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BBQbooks

The best BBQ books of all time

New barbecue books appear regularly, a testament to the enduring popularity of a distinctly American food and the people who created and continue the traditions. Earlier this year, for example, I received a review copy of Texas BBQ, written by a Swede. The book was making its way to the U.S. after being published a few years ago in Sweden and the United Kingdom. Lone Star barbecue has fans everywhere. While Jonas Cramby’s book is a serviceable take on the Texas barbecue phenomenon, it’s not what we’re looking for in this post. With the help of other Posse members, we…
 - 09/28/2017
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Why do we have nicknames for BBQ pits?

Owner & pitmaster Grant Pinkerton poses with his matching Klose pits “Waylon” & “Willie” at Pinkerton’s BBQ. We met “Waylon” and “Willie” recently at Pinkerton’s Barbecue in Houston. “You know how to tell the difference?” Grant Pinkerton asked, setting up a punchline about his two big Klose pits. “Willie is always smoking,” Pinkerton said. Why do we have nicknames for BBQ pits and other machines we love? A few years ago, The Atlantic magazine tackled that question and basically determined that we apply human characteristics — names — to machines because it makes us think the machines work for us. Maybe.…
 - 07/05/2017
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ThermoWorks Smoke performs flawlessly

The ThermoWorks Smoke dual-channel thermometer comes with two probes, one for meat and one for air. I’ll admit, I’m the Posse rookie when it comes to smoking meat. I bought a Weber Smokey Mountain cooker about two months ago and I’ve used it half a dozen times, mostly with success. I’m also a technology writer and gadget reviewer, so every time I take on a new hobby, like smoking meat, I take the opportunity to immerse myself in whatever new and exciting gadgets go along with it. I know temperature is important, so I jumped into my first cook using…
 - 05/24/2017
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An unusual smoker and some BBQ bling at North Main in Euless

North Main BBQ owner Ray Green and his infamous armadillo smoker. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves/Fotobia.com) Over the years, the Posse has run into some unusual smokers on the barbecue trail, such as Big Baby, used by pitmaster Jeremiah “Baby J” McKenzie. Saturday we saw another: A 2,200-pound armadillo at North Main BBQ in Euless. Logs go in the mouth and smoke comes out the tail. This smoker is anatomically correct, right down to its brass balls, says owner Ray Green. “We made him for the Texas Sesquicentennial so he’s in his 28th year,” Green said. March 2, Texas Independence Day, is…
 - 02/11/2014
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Success brings a new smoker to Pecan Lodge in Dallas, say hello to “Big Rick”

Pitmaster Justin Fourton shows off his new smoker Big Rick at Pecan Lodge. (Photo ©Philip Lamb) Posse member Phil Lamb checks in with Pecan Lodge pitmaster Justin Fourton at Texas Monthly’s “Behind the Pit Dinner” event on Wednesday night.  Phil writes: We’ve known for a while that Pecan Lodge offers some of the best smoked meats around, but its status as an elite BBQ joint was solidified when it was awarded a tie for the No. 2 spot on Texas Monthly’s “Top 50” BBQ list. Now the lines at Pecan Lodge, which were already plenty long, frequently require “Lovers of…
 - 07/19/2013
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No photos allowed, but La Barbecue’s John Lewis talks about his new convection smoker

La Barbecue pitmaster John Lewis and his new brisket pit. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) In Texas barbecue, competitive secrets are valuable. And a photograph, apparently, is worth much, much more than a few lousy words in a blog. No pictures. No pictures, La Barbecue pitmaster John Lewis kept repeating as he gave us a tour of his new pit during our recent tour of the best joints in Austin. Lewis claims he has built, with the help of his father, the world’s first offset convection cooker that operates without any mechanical assists, such as fans or blowers. Offset refers…
 - 04/19/2013
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Lockhart Smokehouse owner wants to add another pit to keep up with demand at his Oak Cliff joint

Our Shiner Platter lunch at Lockhart Smokehouse. Yes, it was a good as it looks. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins) During an anything-but-light lunch Thursday at Lockhart Smokehouse in Dallas, owner Jeff Bergus said business has been so strong — up more than 25 percent this year — that he’s thinking of adding a second pit to the big Bewley that the joint has used since opening in early 2011. Where would it go? Bergus said he wasn’t sure, but pointed out that there is a small, vacant storefront adjacent to the back of his place, which would be one possibility. Lockhart…
 - 04/12/2013
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Here’s your chance to buy another piece of Texas BBQ history

The original brick smoker at Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, built in 1959. (Photo © Philip Lamb) A couple of weeks ago we wrote about a chance to buy a piece of Texas BBQ history – the original catering smoker rig at Snow’s BBQ in Lexington. Here’s a slightly less expensive opportunity to buy another item representing the best in Texas BBQ. You may have heard about the fire that recently destroyed the original brick pit at Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor. The pit, which was built in 1959, was a total loss after back-to-back pit fires over the weekend…
 - 03/15/2013
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No, this isn’t another rant against gas-fired bbq

First off, Johnsonville’s Big Taste Grill, pictured above, uses propane. Don’t even think about wood…or charcoal. But doesn’t that machine look cool! The semi-tractor-hauled cooker weighs 53,000 pounds, is 65 feet long, 20 feet high and 6 feet in diameter, according to materials sent to us by Johnsonville, the sausage company. A dozen cooks can grill 750 brats at a time. The lid alone weighs 6,000 pounds and is operated by a hydraulic system. If you want to check out the grill, which has traveled to charity events throughout North America since 1995, it will be in Burleson July 21…
 - 07/14/2011
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We read a label on a Cookshack smoker oven — this ain’t real Texas BBQ, folks

Normally, we don’t like piling on. But some opportunities can’t be resisted, especially when it involves a topic important to us: real wood-fired barbecue. A couple months ago, we got a good debate going here about wood vs. gas, and even ran highlights of a Southern Pride recipe for Texas-style brisket that we thought supported our point of view. Now, our attention turns to commercial pellet machines. Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper found the above photo of labels attached to a Fast Eddy’s by Cookshack Model FEC100 “smoker oven.” The company says on its Web site that the machine is “100%…
 - 06/16/2011
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Checking out the smokers at the Smokin’ Possum Cookoff

One of the coolest things at a BBQ cookoff is the opportunity to check out everyone’s smokers and cook setup. Here’s a quick tour of some of the teams the Posse is competing against here at Possum Hollow Camp near Graham.         Photos by Chris Wilkins
 - 05/24/2011
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Marshall Cooper explains the temperature variances of his competition-tuned Jambo

When the temperature gauge says 250 degrees, that’s the grate temp for the center third of the pit, Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper says, based on three months of test cooks. The left third of the cooking chamber, away from the firebox, is 10 degrees cooler, and the right third, nearest the firebox, is 25 degrees warmer, perfect for chicken and pork butt. Cooper fired the pit at 6:30 p.m. with three 22-inch hickory logs and has added a log an hour. It’s 2:30 a.m. and the gauge is a steady 250. “This cook is going damn good,” Cooper said, sitting…
 - 05/15/2011
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Marshall Cooper takes his new Jambo J-3 pit for a test ride

Texas BBQ Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper finally got his new Jambo J-3 pit on Thursday, after being delayed by the ice storms. In typical Marshall fashion, there was a fire going almost as soon as the J-3 was parked in the driveway. Marshall has been smoking meats for over 25 years and keeps intricate notes and meat maps from all his cooks. Here are some notes from the initial cook: Friday, 2/11 at 11:12 pm “I’ve staggered about 58 pounds of meat onto the pit since 1:30 pm today. Fire management is easier than you would believe. The desired pit…
 - 02/12/2011

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