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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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Recipe: Smoked Pastrami with Smashed Baby Reds from HangryQ.com

HangryQ.com brings you another great recipe, smoked pastrami and baby red potatoes. (Photos ©Jason Shane/HangryQ.com) Here’s another great recipe and video from the good folks at HangryQ.com. This week’s recipe features smoked pastrami and baby red potatoes, a perfect combo for an upcoming football Sunday. The HangryQ team posts a new recipe and video every week, with some creative ideas for your backyard smoker or grill. You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Enjoy!  
 - 09/07/2018
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Checking in with Smoke Sessions Barbecue in Royse City

Customers order lunch on a Saturday morning at Smoke Sessions Barbecue in Royse City, east of Dallas. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) The Posse first visited Smoke Sessions Barbecue about a year ago, when Jim Rossman saw a Facebook post about a new trailer operation located in a feed store parking lot between Rockwall and Royse City, east of Dallas. Jim was impressed with the overall offerings, calling the brisket “superb” and the beef sausage “outstanding,” in his story introducing readers to DFW’s newest barbecue joint. One year later, Jim and Posse member Mike Stone joined me for a return…
 - 09/05/2018
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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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8 must-have BBQ grilling tools for you

By Tom Masters/Guest contributor Grilling is not just tossing some burgers on a grill and letting them cook. Grilling is a form of art. It’s a culinary skill that is not taken lightly by the thousands of self-proclaimed grill chefs around the world and it is something that many must work hard at for many years to perfect. It takes skill to keep a steak nice and juicy and filled with flavor or to smoke a salmon or cook veggies until they’re at the perfect texture as well as bursting with that flavor only a grill can provide. Yes, grilling…
 - 08/16/2018
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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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Here’s a great DFW barbecue destination – Flores in Whitney

Customers visit as they wait to order at Flores Barbecue. (Photo @Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) The Posse recently loaded up the truck and headed south from Dallas to Flores Barbecue, located in Whitney. Flores had been on our radar since making Texas Monthly’s Top 50 BBQ list in 2017, a big accomplishment for a trailer operation that started in the small town with a population of 2,090 in October 2016. We were not disappointed. Flores is definitely a top tier joint that’s easily accessible for anyone driving on Interstate 35 through Hillsboro. Just exit on Hwy. 22 and head west,…
 - 07/25/2018
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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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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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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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Recommended by the Posse: BBQ gift guide for Father’s Day

Father’s Day is fast approaching, do you need some gift ideas for the pitmaster in your family? Here are some recommendations from the Posse’s backyard cooks, including a couple of fun non-traditional tools to add to someone’s cooking repertoire. Happy Dad’s Day to you & yours from the Posse. 1. Texas BBQ, Small Town to Downtown, by Wyatt McSpadden Wyatt McSpadden, named by the Posse as the “Godfather of BBQ Photography,” is publishing his second book on Texas barbecue culture, coming out in late June. You can pre-order the new book from Amazon, add Wyatt’s first book Texas BBQ and…
 - 05/17/2018
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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
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The Posse heads to Oklahoma’s Chickasaw Country

Joe Wells, right, and his son Coby pose in the dining room of Smokin’ Joe’s Rib Ranch in Davis, Oklahoma. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Barbecue is like the weather: Once in a while, it’s glorious. Once in a while, it’s awful. And Oklahoma isn’t where you go to find the best of it. Earlier this month, the Texas BBQ Posse accepted an invitation from the Chickasaw Nation to visit three of south central Oklahoma’s more popular barbecue joints: • Smokin’ Joe’s Rib Ranch in Davis. • Jake’s Rib in Chickasha. • Pigskins BBQ in Ada. To be honest, our…
 - 05/10/2018
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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
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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
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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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