Chris Wilkins

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The Barbecue Chronicles: Houston, we have a barbecue problem

The eight stops on the Texas BBQ Posse’s Gulf Coast BBQ Tour.  (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Houston is a wasteland for good barbecue, but Galveston and Bryan aren’t. The main mission on the BBQ Posse’s recent 35-hour, 700-mile barbecue tour to the Texas Gulf Coast and back was to find good smoked meat in Houston. We didn’t. But an hour south, on Galveston Island, we met Leon O’Neal and learned again about the true power of barbecue. O’Neal, who runs Leon’s World Finest In & Out Bar-B-Que House at Broadway and 55th, told us about the cleanup after Hurricane…
 - 06/24/2012

Just in time for Father’s Day – Here’s an updated list of our favorites

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from Dallas Morning News food and travel editor Cathy Barber, who I work with as a photo editor at the paper. The web team was looking for Father’s Day content and wanted to rerun our list of favorite joints that ran in the DMN travel section and online last fall. “Do you think this story is still pretty solid, or have you guys changed your mind about some of them?,” Cathy asked. Our original list of 12 joints had stirred up a little dust in the BBQ blogosphere. We had intended…
 - 06/14/2012

The Houston BBQ Tour – A quick look at our itinerary

Here’s a quick look at the itinerary for our first Houston BBQ Tour. Last Friday, we headed south down I-45 for a 700-mile journey, searching for the best smoked meats in the Houston area. Over the next two days, we stopped at eight joints stretching from Huntsville to Galveston. This was our tenth organized BBQ tour since November 2009, when an early-morning visit to Snow’s BBQ in Lexington started an obsession to search for the best BBQ in Texas. Barbecue would never taste the same again after that day. We’ll be writing about the tour in an upcoming travel story…
 - 06/07/2012

Follow the Texas BBQ Posse on Facebook and Twitter

The Texas BBQ Posse began in November 2009 when six friends took their first BBQ road trip to Central Texas. As we sat beside the smokers at Snow’s BBQ, our lives changed with the first bite of brisket during breakfast at the legendary Lexington joint. Stops at Louie Mueller, Smitty’s and Kreuz Market followed that day. We started the Posse blog shortly thereafter. Since then, we’ve driven 4,000-plus miles of Texas highways and backroads. Whether on organized tours or meandering road trips, we’re always searching for the best BBQ in the state. We’ve reported on our adventures on the blog, on…
 - 05/24/2012

Katy Trail Ice House: The new kid on the BBQ block

We had the pleasure of checking out the latest serious BBQ player in Dallas on Friday. The Katy Trail Ice House, located on the trail near Reverchon Park, has been cooking BBQ on a huge custom-built smoker for the past two months. The results are quite impressive, especially given the short time they’ve been smoking meats. Alerted by a recent blog post on written by Stephen Doyle on cravedfw, we rounded up a group and headed there for lunch. BBQ Snob Daniel Vaughn also rounded up a posse of five from nearby Good Fulton & Farrell, the architecture firm where…
 - 05/05/2012

UPDATE: Joseph’s Riverport BBQ expected to reopen in 6-8 weeks

UPDATE TO AN UPDATE: Just heard some great news from owner/pitmaster Stephen Joseph about the reopening of Joseph’s Riverport BBQ in Jefferson. The restaurant was totally destroyed by a fire in January. Here’s Stephen’s note: “It’s probably about 6 to 8 weeks away from being ready. The exterior is about complete but the interior is unbelievably tedious and complicated. The new pit from Bewley should be ready in about 2 weeks and I’ll be doing a lot of test cooking.” We can’t wait to head east to Jefferson and check out Stephen’s new joint. I’m sure they will reclaim their…
 - 04/12/2012

UPDATE: Fatboy’s BBQ in Ladonia – Live to ride, ride to eat

UPDATE: Fatboy’s BBQ has moved to a new location in nearby Cooper and opened last April. The new location at 850 W. Dallas Ave. in Cooper gets much higher traffic, but Shannon and Heather will be serving up the same great BBQ. They are open Mon-Fri 10:30am-6 pm. Their new phone number is 903-300-3287. Original post About 80 miles northeast of Dallas, you’ll find some of the best barbecue in North Texas. Fatboy’s BBQ is located on a narrow side street in Ladonia, population 691. It’s well worth the drive or ride from DFW. Shannon Bankston and girlfriend Heather Hoff…
 - 04/10/2012

Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton might be the best BBQ north of Austin

Brisket sits on the pit at Miller’s Smokehouse 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. We first caught wind of Miller’s last week during BBQ Snob Daniel Vaughn’s trip to south Texas. Miller’s has been overshadowed in Belton by the better known Schoepf’s BBQ, which I have always heard is average fare. Daniel, who is knee deep in his book project on the…
 - 03/28/2012

Is reality TV stardom in Aaron Franklin’s future? BBQ Pitmasters season 3 update

BBQ Pitmasters season 3 will begin filming tomorrow at the Don’t Be Cruel BBQ Duel competition in Tupelo, Mississippi. The big news for Texas BBQ followers is that Austin BBQ pitmaster/owner Aaron Franklin will be joining the upcoming season of BBQ Pitmasters as a judge. BBQ entrepreneur and author Myron Mixon, of Jack’s Old South BBQ, has already anounced he will be back as a judge on the show. Championship pitmaster Tuffy Stone will also be joining the judging team. He was a major player on season one of BBQ Pitmasters and has great respect in competition circles. He also…
 - 03/15/2012

See the photos – Mama & Papa B’s Bar-B-Q in Waco

Here’s another great set of photos from my Dallas Morning News colleague Guy Reynolds. Guy is a photojournalist and photo editor at the News, as well as an early member of the Posse. Whenever Guy shoots a barbecue joint for the Posse blog, I always really look forward to seeing the images. He’s an artist with a camera and has been exhibited in numerous galleries over the past years. I have several of his BBQ photos framed and hanging on the walls of my house. Last week Guy was looking for a place to eat in Waco. I steered him toward…
 - 03/05/2012

Heading east to Big Smith’s Bar-B-Q in Sulphur Springs

We first heard of Big Smith’s Bar-B-Q after our first East Texas BBQ Tour story was published in The Dallas Morning News a couple of years ago. Several readers wrote to tell us we had missed the best BBQ in East Texas. They urged us to visit Big Smith’s, located 8 miles south of Sulphur Springs on on Hwy 154. We put it on the list and intended to get there for a visit. The problem was, we always try to hit two or more joints when we head out of town, getting a sample of BBQ available in the area. Quite…
 - 02/29/2012

Details are leaking out on BBQ Pitmasters season 3

We’ve been watching closely as little tidbits have been floating to the surface on season three of BBQ Pitmasters on TLC. Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper and I were over visiting Jambo BBQ pit builder Jamie Geer in Burelson last month when we first caught wind of the new season. Jamie casually mentioned that a producer from Pitmasters had just called him that morning and TLC was proceeding with another season. Besides building world-class BBQ pits, Jamie has been cooking at BBQ competitions for years. He was a winner on season one of the show. I’m not sure if he’ll be on the…
 - 02/28/2012

Smokey John’s BBQ on Gaston in Dallas – a quick look

Posse member Guy Reynolds checks in after a visit to Smokey John’s Bar-B-Que and Home Cooking, located one block southwest of Gaston & Haskell in Dallas. This is a lesser-known second location of Smokey John’s, the original one is located on Mockingbird Lane. We’ve done several stories at The Dallas Morning News about owner/pitmaster John “Smokey” Reaves and bible study services held at the original location for many years.  Here’s Guy’s mini review: I went to Smokey John’s on Gaston by Baylor Hospital last week. Although it’s in my ‘hood, easy walking or riding distance from home, it’d been eight…
 - 02/26/2012

More BBQ Signs of Our Times

Odom’s Bar-B-Que, 1971 Singleton Boulevard, Dallas. A Posse rule of thumb: The more homemade the sign, the more down home the barbecue. BBQ Signs of our Times is back again, this time with a mix of new and historic photos. This is our fifth blog post on classic BBQ signs. If you happen to see a cool sign while you’re out on the Texas BBQ Trail, please snap a photo and keep us in mind. If you’re a fan of our Texas BBQ Posse Facebook page, you can upload a photo for us to include on a future BBQ signs…
 - 02/25/2012

The wood versus gas BBQ debate rages on: “extramsg” responds to his critics

We were introduced to blogger and Portland, Oregon, deli owner extramsg last week when he responded to Gary Jacobson’s post The wood versus gas BBQ debate continues as we analyze a Southern Pride recipe. His take on the piece? “Ah, bullshit.” You can read his initial comment under the original blog post to get the gist of his argument. Basically, he says that he can cook BBQ every bit as smokey as the best wood-fired Texas BBQ joints on his gas-burning Southern Pride oven. To that, I say: “Ah, bullshit.” When extramsg sent a lengthly followup comment last night, we…
 - 02/23/2012

BBQ trip to Uncle Willie’s and Mama E’s in east Fort Worth

In our never ending quest to find the best BBQ joints in Texas, Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper and I recently headed west to Fort Worth to check out a couple of places we hadn’t been yet. Both joints, Uncle Willie’s BBQ and Mama E’s Bar-B-Q & Homestyle Cooking, are on the east side of town on Rosedale Ave., located about ten minutes apart. The Posse went on a Fort Worth BBQ tour in spring 2010, but we were trying to find a new stop or two beyond our two favorites from that tour. After that trip, Off the Bone in…
 - 02/22/2012

Dropping in on Longoria’s BBQ in Everman

Brisket sausage at Longoria’s BBQ in Everman. On a recent weekday afternoon, Marshall Cooper and I dropped in at Longoria’s BBQ in Everman, one of our favorite DFW joints. We met pitmaster David Longoria at the cash registers and started to talk BBQ. The lunch rush was over and were back in the pit area in no time. The trip was nothing big, we’d already eaten at two BBQ joints in east Fort Worth that day, Uncle Willie’s & Mama E’s. But we still had room, if you know what I mean. Longoria’s pitmaster David Longoria meets Posse pitmaster Marshall…
 - 02/20/2012

Austin BBQ mini tour – It just keeps getting better

Texas BBQ Posse member Jim Rossman reports in from a quick BBQ run to Austin yesterday. You have to ask the question. Is the epicenter of the BBQ universe shifting north up Hwy. 183 from Lockhart to Austin? Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper, his son Mark and I set out for Austin at 7:30 a.m. Our day’s goal was a return trip to JMueller’s BBQ and a visit to one Austin’s newest places – Stiles Switch BBQ and Brew. Our first stop was to pick up John Lewis and his fiancee Maureen. John is a fantastic competition pitmaster who also works…
 - 02/17/2012

Once last shot: FSA photographer Russell Lee and the 1940 Pie City Fair

I wanted to share one last batch of Farm Security Administration (FSA) photos shot by Russell Lee. These were shot during a free community BBQ at the Pie Town (NM) Fair in 1940. As a photojournalism student at the University of Missouri in the early 1980s, I was exposed to his work along with fellow FSA staffers including Dorthea Lange, Gordon Parks, Russell Lee, Carl Mydans and Walker Evans. Outside of Life magazine in its heyday, this has to be the most talented photo staff ever assembled. Their documentation of the Great Depression gives us an irreplaceable visual record of the struggles and…
 - 02/09/2012

Without a doubt, Fargo’s is one of the best BBQ joints in Texas

When you hit the Texas BBQ trail, there are often more disappointments than pleasant surprises. How can a place that looks so cool from the outside have such tasteless meat inside? How can a perennial BBQ people’s choice winner be so bad? We’ve seen and learned a lot over the past two and a half years as we travel around the state searching for the best smoked meats. Our recent Speedtrap BBQ Tour is a perfect example. Snow’s BBQ and City Meat Market in Giddings were off-the-charts good, just like they’ve always been when we go there. The next couple…
 - 01/30/2012

Happy anniversary to our friends at Lockhart Smokehouse

Texas BBQ royalty were on hand as friends and family of Lockhart Smokehouse joined together on Sunday evening to celebrate their first anniversary. We were all there to congratulate Jill Bergus, husband Jeff and pitmaster Tim McLaughlin on their success. Lockhart Smokehouse has played a major role in the renaissance of Dallas barbecue, along with Pecan Lodge in the Dallas Farmer’s Market. It’s only fitting that a group of Jill’s family came up from Lockhart to help them celebrate, including Kreuz Market owner Keith Schmidt and her grandmother Alma Schmidt. Jill grew up surrounded by the legacy of great BBQ.…
 - 01/30/2012

The Barbecue Chronicles: Tales from the Speedtrap BBQ Tour

Here’s Posse member Bruce Tomaso’s take on our recent Speedtrap BBQ Tour. Bruce joined Marshall Cooper, Jim Rossman and me on a 500-plus mile trek that began at Snow’s BBQ, our favorite place to start every tour in central Texas. Here are some stories from one of our best BBQ journeys yet….. Last Friday night, a friend and I went to see Tool. My friend, a student at Texas Christian University, doesn’t have a car, so I picked him up. I got off work and headed west on Interstate 30 from downtown Dallas to the TCU campus in Fort Worth.…
 - 01/26/2012

The Speedtrap BBQ Tour – an early look

Wheels up this morning at 6:30 a.m. from Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper’s driveway in North Dallas. Our first destination was breakfast at Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, which has become a ritual for us when starting a tour in central Texas. To be followed by four more joints and 500-plus miles on the Texas BBQ Trail. Anticipation was building as we approached the Lexington city limits. The speed limit dropped from 65 to 55mph, but no one noticed. We were talking Snow’s and what we would order for breakfast. No one except one of Lexington’s finest, running radar less than a…
 - 01/22/2012

Roots of Dallas BBQ Tour

For our first BBQ tour of new year, a dozen Posse members met this morning to retrace some Dallas BBQ history. We started at the original Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse BBQ on Inwood, followed by stops at Odom’s Bar-B-Que, the original Dickey’s Barbecue Pit and ending at Peggy Sue BBQ in Snider Plaza. Our past tours have averaged anywhere from 200 to 600 miles of driving. This one was 16 miles from the first stop to the last. None of the places came close to the elite BBQ in the area or the state, but it was fun to get together…
 - 01/14/2012

More historic BBQ photos from the files of the Farm Security Administration

Here’s another set of barbecue photos from the collection of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) photo archive. These were shot in 1940 by photojournalist Russell Lee at a free community barbecue picnic on Labor Day in Ridgway, Colorado. After my blog post last week on FSA images of Texas BBQ, I spent some more time going through their photo archive searching “barbecue.” I found an amazing set of color photos from a community BBQ in New Mexico, also shot in 1940 by Russell Lee, a rarity as almost all FSA images were shot on black & white film. I’ll put…
 - 12/30/2011

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