|A customer eats lunch at Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q in Tyler. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves)|
A few things we think we learned from our recent Best of Texas BBQ Tour:
–In a post here a while back, we pondered whether Lockhart was losing its distinction as the BBQ capital of Texas. Upon more reflection, we’re ready to say, yes, it definitely has lost the crown. With Franklin Barbecue and a host of start-up joints, we’re declaring Austin the new capital. To us, Lockhart is going stale. In Texas barbecue, you can’t take success for granted.
–Related to that, newcomers are making a huge impact. We first learned what great brisket was when we made our first trip to Snow’s BBQ in Lexington in 2009. During our recent tour, Snow’s finished third overall. It’s not that Snow’s has slipped. We’ll eat brisket for breakfast there anytime. It’s that a couple of young competitors, Franklin and Pecan Lodge in Dallas, have caught up and edged ahead. That’s what competition is about.
–Judging only the three basic meats of Texas barbecue — brisket, pork ribs and sausage — really focuses the evaluation process. Before, we would give a place an overall qualitative rating based on the food and atmosphere. Having average sausage or ribs didn’t really hurt if the place had another great dish or great atmosphere. On this tour, though, one low-scoring meat torpedoed any chance of a strong finish.
–We’re more adamant than ever that real Texas barbecue is cooked with real wood. The state doesn’t need a Truth in BBQ law. But the public should be aware which joints are cooking with the real thing.