitmasters portrait project

Ben Washington, Whup’s Boomerang Bar-B-Que, Marlin.  (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves/Fotobia.com) Posse member Daniel Goncalves is back with the next installment of his “BBQ is” pitmaster portrait series. The Dallas-based editorial and commercial photographer has been photographing top pitmasters around the state with a Fuji Instax 210 instant film camera. Sixty seconds later the Polaroid is dry and Daniel has each pitmaster fill in the blank with a sharpie on their portrait, “BBQ is ________.” With this project, Daniel continues to raise the creative bar for both the Posse and Texas BBQ photography. Click here to see our first blog post featuring his…
 - 08/28/2013
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YABBQL: Yet Another BBQ line — Cattleack BBQ tweaks their operation to address the long lines.

From left: Todd David, David Mills, Misty David and Lauren Parajon (photo by Jim Rossman) On the heels of Pecan Lodge making some tweaks to their ordering process, relative newcomer Cattleack BBQ is making some changes to their Friday-only lunch service to address it’s growing lines. Our BBQ Take-Out service on Fridays has become such a hit, we now have a line out the door! While this is a measure of success for us, we don’t want it to be an inconvenience to our BBQ-loving customers. We have two new processes in place to help those who have limited time…
 - 08/26/2013
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Mayor Rawlings said he wants Pecan Lodge to stay … in Dallas

  Pitmaster Justin Fourton holds the infamous Slim Pickins sign given to the last person in line at Pecan Lodge. ([email protected] Goncalves/Fotobia.com) There’s a follow-up to our earlier item on the strange behavior of the new owners of the Dallas Farmers Market as they try, supposedly, to work out a deal to keep Pecan Lodge at the market. Robert Wilonsky of The Dallas Morning News reports that on Friday – the day our item appeared – Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings stopped by Pecan Lodge for lunch and a chat with owner/pitmaster Justin Fourton. Afterward, Rawlings made his position clear: While…
 - 08/18/2013
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Meet the new boss, same as the old boss?

  Pitmaster Justin Fourton works the pit during the early days of Pecan Lodge. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Will Pecan Lodge stay at Dallas Farmers Market? I have no idea. And neither does anyone else writing on the subject. My guess is there are two people on Earth who know the answer: Justin and Diane Fourton, Pecan Lodge’s owners. Even they might not be sure. As we’ve written before, the Fourtons have kept their cards close to their butchers’ aprons as they weigh their options. They say they’d like to stay at the downtown Dallas market where, in just…
 - 08/16/2013
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Echoes of Pat Gee’s at Whup’s Boomerang Bar-B-Q in Marlin

A hand-painted sign greets you at Whup’s Boomerang Barbecue in Marlin. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Our first view of Whup’s Boomerang Bar-B-Q in Marlin brought back some nice memories. We hadn’t seen such a genuinely classic-looking joint since our last visit to Pat Gee’s in the woods east of Tyler. While Pat’s is nestled among pine trees and pasture on a rural road, Whup’s is on a thinly settled residential street where the edge of town invades the country. A hand-painted sign – the Posse loves hand-painted BBQ signs – greets visitors to a small building that has been…
 - 08/13/2013
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Back for more: BBQ Signs of our Times

Marshall’s BBQ, Garland, Texas. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves/Fotobia.com) BBQ Signs of our Times is back once again,with more memorable signs from our last trip to Central Texas on the Heart of Texas BBQ Tour and other Posse stops over the past couple of months. This blog post number eight of classic BBQ signs. You can use the search box in the upper right of the Posse blog homepage if you’d like to see some other sign posts, just search “BBQ Signs of Our Times”. If you happen to see a great sign while you’re out on the Texas BBQ Trail, please…
 - 08/09/2013
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The power of return customers on display at Kirby’s Barbeque in Mexia

A customer arrives at Kirby’s Barbeque in Mexia. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Luckily, we got to Kirby’s Barbeque near Mexia about 11:30 on Friday morning. So, at noon, while the line of lunch customers was building, we were already eating some excellent brisket and some very good ribs. At one point, Posse veteran Bruce Tomaso counted 20 people waiting to order at this rural barbecue outpost about 90 miles south of Dallas. Considering that Big D is roughly 150 times larger than Mexia, population nearly 8,000, Tomaso calculated that an equivalent line at Pecan Lodge would number 3,000. That…
 - 08/07/2013
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At Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton, expansion means same great barbecue and now a bar, too

Pitmaster and owner Dirk Miller stands outside Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton. (Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) On the looks-like scale, Dirk Miller is closer to Kris Kringle than Tom Cruise. But the owner of Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton was channeling Cruise from Risky Business when we visited last week during our Heart of Texas BBQ Tour. For Miller, too, the dream is always the same: He awakes and the sun is shining through his windows, meaning it’s 8 a.m., meaning he overslept, meaning he didn’t get the pits fired by the required 2 or 3 a.m., meaning disaster for his barbecue…
 - 08/05/2013
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Here’s how you can beat the long lines at Pecan Lodge in Dallas

The legendary Trough at Pecan Lodge, with a side of mac & cheese. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) We just got this note from Diane and Justin Fourton, owners of Pecan Lodge, detailing some big changes at one of the great BBQ joints in Texas: Dear Friends, Just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know that we’ve been working on a few things to help make it easier for those coming down to eat with us. Starting today, we are happy to announce that the following options are now available: 1. A second cash register has…
 - 08/01/2013
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Posse favorites: The Jambo Texan sandwich at Jambo’s BBQ Shack

The Jambo Texan sandwich at Jambo’s BBQ Shack in Rendon. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Every now and then you run into something so uniquely Texan that you stop in pure amazement. This is the case with pitmaster Jamie Geer’s Jambo Texan sandwich at Jambo’s BBQ Shack in Rendon. The Posse hit Jambo’s in force during their first week of business and was quite impressed. It wasn’t surprising. Jamie not only builds what many consider to be the best BBQ smoker the in the world, the Lamborghini-esque Jambo pit, but he is also a veteran pitmaster on the competition BBQ…
 - 07/24/2013
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Slow Bone Update: Less smoke is a good thing

Brisket, ribs and cilantro sausage from The Slow Bone. (Photo by Jim Rossman) I stopped by The Slow Bone for lunch today and I was really happy with what I found on my tray. I started out with a two meat plate of moist brisket and ribs, but owner Jack Perkins told me he’s been tweaking the recipe and grind of the cilantro sausage, so I adjusted to a three meat plate. I have to say my first bite of brisket made me close my eyes, stop chewing and savor. The texture was right on and the fat was perfectly…
 - 07/22/2013
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Famed writer John T. Edge pens an ode to barbecue in Parade magazine

In Sunday’s Parade magazine, John T. Edge, the noted Southern food writer, weighs in on the nationwide barbecue renaissance. (By the way, if you haven’t seen Parade in a while, you might be stunned to see it today. It’s a deathly shadow of its former self, with a much smaller format and far fewer pages – more like a pamphlet than a magazine.) Edge writes that Americans have “adopted barbecue as our national folk food. … The new question is, how high can barbecue go?” It will come as no surprise to anyone who’s read one of these rebirth-of-barbecue articles…
 - 07/22/2013
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Success brings a new smoker to Pecan Lodge in Dallas, say hello to “Big Rick”

Pitmaster Justin Fourton shows off his new smoker Big Rick at Pecan Lodge. (Photo ©Philip Lamb) Posse member Phil Lamb checks in with Pecan Lodge pitmaster Justin Fourton at Texas Monthly’s “Behind the Pit Dinner” event on Wednesday night.  Phil writes: We’ve known for a while that Pecan Lodge offers some of the best smoked meats around, but its status as an elite BBQ joint was solidified when it was awarded a tie for the No. 2 spot on Texas Monthly’s “Top 50” BBQ list. Now the lines at Pecan Lodge, which were already plenty long, frequently require “Lovers of…
 - 07/19/2013
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Growing up with Aaron Franklin and other Posse tales that deserve a second look

There have been many meals & just as many stories to tell since our first BBQ tour in November 2009. (Photo ©Gary Barber) In the past, we’ve told you about our most popular blog posts and offered a readers’ guide to all the tours we’ve written about in our Barbecue Chronicles. Now, we’re going to give you a short guide to the other end of the Posse blog spectrum. These aren’t our least popular posts. We’ll keep those buried to protect the innocent. But for whatever reason, these posts didn’t receive the attention we thought they would. Maybe the headlines…
 - 07/18/2013
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Confessions of another BBQ Snob*

Bruce Tomaso, right, joins fellow members of the Texas BBQ Posse on our 2013 Best of Texas Tour. (Photo by Tom Fox/DMN) By Bruce Tomaso A few weeks ago, while on a BBQ tour with the Posse, I had an epiphany. It wasn’t a magnificent epiphany. I’m not Archimedes. But it was enough to permanently change the way I approach this quest of ours for “the greatest smoked meats in the greatest state in the Union.” I realized that I’ve become a BBQ snob. I’m not particularly proud of this, but I don’t apologize, either. I’ve simply reached a stage…
 - 07/15/2013
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How Daniel Vaughn, the BBQ Snob, turned himself into the hottest brand in smoked meat

Daniel Vaughn bites into a rib at the Baby Back Shak in 2009. (Photo by David Woo/The Dallas Morning News) (Note: Rebecca LaFlure is a Texas native, long-time barbecue fan and journalism graduate student at Northwestern University. Prior to attending Northwestern, she worked as a reporter for media outlets in Killeen and Austin. She currently covers national security as a fellow at the Center for Public Integrity in Washington D.C. The following article was initially written as a research paper for a 21st Century Media course at Northwestern.) By Rebecca LaFlure On March 21, Texas Monthly announced it hired someone…
 - 07/12/2013
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Stay tuned for a story about Daniel Vaughn, the BBQ Snob, and how he became the No.1 brand in barbecue. . .you will like it

Daniel Vaughn photographs his breakfast at Snow’s BBQ in Lexington. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) We’ve got a treat for you. And since you are all — y’all — Texas barbecue fans, you are used to waiting in lines for the good stuff, right? So, wait just a little longer. Rebecca LaFlure, a Texas native, long-time barbecue fan and graduate student at Northwestern University, did a research paper recently for her  21st Century Media course on branding and how Daniel Vaughn, Texas Monthly barbecue editor, became the dominant brand in all of barbecue. You might call it, the making of a…
 - 07/11/2013
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Houston-area barbecue fans finally get hip and learn how to form a line at Killen’s Pop-Up BBQ in Pearland

Long line at Killen’s BBQ in Pearland last Saturday. (Photo by Bryan Norton/bbqtreasurehunt.com) “Magic tingle.” That’s how Bryan Norton, a blogger who rides a motorcycle to many of the barbecue joints he visits, describes the experience of tasting perfect brisket. “It’s that magic combination of pepper, salt, perfectly rendered fat, and of course brisket that literally travels through your body,” he explained recently on the Posse’s Facebook page. “I’ve seen it make people giggle, laugh, roll their eyes back in their head, high-five and sometimes all of those at once,” Norton wrote. The Posse can’t argue. That may be the…
 - 07/07/2013
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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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Yes, we’re all riding the wave of this Texas barbecue phenomenon

  Lockhart Smokehouse pitmaster Will Fleischman. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves/Fotobia.com) A while back, after the lunch rush and long before dinner, I was sipping a beer and talking to Will Fleischman, the pitmaster-philosopher at Lockhart Smokehouse in Dallas. Is the Texas barbecue bubble going to burst? I asked. Will the culinary accolades from around the country and the long lines of customers here eventually go away? Fleischman acknowledged that the frenzy for Texas barbecue might someday cool. But, he said, he was going to ride the wave of popularity as far as it goes. He had been employed at Lockhart since…
 - 06/24/2013

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