Member of the Bandera County Young Life BBQ group pose for a photo with legendary Snow's pitmaster Tootsie Tomanetz.
(Photo ©Chris WIlkins/Texas BBQ Posse)


My memory isn't what it used to be, but I was pretty sure we ran into a first -- for us anyway -- during the Posse's trip to Snow's BBQ in Lexington last weekend.

We met two groups of fellow barbecue lovers, each wearing special shirts championing their meat-loving pursuits.

One group of a half-dozen guys from North Texas wore very nice black and red bowling shirts with the words "BBQ Burnt Ends" above the word "Caliente."

Another similar-sized, but younger, contingent had simple white sleeveless t-shirts that said: "Bandera County Young Life Texas BBQ Tour."

After eating, both groups had their photos taken with Snow's great pit master Tootsie Tomanetz.

"The greatest BBQ Lady in the world," Ric Clark of Burnt Ends wrote when he posted his group's photo with Tootsie on the Posse's Facebook page.

To double check my memory, I consulted with other long-time Posse members. Co-founder Chris Wilkins reminded me that we did run into a couple of California guys at La Barbecue early this year who wore special shirts commemorating their Texas tour.  And while we all remembered meeting many other dedicated barbecue lovers since our barbecue travels began in 2009, no one could remember meeting such similar organized groups.

"It's my impression there are way more organized groups now," Wilkins said later as we discussed the phenomenon by email. "I rarely remember running into groups in the early days. Also, there were no paid tours then either."

He referred to the sponsored tours and other barbecue experiences organized by Drew Thornley at Man Up Texas BBQ, Daniel Vaughn at Texas Monthly's TMBBQ, and others.

The Bandera County Young Life BBQ group digs into a Snow's BBQ feast.
(Photo ©Chris WIlkins/Texas BBQ Posse)

"It's also interesting how many of them have been following us (on the blog) and use that in their planning, much like we did with Daniel's original blog in 2009," Wilkins said.

Before TMBBQ, Vaughn wrote the Full Custom Gospel BBQ blog and still has a Facebook page with that name. In the early days, Full Custom was indeed our barbecue gospel.

So, what's going on here? Is the organized barbecue "posse" concept becoming a thing?

Well, yes, it appears. And the better answer, actually, is "has become" not "becoming."

Jacob Raitz, director of the Bandera County Young Life organization, says this is the fourth year he has led his high school-aged group on a barbecue tour. He continued the idea from his predecessor who started the tours two years previously.

"Barbecue and fellowship just go together," Raitz said in a telephone interview. "They really do. Anything where you sit down and eat a meal together. We're talking about barbecue. We're talking about life."

The Posse couldn't agree more.

Raitz said his group ate barbecue Friday, Saturday and Sunday, visiting Black's, Louie Mueller, and M-Train BBQ as well as Snow's. M-Train is a new joint in Austin, started by a former employee of John Mueller at the trailer site of the former John Mueller Meat Co.

"We do a burger tour in the spring, which is great, but it's nothing like barbecue," Raitz said. "Tootsie gave us all hugs."

To those hugs, and to all the other barbecue posses out there, The Texas BBQ Posse adds its salute.

The BBQ Burnt Ends tour group from the D/FW area pose with Tootsie Tomanetz. (Photo Ric Clark/Facebook)



7 years ago

Y'all were just in front of us at Mueller's in Taylor. We had no flashy clothes, just a hard working foursome from the Houston area that loves good BBQ.


7 years ago

Actually, we were behind the BBQ Burnt Ends in Taylor!

Gary Jacobson

7 years ago

Luckie, send us a picture of your hard-working foursome (post it on the Posse's Facebook page) and tell us about yourselves...

Austin Top 5 plus Snow's

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