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 remodeled over the years. A covered patio is out front, where customers can eat after ordering at a service window. The pits are in the back.

We started at the back and talked to owner-pitmaster Ben Washington, who explained the joint’s name.

“My dad was Whup and there were 12 of us little whups,” he said.

His father played baseball and got the nickname “Whup” from the sound of a ball hitting a glove, Washington said.

The inspiration for “Boomerang” came one night when he couldn’t sleep.

“I wanted to be different,” he said. And he wanted to convey the idea of customers who keep coming back for more barbecue.

Whup’s made Texas Monthly’s list of the Top 50 joints in the state this year and in 2008. On the Posse’s Heart of Texas BBQ Tour, though, Whup’s food didn’t measure up to what we ate at Kirby’s Barbeque in Mexia and Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton, also Top 50 places.

“There are no high notes,” Posse member Bryan Gooding said of the bland rub on the brisket, ribs and chicken. The sausage had a gamey taste.

Still, for atmosphere – including one of the friendliest pitmasters we’ve met – Whup’s is right there with Pat Gee's.


Owner and pitmaster Ben Washington works the main pit at Whup's Boomerang Barbecue. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves/fotobia.com)


Brisket, sausage & chicken at Whup's Boomerang Barbecue. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)

Heart of Texas BBQ Tour

  • 9am:  Leave Dallas
  • 10:30am:  Wright’s Bar-B-Q, 123 Martin Luther King Jr Hwy (Hwy 14), Mexia, 254-562-9042. Open Tue-Sat 10am-6pm.
  • 11:30am:  Kirby's Barbeque, 4592 Hwy. 14 S, Mexia, 254-562-5076. Open: Wed-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 10am-3pm.  (Texas Monthly Top 50)
  • 1:30pm:  Whup's Boomerang Bar-B-Q, 1203 Bennett St., Marlin, 254-883-5770. Open Thurs-Sat 10am-8pm.    (Texas Monthly Top 50)
  • 3 pm:  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.  (Texas Monthly Top 50)
  • 7 pm:  Arrive back in Dallas
Total trip: 10 hours, 318 miles


10 years ago

No pictures of food?

Chris Wilkins

10 years ago

Good point, just added a food photo. Thanks.......

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