Gary Jacobson

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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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A ‘quantum shift’ in the BBQ universe, all because of Texas

A couple who bailed on the long line at Franklin Barbecue checks out the menu at Micklethwait Craft Meats in Austin. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) It was 10:40 on a recent Sunday morning, 20 minutes before Micklethwait Craft Meats opened for business. There was no line, just five people sitting at tables in front of the little yellow trailer. Across the street, a couple walked toward us from the direction of Franklin Barbecue, a few blocks away near downtown Austin. “Did you just come from Franklin?” I asked when they arrived. “Yes,” they answered. “It didn’t look like that…
 - 04/10/2018
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No free burnt ends and other BBQ wisdom from Grant Pinkerton

The Posse’s Gary Jacobson talks business with Pinkerton’s Barbecue owner Grant Pinkerton in the bar at his north Houston restaurant. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) The Posse always enjoys going to Pinkerton’s Texas Pit Barbecue in Houston. The food is great. So is the bar. And the conversations can be stimulating. For a young dude, owner-pit master Grant Pinkerton is full of wisdom, barbecue and beyond. That’s gotta be one of the factors that attracted the attention of Forbes magazine, which last November included Pinkerton on its prestigious 30-under-30 list of “youthful visionaries” who are changing their industries. Forbes calls…
 - 04/03/2018
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Tejas Chocolate Craftory gets raves from the Posse

Lunch plate of brisket, pork ribs, turkey, brisket burnt ends & three sides at Tejas Chocolate Craftory in Tomball. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) At the Tejas Chocolate Craftory, a sign touting the French onion brisket soup was right in front of me at the order counter. That dish was also the first thing on the menu that caught my eye during a recent visit of the Posse to the Tomball joint, ranked one of the best in Texas. “Gotta order that,” I told my Posse mates earlier, as we reviewed all the offerings. But despite my resolve — and…
 - 03/24/2018
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Product review: Booze Dogs liquor infused bratwurst

Booze Dogs are bratwurst infused with bourbon, rum or gin. (Courtesy photo) To answer the big question first, yes, Booze Dogs — Man’s Best Brat — are infused with real booze. Bourbon, gin and rum. “The alcohol cooks off,” says Joe McGowen, who spent seven years developing the specialty bratwursts before getting USDA approval and beginning sales last summer. McGowen calls the alcohol level in his brats “perfect proof,” meaning anyone of any age can eat them. “No one’s going to get drunk or get a buzz,” he said. McGowen said interest in his brats is growing, but he’s still…
 - 03/22/2018
BBQ-sides-01

Side dishes are better than ever at Texas BBQ joints

Sides like these from Micklethwait Craft Meats, top & middle bottom photos, and Tejas Chocolate Craftory are changing the Texas BBQ scene. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) In the early years of the Posse, we didn’t care much for barbecue side dishes. You know, the standard potato salad, coleslaw and beans that often accompany smoked meat. We even had a no-side-dish rule, meaning we almost never ordered anything but meat. When you hit a half-dozen or more joints on a weekend tour, you want to reserve all your eating space for brisket, ribs and sausage. To us then, side dishes…
 - 03/19/2018
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A year later, 2M Smokehouse hasn’t lost a step . . .It still might be the best BBQ joint in Texas

Our lunch of ribs, brisket, turkey & sausage with sides at 2M Smokehouse in San Antonio. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) When we first visited 2M Smokehouse in San Antonio last year, we wondered if the joint was turning out the best barbecue in Texas. After a recent visit, our view hasn’t changed. “I’ll flat out say it,” Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins said after our lunch of brisket, pork ribs, turkey and Serrano pepper/Oaxaca cheese sausage, “I think the food here is better than Snow’s.” Snow’s, of course, is the legendary joint in Lexington that was ranked No. 1 last…
 - 03/15/2018
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Hot Luck 2018: Bigger, but will ‘still feel incredibly small’

The Hot Luck Austin sign shines at Franklin Barbecue at the 2017 festival. (Photo ©Gary Jacobson/Texas BBQ Posse) Hot Luck, a food and music festival in Austin, is preparing for its second run in May. And in the festival business, as James Moody, one of Hot Luck’s founders, was saying, you’re supposed to lose money year one, break even year two and make money year three. Moody and Aaron Franklin, another founder, say Hot Luck broke even — broadly speaking — last year, its first. “So, you’re ahead of the game?” I asked Moody at a recent party for the…
 - 02/27/2018
brisket-cook

Shigging: New thoughts on an old BBQ topic

The Posse is always shigging. Nothing sinister, mind you, as some define the term: “stealing” barbecue secrets. We’re always looking for techniques that will make us better cooks and that we can share with readers. “To become great at anything you learn by trying, by failing and from observing those who are greater than you,” Posse member Daniel Goncalves says. We first wrote about shigging in 2011, a few months after Posse member Marshall Cooper noticed that Aaron Franklin — then operating a small trailer joint in Austin — wrapped his briskets in butcher paper for part of the cook.…
 - 02/15/2018
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An “a-ha” moment for the Austin Posse — Driving to Snow’s BBQ is faster than waiting at Franklin

Customers stand in line at 8am on a Saturday at Snow’s BBQ In Lexington. (Photo ©Gary Jacobson/Texas BBQ Posse) Eureka experiences are not uncommon in barbecue. Usually they have something to do with the food. My most recent BBQ “a-ha,” though, had nothing to do with great brisket or ribs and everything to do with time. Waiting time. Living in Austin, I just discovered, it’s actually faster to eat at Snow’s BBQ in Lexington than Franklin Barbecue in Austin, even though it involves a 100-mile roundtrip drive. My home is about three miles from Franklin and 50 miles from Snow’s,…
 - 02/07/2018
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After the fire, kids write letters of encouragement to Franklin Barbecue

Letters from Micah Barcalow’s fourth-grade class hang on the wall at Franklin Barbecue. (Photo ©Gary Jacobson/Texas BBQ Posse) Micah Barcalow teaches fourth-graders in Fort Wayne, Ind. He has never eaten at Franklin Barbecue, 1,200 miles away in Austin, Tex. But he did read Aaron Franklin’s book, Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto. Barcalow says the book and its lessons — for barbecue and life — changed him, making him more willing to try new things and learn from doing. An excellent lesson for fourth-graders, too. That’s why Barcalow has inspirational quotes from the book — “Words of Wisdom from Aaron Franklin,”…
 - 02/02/2018
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Long BBQ line good, says Posse newcomer

Franklin Barbecue owner Aaron Franklin gives Gary Jacobson a tour of his new smokehouse, which is still under renovation following their fire in August. (Photo ©Daniel Gonclaves/fotobia.com) In addition to great food, one of the best parts of a barbecue tour is the wisdom it can generate. “The line is a good thing,” Dan Maguire said, sounding like a Socrates of Smoked Meat rather than a Posse newcomer. “It lets the food settle before we eat again.” It was about 1:30 or so on a recent Saturday afternoon and we had just arrived at la Barbecue in Austin. The BBQ…
 - 01/24/2018
Franklin Barbecue

Don’t discount Amazon BBQ factor for HQ2

Customers stand in line at the world-famous Franklin Barbecue in Austin. (Photo ©Tom Fox( Yes, public transportation and a solid workforce are important, but don’t overlook the Amazon BBQ factor as the online shopping giant decides where to put its much heralded, and much sought after, second headquarters, HQ2. After reviewing the list of 20 finalists that Amazon recently released, the Posse thinks world class barbecue might just give an edge to Austin. A total of nearly 240 communities made bids to Amazon, based in Seattle. There is obviously great barbecue in the city of Austin, including Franklin Barbecue. But…
 - 01/19/2018
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Check out the top Posse Stories in 2017

Our trip to Texas Monthly Top 50 newcomer Truth Barbeque in Brenham was one of the best meals the Posse had in 2017. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) As Texas BBQ Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins observes, when Texas Monthly comes out with its Top 50 list of joints every four years, “it’s the Super Bowl of BBQ.” So, it’s no surprise that five of the 10 top Posse stories in 2017 were related to TM’s list. For this post, we’re defining top as most read. And, right at the very top, we batted .500 in our fearless barbecue predictions. Franklin…
 - 12/28/2017
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Recipe: How to cook the perfect rib roast

A finished prime rib roast sits on the grill. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) For me, nothing compares to cooking a prime rib roast on the grill. It’s a tasty cut of meat, always fun to prepare, and sometimes there can be a bit of adventure. And let’s not forget the cost. For this cook, we special ordered a four-bone, seven-pound rib roast from our neighborhood H-E-B in Austin, Tx. Price: About $85. Not a fortune, but certainly enough to keep the mind focused on proper preparation and technique, even after a glass or two of wine on a sunny…
 - 12/07/2017
la-Barbecue-07

In its new digs, Austin’s la Barbecue hasn’t lost a step

Isabelle Palumbo of Austin shows off her beef rib at la Barbecue. (Photo ©Tom Fox) The Posse has always liked — loved, actually — the food at la Barbecue. The Austin joint opened in 2012. Our first visit was the next year. And we’ve consistently ranked the place among the very best in the state. So when Posse members Chris Wilkins and Tom Fox came to Austin recently, our first stop on a Saturday morning was the new la Barbecue, which moved out of its trailer location in August and into the Quickie Pickie on East Cesar Chavez. The barbecue,…
 - 12/05/2017
Pinkertons-BBQ-pit

Words of business wisdom from Grant Pinkerton at Pinkerton’s Barbecue

Grant Pinkerton works a homemade cinder block pit he set up for fun behind Pinkerton’s Barbecue. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) As business philosophies go, the approach at Pinkerton’s Barbecue in Houston is direct and simple, the best kind. “Do a little better today than you did yesterday,” Grant Pinkerton says. “And don’t make the same mistakes twice.” That approach helped land Pinkerton on the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 list earlier this month, as well as get his place on Texas Monthly’s list of the Top 50 joints in the state earlier this year. And it keeps the young…
 - 11/24/2017
turkey

A Thanksgiving tribute to Walt and all the grill masters and pitmasters in our lives

Libby & Gunnar Jacobson at the cabin on Grindstone Island in 1991. (Editor’s note: Making a nod to Thanksgiving tradition, we’re re-running this post, first published in 2013.) With the Posse, I’ve eaten turkey at some of the best barbecue joints in Texas, including Franklin Barbecue in Austin and Stanley’s in Tyler. Their turkey breast is first rate, no question, just like their other smoked meats. But the most memorable turkey I’ve ever eaten still remains Walt Scheela’s, cooked at his cabin on Grindstone Island. The ambiance is important. One of 1,600 islands in Rainey Lake, Grindstone is located about…
 - 11/21/2017
appetizers

Holiday recipes: The Posse’s favorite side dishes

Here are 3 of the Posse’s favorite holiday side dish recipes, left to right, collard greens, twice-baked potato casserole & kale salad. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Like a good song, no barbecue feast is complete without strong accompaniment. So, just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas, here are a few of the Posse’s favorite side dishes. Sherry’s favorite twice-baked potato casserole This recipe cooks up easily for a crowd and can be prepped early, refrigerated and then baked at the last minute. Sherry Jacobson’s twice-baked potato casserole recipe. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Ingredients 5 pounds baking potatoes 1…
 - 11/20/2017
Jambo-smoker

Calling all pitmasters and grillers and cooks, Oh My!

In the realm of barbecue and grilling, proud cooks reign with smoke and fire. The proof is everywhere. Look at your neighbor with a Weber, or all the Facebook pages dedicated to barbecue and grilling. There you’ll see photo after photo of baby backs, turkey, smoked meatloaf, chicken wings, beef cheeks, brisket, rib roast, even pork belly slow smoked using walnut shells. Side dishes, too. When the Posse launched its new Web site earlier this year, we said we were going to run more items about cooking. We have. Now, it’s your turn to share some of your knowledge about…
 - 11/15/2017
Rabbi Shawel

Meet the top Kosher cop at the Dallas Kosher BBQ Championship

Rabbi David Shawel at the first Dallas Kosher BBQ Championship. (Photo ©David Duchin) Along with the food and the fun, one of the more intriguing aspects of the Dallas Kosher BBQ Championship, which makes its third annual run Sunday, Oct. 29, is how the smokers, grills, knives and other cooking utensils are kept from year to year to ensure they remain kosher. “It’s pretty neat,” said Rabbi David Shawel, the top Kosher cop at the event. “We’re dealing with a very high standard.” Kosher dietary laws, derived from the Hebrew bible, involve the food itself and the way it is…
 - 10/23/2017
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Franklin Barbecue targets first week of November for re-opening

Smokers sit in the burned out smokehouse of Austin’s Franklin Barbecue in early October. (Photo ©Gary Jacobson/Texas BBQ Posse) Call it serendipity. I stopped by Franklin Barbecue near downtown Austin this morning just to check on rebuilding progress since an August fire closed the place. And there was Aaron Franklin, red socks and all, talking barbecue to a couple in a big SUV. “They’re from Wisconsin,” Franklin told me, smiling, after he had finished. Yes, the most famous pit master in the world, even in the midst of major reconstruction, still makes time for his fans. The news from this…
 - 10/19/2017
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The state of Dallas BBQ 2017, a Posse debate

The Dallas-area barbecue scene has changed dramatically over the past six years. (Photo ©Michael Ainsworth/Texas BBQ Posse) A few years back, six to be exact, we wrote a “grim indictment” of the lack barbecue choices in Dallas. Pecan Lodge and Lockhart Smokehouse had recently opened, but, we concluded, there was a dearth of joints, especially for a city the size of Big D. Not to mention for the fourth largest metro area in the nation with more than seven million people located in the heart of barbecue country. Why? Were the chains smothering the independents? Tough city regulations? Lack of…
 - 10/17/2017

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