Gary Jacobson

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Splatchcock-turkey-01

Join the discussion: Thanksgiving turkey

Two splatchcock turkeys smoke on Marshall Cooper’s Jambo smoker. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) On Thanksgiving, just a short while away, 46 million or so turkeys will be eaten by Americans. Many will be baked in the oven, others smoked or cooked on a grill for friends and family. I learned to cook turkey on a Weber nearly 50 years ago from my wife’s grandfather. But this isn’t about our methods. The Posse wants to know your favored method for smoking or grilling turkey. Do you brine? What kind of wood, charcoal, pellets do you use? Seasonings? Butter baste? Share…
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Recreating Valentina’s breakfast tacos with barbecue leftovers

The gold standard of all breakfast tacos in Texas, from Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ in Austin. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) What to do with barbecue leftovers? Always an important question. The best advice the Posse ever received on that front came years ago during a visit to Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, Tx. Reheat slowly in the oven with lots of butter, owner Kerry Bexley told us. Still solid advice. After a recent Saturday Posse feast at 2M Smokehouse in San Antonio, we found ourselves with lots of barbecue leftovers on a Sunday morning at our place in Austin. There…
 - 09/26/2018
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400 miles, or so, to the pork rib on a long road trip

Josh Johnson, left, and friend Cooper Furlong dig into pork ribs at 2M Smokehouse in San Antonio. (Photo ©Tom Fox) Over a decade on the barbecue trail, the Texas BBQ Posse has seen a lot of things. But we ran into a first last Saturday during a visit to 2M Smokehouse in San Antonio: A couple of young guys fueling up on smoked meat before their two thousand mile road trip to Oregon. Talk about a cross country adventure. Cooper Furlong of San Antonio and his friend Josh Johnson of Los Angeles arrived at 2M Smokehouse at 8 a.m. and…
 - 09/24/2018
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Slow Pokes Brisket Shack, you gotta see it to believe it

Slow Pokes Brisket Shack in Manchaca, south of Austin, one of the most unique BBQ joints the Posse has ever visited. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) We arrived at Slow Pokes Brisket Shack in Manchaca, Tx., a little after noon on a recent Friday. No more than 60 seconds later, Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins declared: “This is the most unique barbecue joint we’ve ever been to, man.” Wilkins has never been more right. Visually, Slow Pokes Brisket Shack, located in a rural area not too far south of Austin, is overwhelming. It’s a hoarder’s paradise that had its beginning about…
 - 09/18/2018
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BBQuest, a new video series, gets high marks from the Posse

Dishes featured in scenes from BBQuest, a web series from the Texas Beef Council. (Photos ©Beef Loving Texans) If memory serves, and sometimes it doesn’t in my advancing years, no one on the Texas BBQ Posse has ever gone shopping for party clothes, cowboy boots and hats before one of our smoked meat tours. That’s exactly what Kelsey Pribilski and Jess Pryles do in the middle of the premier episode — about Austin — of BBQuest, a new digital video series from Beef Loving Texans, a consumer brand of the Texas Beef Council. No matter. The main focus for Pribilski…
 - 09/10/2018
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Why aren’t the lines longer at Brown’s Bar-B-Que?

Customers line up to order at Brown’s Bar-B-Que in Austin. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Call it a continuing smoked meat puzzlement for the Posse: Why aren’t the lines longer at Brown’s Bar-B-Que trailer on South Lamar in Austin? Owner Daniel Brown has been cooking and serving barbecue for more than a decade. His trailer started getting some serious buzz in 2013 and over the years has been touted by Eater Austin, Texas Monthly, even Bon Appetit. Early this year, Conde Nast Traveler included Brown’s on its list of the 10 best barbecue joints in Austin. Daniel Brown Jr. slices…
 - 08/30/2018
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Some damn good steaks from Texas Beefhouse

Hot off the grill and sliced, Wagyu ribeye steak, top row, and Black Angus ribeye steak from Texas Beefhouse in Whitehouse. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Jonathan Wilkins, brother of Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins, succinctly summed up our recent test of Black Angus and Wagyu steaks from the Texas Beefhouse: “The lede is this place in Whitehouse produces good beef,” he said, getting nods of approval from the seven other Posse test eaters in attendance. The Beefhouse farm is located near Whitehouse, not far from Tyler. Jon is a finance guy, but as a retired newspaper dinosaur I loved the…
 - 08/27/2018
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Old 300 BBQ, feeling right at home in Blanco

Old 300 BBQ, on the Square in Blanco, is a very civilized place, even during the town’s popular Lavender Festival. Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins and I met another newspaper veteran, Roy Appleton, there for a late lunch on a recent Saturday. The joint was packed, as was the festival nearby. But the first sign we saw inside the front door of Old 300 BBQ made us feel very much at home. “While you wait,” it said, “grab a drink and we will settle up at the counter.” We did just that. Wilkins was driving, so I grabbed a Corona from…
 - 08/01/2018
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Smoking times and temperatures, your guide

Briskets cook at a steady 225-degrees on the smoker at Tejas Chocolate Craftory. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Over the years, the Posse has seen — and used — many guides to smoking times and temperatures for barbecue. This chart from the folks at Bro BBQ is one of the most comprehensive we’ve run into. It includes seafood and a couple veggies as well as beef, pork, lamb, and poultry. It comes to us from Jack Thompson, the founder of BroBBQ.com, who said he was looking for information on barbecue recipes when he ran into our post from a while…
 - 07/16/2018
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‘Meat Day’ at Brotherton’s Black Iron Barbecue

Brisket, sausage, turkey and smoked orange chicken at Brotherton’s Black Iron Barbecue in Pflugerville. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Don’t know if Horace, the Roman poet who lived a couple thousand years ago, was a barbecue fan. But if he was and if he were around today, he would probably like Brotherton’s Black Iron Barbecue in Pflugerville. If for nothing else than the sign on the front window. “Carne Diem,” it says, a play on Horace’s immortal phase, “carpe diem,” commonly translated “seize the day.” The Brotherton’s sign is a mashup of Spanish and Latin. The joint translates the bilingual…
 - 07/11/2018
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The challenge of cooking chicken right

Posse member Bryan Gooding preps whole chickens for competition at the first Blues, Bandits & BBQ cookoff in Oak Cliff. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) In barbecue and grilling, properly cooking chicken is a tough challenge. Much of the chicken served by backyard grillers and smokers, as well as barbecue joints, is overcooked. Probably because no one wants to undercook. Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins and I had undercooked chicken at two consecutive stops on a recent tour of Austin-area places. It’s jarring to bite into a piece of chicken and see small red splotches — blood — deep in the…
 - 07/03/2018
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Talking BBQ biz with Jerome Faulkner at J. Leonardi’s

Jerome Faulkner, pitmaster at J. Leonardi’s Barbeque in Austin. (Photo ©Tom Fox) Jerome Faulkner at J. Leonardi’s is an excellent pit master. We could tell that after our first visits to his original trailer location on Airport Boulevard in Austin more than a year ago. Faulkner and his partner, former UT and NFL star Cedric Griffin, opened a second location on the near East side late last year and, after operating both spots for a short while, have since closed the place on Airport. Their new place is on 11th Street, short walks from both Franklin Barbecue and Micklethwait Craft…
 - 06/26/2018
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New Wyatt McSpadden BBQ book is must-have

  Austin-based photographer Wyatt McSpadden and his new book, Texas BBQ: Small Town to Downtown. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Dallas BBQ Posse) Texas BBQ, Small Town to Downtown by Wyatt McSpadden is as much a testament to changes in photography as it is to changes in the Texas barbecue scene. One photo in the new book due out soon illustrates both. It’s a full-page shot of Leonard Botello IV, pit master at Truth Barbecue, sprinkling rub on briskets. Light reflects off the spices, gliding in gentle curves to the meat. Beautiful! “I bet I shot maybe 400 frames to get that,” McSpadden said…
 - 06/19/2018
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Sneak peek: The Switch near Dripping Springs

The Stiles family poses for a portrait in the pit room of their new restaurant,The Switch, located near Dripping Springs. Left to right, Stella, 6, Shane, Catherine and Ava, 5. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Barbecue impresarios Shane and Catherine Stiles gave the Posse a sneak peek recently of their new place — The Switch — which they will be opening on Friday June 22, located just off Highway 290 near Dripping Springs. Their original place, Stiles Switch BBQ and Brew in Austin, is one of the best joints in the state. Catherine Stiles, of course, has made her own…
 - 06/15/2018
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Is Louie’s the best kept BBQ secret in Austin?

A customer picks up his order at Louie’s, a BBQ trailer in south Austin. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Louie’s, a trailer joint on South Congress, wasn’t on the itinerary for the Posse’s recent tour of Austin-area barbecue places. But then we met blogger Jason Salas at an early stop. He raved about Louie’s so we changed our plans. Order of street corn at Louie’s. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) We’re glad we did. Louie’s, run by Luis Vasquez and his wife, Amy, might just be the best kept barbecue secret in Austin. The pork ribs were perfectly cooked with…
 - 06/10/2018
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Whitfield’s in Austin, a work in progress

Our meat spread at Whitfield’s in Austin. From left top clockwise: Jalapeño & cheese sausage, smoked half  chicken, pork ribs, beef sausage, fried potatoes, sliced brisket & pickled beats. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) As settings go, Whitfield’s, the new barbecue trailer in southern Austin, might be in the most un-photogenic place we’ve encountered during a decade on the barbecue trail. “If it’s not first, it’s close,” Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins said during our recent visit. Located near the intersection of Brodie Lane and Davis Lane, the trailer and pits sit on a large gravel parking lot. No trees. Nearby,…
 - 06/08/2018
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Lean brisket is only for ‘skinny jean man bun wearing boys’

Sliced fatty brisket at Killen’s Barbecue in Houston.  (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) As expected, our recent story about fatty brisket — when did it become hip? — generated quite a bit of discussion on various social media sites and in emails. The story said that some of us in the Posse were rethinking our preference for fatty, or moist, brisket and ordering more lean brisket. “FATTY! Leave that lean for them skinny jean man bun wearing boys,” Doug Wyman, one of many readers who disagreed with us, wrote on the Posse’s Facebook page. Sam Gwynne, author and Posse member,…
 - 05/25/2018
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Fatty brisket, when did it become hip?

A mix of lean & fatty brisket at Truth Barbecue in Brenham. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Call us unhip or uncool if you must, but the Posse is rethinking its preference for fatty brisket. Truth be told, when we seriously started hitting the barbecue trail a decade ago we didn’t appreciate the difference. We just ordered brisket and took what we got. Some of us even squirted sauce on our smoked meat. Yikes! Soon, though, we discovered what our barbecue brother Bryan Norton calls the “magic tingle,” that delicious bite of the tenderest beef, perfectly rendered fat and crusty…
 - 05/23/2018
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The Texas BBQ Posse goes sous vide

  Posse member Mike Gagne uses sous vide to reheat a prime rib. (Photo ©Gary Jacobson/Texas BBQ Posse) Now it can be told. The Posse has gone all-in on sous vide. Well, not quite ALL. But we certainly have some strong sympathizers in our group. That became quite evident during a recent email discussion. It began on a lazy Friday afternoon and extended into the weekend. No better time to get philosophical about food. Sous vide, in short, is a method of cooking using sealed bags that are submerged in warm water. The technique was developed by a French chef…
 - 05/14/2018
Mueller-Park

Smoked chicken star of this night at Mum Foods

Jake Gagne, 2, rides a pony at the Texas Farmers’ Market at Mueller last Sunday in Austin. (Photo ©Gary Jacobson/Texas BBQ Posse) We ate prime rib and smoked chicken under a historic airport hangar at a mid-week farmers market while, not far away, a singer crooned an Elvis tune. Nearby, kids and adults had their pictures taken atop a giant Longhorn, which was saddled and very much alive. Wise men say this must be Austin. Since moving to ATX a couple years ago, we’ve been regulars at the Sunday pop-up market on the site of the old Mueller Airport, just…
 - 05/04/2018
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A day in the life: How John Lewis makes damn good BBQ

The pit fires burn at Lewis Barbecue in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo ©Darren Carroll) Barbecue maestro John Lewis manages a staff of 60 at his restaurant — Lewis Barbecue — in Charleston, S.C. “Yeh, it’s a big place,” he said recently. “We’re open 11 hours a day. Sometimes it’s crisis central. Most of the time it’s just management.” In the world of smoked meat, the term “legend” sometimes gets tossed around too easily. John Lewis, though, legitimately deserves the tag. In Austin, he assisted Aaron Franklin back in Franklin Barbecue’s embryonic trailer days. And Lewis later helped make la Barbecue…
 - 05/01/2018
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The Posse visits the site of the new Truth Barbecue

Customers wait in line for Friday lunch at Truth Barbecue in Brenham. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) When Truth Barbecue opens its new joint in Houston, it’s hard to imagine a location more different from the original place on the outskirts of Brenham. It’s only 80 miles or so as the crow flies, but the new setting could just as well be on a different planet. Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins and I got a first-hand look at the contrast during a recent tour of Houston area barbecue joints. We started at Truth in Brenham on a Friday morning, ordering that…
 - 04/24/2018
Killens-Barbecue

Reservations for BBQ dinner, yes, at Killen’s Barbecue

The line forms for dinner outside of Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves/fotobia.com) Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland will soon begin accepting reservations for its dinner service, owner Ronnie Killen said. This is a major break from common practice at Texas’ best barbecue joints. None of them take reservations and many of them stop serving when they sell out of meat, often long before dinner time. Diners will be seated at tables and then order from waiters, Killen said. Steaks, including chicken-fried ribeyes, and other fare will also be available. The Posse talked to Killen, who also operates several other…
 - 04/21/2018
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CorkScrew BBQ, on the mainline for smoked meat and trains

As a train passes and the horn blows, one brother covers his ears while the other stays glued to his tablet in the patio area of CorkScrew BBQ in Spring. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) If you like eating barbecue and watching trains there may not be a better spot in Texas to do both at the same time than CorkScrew BBQ in Spring. Located a short distance from Union Pacific’s Lloyd Yard, where freight trains are assembled, the tracks split within view of CorkScrew’s outdoor eating area. One set of tracks heads north and another turns west, running just…
 - 04/17/2018
Weber-Grilling

Bill Gillespie reveals the secret of butter in BBQ in his new book

For me, the Bible of backyard barbecue books remains Weber’s Big Book of Grilling, published in 2001. My battered copy is littered with yellow, blue and pink sticky notes marking dishes I’ve cooked over the years. In a quick search of my home library, I found a half-dozen Weber-related books. No surprise. I’ve been a devoted Weber Kettle user for nearly half a century. More recently, I’ve become a fan of the Weber Smokey Mountain. The latest addition to my book collection is The Secrets to Great Charcoal Grilling on the Weber by competition champ Bill Gillespie, published this month.…
 - 04/13/2018

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