My daughter Ashley Montgomery and grandson James at Pat Gee's Barbecue. (Photo ©Chris WIlkins/Texas BBQ Posse)

For every Texas barbecue fanatic, there are smoked meat moments that will always be remembered. I was lucky enough to have another of those great memories on Saturday at Pat Gee's Barbecue outside of Tyler.

I remember the first time eating brisket for breakfast with friends at Snow's BBQ on a foggy Saturday morning in November 2009. That experience forever changed our view of what barbecue could be and led to the birth of Texas BBQ Posse. Every Central Texas BBQ tour we've had since then always begins at Snow's on a Saturday morning.

According to family lore, my first exposure to barbecue was in the mid-1960's at Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q, as a child growing up in Tyler. I'm pretty sure it involved a chopped beef sandwich and a Big Red. And Stanley's is still around, better than ever, a mainstay on Texas Monthly's Top 50 BBQ list.

Pat Gee's Barbecue pictured in the 1977. (Photo by Tom Hackim)

My next great barbecue memory was going to Pat Gee's, located under tall pine trees in the countryside east of Tyler. We began eating there in high school in the late 1970's. Pitmaster Pat Gee was larger than life, producing some of the best BBQ to ever come out of East Texas. He was overshadowed only by his wife Vida, who ran the counter and knew all their customers by name.

After Pat died in 1999, she continued to run the historic BBQ joint with her sons Arthur and Billy. I would always drop by to say hi whenever in town visiting family and introduced my daughter Ashley & son Tyler when we moved back to Texas in 2001. Vida Gee passed away in 2009, but Arthur and Billy continue to run the joint to this day.

Fast forward to last Saturday, when we headed to Tyler to introduce my six-month-old grandson James to several family members. James was born on Sept. 24th last year, my first grandchild. Weighing in at almost nine pounds, I was pretty sure he would join his grandfather on Texas Posse BBQ tours one day.

After visiting with family, Ashley, James & I took a slight detour east to pick up a couple of pounds of Pat's chopped brisket to take back to Dallas. It's a family tradition. As Arthur Gee worked the cutting board, a light bulb came on. The time had come for baby James to try his first bite of brisket.

My father James has been a regular at Pat Gee's for over 30 years and son Tyler and I have eaten there every chance we've had since moving back to DFW. James would be the fourth generation of our family to eat the legendary chopped beef at Pat's.

Long story short, he loved it and had several bites before reaching out for the whole bowl of chopped brisket. We stopped him there, but I expect there will be many more visits to Pat's and other great Texas BBQ joints in his future.

Pat Gee's Barbecue, 17547 Jamestown Rd., Tyler, 903-534-0265. Open Fri-Sun 11 am-until the meat runs out.

James Montgomery tries his first-ever bite of brisket and goes back for more. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)


Arthur Gee, center, and his brother Billy, left, have run Pat Gee's since their mom died in 2009. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins)


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