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Brothertons-BBQ-01

‘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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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
Whitfields-BBQ_01

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
Truth-Barbecue-brisket

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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A star is born – Zavala’s Barbecue in Grand Prairie

Joe Zavala Jr., left, and partner Drew Wright work the cutting board at Zavala’s Barbecue in downtown Grand Prairie. (Photo ©Tom Fox/Texas BBQ Posse) Newly-opened Zavala’s Barbecue had been on the Posse’s radar for the past couple of weeks, so we headed south to old downtown Grand Prairie last Saturday. The sky was deep blue and it was 70-degrees. It also just happened to be Cinco de Mayo, the making of a perfect BBQ day. Zavala’s had been open on Main Street for eight Saturdays when we visited, growing from a small catering outfit to a pop-up and eventually to…
 - 05/08/2018
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
Lewis-Barbecue-09

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
Truth-Barbecue-01

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
Corkscrew-BBQ-06a

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
Micklethwait-Craft-Meats_06

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
Pinkertons-Barbecue-33

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
Tejas-Chocolate-Craftory_03

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
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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Ode to the chopped brisket sandwich

A pound of chopped brisket, white bread, pickles & onions at Pat Gee’s Barbecue in Tyler. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Over the past year, I’ve found myself becoming more sentimental when it comes to barbecue. My earliest memories of eating Q are centered around East Texas and always involved ordering a chopped brisket sandwich, often served on  simple wax paper. As I’m exposed to more & more BBQ, I’m coming full circle and ending up where it all began. A great chopped brisket sandwich is one of the simple pleasures in life. You can eat one East Texas style, the…
 - 03/06/2018
Bodacious-BBQ-11B

Bodacious Bar-B-Q on Mobberly: Is this the best kept secret in Texas?

Jordan Jackson, owner & pitmaster, poses beside the original sign for Bodacious Bar-B-Q. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) If the original Bodacious Bar-B-Q in Longview were located in Austin, you’d be waiting several hours in line to order. Trust me. It’s still one of the best BBQ secrets in Texas, despite the joint’s No. 4 ranking by Texas Monthly. We were so impressed after our first visit in early February that we went back two weeks later. It’s a two-hour trip each way from Dallas and one well worth it if you’re seeking some of the best barbecue in the…
 - 02/21/2018
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
Snows-BBQ-02

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
Franklin-Barbecue-letters

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
Pat Gee's Barbecue-01

Coming home to Pat Gee’s Barbecue in Tyler

My dad, James Wilkins, enters Pat Gee’s Barbecue in the piney woods east of Tyler. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) What’s your barbecue home? Mine is a little clapboard BBQ joint deep in the woods outside of Tyler, where I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s. Every time I go home I try to squeeze in a visit to Pat Gee’s, my barbecue home. I’ve been going there for 40 years. Pat Gee passed away in 1999 and his wife Vida Gee continued the business until she died in 2010. The Gee children continue the family tradition today When my…
 - 01/28/2018

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