Posse BBQ judges (L-R) Jim Rossman, Bruce Tomaso and Gary Jacobson sample the meats at Fargo's Pit BBQ in Bryan. (Photo by Tom Fox/DMN)

In some respects, our recent Best of Texas barbecue tour was like a cookoff. Only the food didn't come to the judges, we went to the food.

Eating at 10 places over 48 hours and scoring each joint's brisket, pork ribs and sausage -- the three foundation meats of Texas BBQ -- gave us a good framework for comparison.

It also focused our attention entirely on the basics.

Yes, side dishes are important. And so are chicken, turkey breast, pork butt, specialty sandwiches and a joint's atmosphere.

But can a place be considered the best in Texas, or among the best, if it doesn't score well in all three of the basic meats? Can a place have average sausage, brisket or ribs, but be among the best because of its atmosphere and other dishes?

Those are certainly appropriate questions for a larger philosophical barbecue debate. We'll leave that for another time. On this tour, we scored only the three basic smoked meats and each counted equally in the overall rankings. The meat, and only the meat, spoke for itself.

Each of the six judges, naturally, had his own individual preferences. But after I tabulated the final results and shared them, there wasn't any significant dispute.

"I wish everyone had given the ribs at Pecan Lodge a 10, but I can't really argue with anything," Posse member and judge Bruce Tomaso said.

Borrowing a phrase from Rangers manager and baseball philosopher Ron Washington: That's the way Texas BBQ go.

The Posse's six BBQ judges pose at Johnson's BBQ and Car Wash in Midway, TX. (L-R) Jim Rossman, Tom Fox, Chris Wilkins, Gary Jacobson, Daniel Goncalves and Bruce Tomaso. (Photo by Tom Fox/DMN)

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Texas BBQ Posse eBook Let the Meat Speak for Itself

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Texas BBQ Posse eBook Let the Meat Speak for Itself

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