Brisket sits on the pit at Miller's Smokehouse. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)

You never forget your first time. That applies to visiting great barbecue joints as well.

Our first trip 14 months ago to Miller's Smokehouse in Belton was one of those unforgettable journeys.

The visit was so inspiring that I couldn't wait to get home and write about Miller's. The lede was as follows:

"Every now and then you hit the motherlode on the Texas BBQ trail. For every 20 mediocre BBQ joints, there's one good one. For every 50 good ones, there's one great one. You can add Miller's Smokehouse in Belton to the list of great ones."

The previous week, BBQ blogger and now Texas Monthly BBQ editor Daniel Vaughn had tweeted about Miller's early on during one of his monumental trips to south Texas while researching The Prophets of Smoked Meat.

Miller's immediately went to the top of our must-visit list.

We got to know pitmaster and owner Dirk Miller during that first visit, figuring out pretty quickly that he had the passion and knowledge to put him among the elite pitmasters in Texas. And the barbecue we ate there just put an exclamation point on the whole experience.

Dirk knew of the Posse and had a lot of questions about what we thought about some great joints around the state. When you're a pitmaster, a taxidermist, a butcher and meat processor, it doesn't leave much time for road trips.

He talked about getting to Franklin Barbecue in Austin to see what all those long lines were about. And he expressed that their goal was to make the Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ list one day.

We've now been to Miller's several times since then on the way to Austin and it seems even better with each visit. The meats are perfectly smoked and the sides are fresh and creative. Not to mention his wife Lisa's desserts, they may be worth the trip on their own.

When Miller's made the Top 50 list last Wednesday, I got a kind note from Lisa.

"Guess you heard old Dirk made the top 50 list of Texas Monthly. You guys have been with us from the start and your reviews helped our little business grow more than you could ever realize," she wrote"Your time and enthusiasm helps make BBQ in Texas great!"

We're honored, to say the least, but here's our point of view Lisa. Great family BBQ joints like Miller's Smokehouse are what makes Texas BBQ great.....

Click here and here to see our previous stories on Miller's Smokehouse.

Miller's Smokehouse, 208 N Penelope, Belton, 254-939-5500. Open Tues-Thurs 10:30am-6:30pm, Fri and Sat 10:30am-9pm or until the meat runs out.

Pitmaster Robert Reid, right, and owner Dirk Miller work the pits.  (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)

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