Central Texas BBQ Joints

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Big expansion for Hays County Bar-B-Que

The pits burn 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at Hays County Bar-B-Que in San Marcos. Jessie Miranda, the general manager at Hays County Bar-B-Que & Catering in San Marcos, is old school. The joint doesn’t use temperature gauges to judge the doneness of its briskets. It’s all about how the meat looks and feels to the touch. “The only thing we probe is poultry, sausage and sometimes a pork chop,” he said. Miranda is also old school in his approach to competition: Bring it on. “We got room to go,” he said. “There’s plenty business for everybody.…
 - 05/25/2017

The birth of the Posse during a lightning tour of Central Texas' best BBQ joints

Snow's BBQ on a foggy Saturday morning in Nov. 2009, this was the Posse's first of many trips to the BBQ mecca. Editors note: We thought it would be fun to republish the story from our first BBQ pilgrimage to Central Texas in November 2009. What began as a simple roadtrip for six friends became a life-changing experience for us all, giving birth to the Texas BBQ Posse. Once we tasted that Snow's brisket for the first time, nothing related to BBQ would ever be the same. Here's our story... By Gary Jacobson In thick fog on a Saturday morning, we…
 - 05/07/2017

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

Lines, lines, everywhere we go there are BBQ lines

Long lines at Franklin BBQ in Austin, top, and Pecan Lodge in Dallas. (Photos © Daniel Goncalves) Aaron Franklin has made it cool to stand in a long line for barbecue. That has been the norm at his joint in Austin going back to its trailer days in 2009. Now, the phenomenon appears to be spreading, as we discovered on our recent Best of Texas BBQ Tour. When we left Stanley's Famous Pit Bar-B-Que in Tyler about noon last Friday, three dozen people were in line and more appeared to be walking down the sidewalk to join the queue. This…
 - 02/13/2013

Snow's brisket is only meat to score a perfect 10 on Posse's Best of Texas BBQ Tour

Our perfect 10 brisket from Snow's BBQ in Lexington. (Photo by Tom Fox/DMN) During our recent Best of Texas BBQ Tour, we traveled nearly 700 miles over three days and tasted brisket, pork ribs and sausage at 10 top places in the state. Each meat was scored on a scale of 1 to 10 (best) by 6 members of Texas BBQ Posse. Just one received a perfect score: the brisket at Snow's BBQ in Lexington. "The taste almost explodes in your mouth," said Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins as he savored a bite. In 2008, Texas Monthly crowned Snow's, which is…
 - 02/11/2013

Fargo's BBQ - New digs, same great BBQ

Fargo's BBQ co-owners Belender Wells & Alan Caldwell in front of their new sign on 720 N. Texas in Bryan. We dropped in on Fargo's BBQ's new location in Bryan as our third of 10 stops of the Top 5 BBQ Tour. They were in their old location five blocks north for 13 years, which didn't have a dining room. Co-owner Alan Caldwell says the move went smoothly, including moving the original brick pit from the old location, which got broken but was put back together with a little masonry work. Their new location is a former Popeye's Chicken and…
 - 02/09/2013

Miller's Smokehouse in Belton might be the best BBQ north of Austin

Brisket sits on the pit at Miller's Smokehouse Every now and then you hit the motherlode on the Texas BBQ trail. For every 20 mediocre BBQ joints, there's one good one. For every 50 good ones, there's one great one. You can add Miller's Smokehouse in Belton to the list of great ones. We first caught wind of Miller's last week during BBQ Snob Daniel Vaughn's trip to south Texas. Miller's has been overshadowed in Belton by the better known Schoepf's BBQ, which I have always heard is average fare. Daniel, who is knee deep in his book project on the…
 - 03/28/2012

John Mueller challenges Aaron Franklin to one-on-one cookoff

UPDATE: I phoned Aaron Franklin earlier today and he quickly agreed to do the showdown with the only hesitation being his busy upcoming agenda. We planned to talk again soon about the details and coordinate a date that works for everyone. We talked how the showdown will be a very positive spirited thing, something that would be really be cool and fun to do, with proceeds donated to charity. Afterwards John Mueller replied via text, "it sounds cool and think it would be best to wait til summer because thru June there is something every week". We are planning on…
 - 03/07/2012

See the photos - Mama & Papa B's Bar-B-Q in Waco

Here's another great set of photos from my Dallas Morning News colleague Guy Reynolds. Guy is a photojournalist and photo editor at the News, as well as an early member of the Posse. Whenever Guy shoots a barbecue joint for the Posse blog, I always really look forward to seeing the images. He's an artist with a camera and has been exhibited in numerous galleries over the past years. I have several of his BBQ photos framed and hanging on the walls of my house. Last week Guy was looking for a place to eat in Waco. I steered him toward…
 - 03/05/2012

Austin BBQ mini tour - It just keeps getting better

Texas BBQ Posse member Jim Rossman reports in from a quick BBQ run to Austin yesterday. You have to ask the question. Is the epicenter of the BBQ universe shifting north up Hwy. 183 from Lockhart to Austin? Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper, his son Mark and I set out for Austin at 7:30 a.m. Our day’s goal was a return trip to JMueller’s BBQ and a visit to one Austin’s newest places – Stiles Switch BBQ and Brew. Our first stop was to pick up John Lewis and his fiancee Maureen. John is a fantastic competition pitmaster who also works…
 - 02/17/2012

Casting call for the Aaron Franklin-John Mueller BBQ movie

Just finished the February Texas Monthly cover story about Aaron Franklin and John Mueller and it is a very nice read. Posse member Mike Gagne even thinks the tale of the novice pitmaster (Franklin) and the troubled master (Mueller) would make a great movie. Tobey Maguire as Franklin? Sean Penn as Mueller? One pivotal scene in any movie would certainly have to be when Franklin had his barbecue epiphany at Louie Mueller Barbecue in 2002. "I think I might have cried a little bit," Franklin told Texas Monthly of his reaction after his first taste of Mueller's brisket. When the…
 - 02/01/2012

The Barbecue Chronicles: Tales from the Speedtrap BBQ Tour

Here's Posse member Bruce Tomaso's take on our recent Speedtrap BBQ Tour. Bruce joined Marshall Cooper, Jim Rossman and me on a 500-plus mile trek that began at Snow's BBQ, our favorite place to start every tour in central Texas. Here are some stories from one of our best BBQ journeys yet..... Last Friday night, a friend and I went to see Tool. My friend, a student at Texas Christian University, doesn’t have a car, so I picked him up. I got off work and headed west on Interstate 30 from downtown Dallas to the TCU campus in Fort Worth.…
 - 01/26/2012

The Speedtrap BBQ Tour - an early look

Wheels up this morning at 6:30 a.m. from Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper's driveway in North Dallas. Our first destination was breakfast at Snow's BBQ in Lexington, which has become a ritual for us when starting a tour in central Texas. To be followed by four more joints and 500-plus miles on the Texas BBQ Trail. Anticipation was building as we approached the Lexington city limits. The speed limit dropped from 65 to 55mph, but no one noticed. We were talking Snow's and what we would order for breakfast. No one except one of Lexington's finest, running radar less than a…
 - 01/22/2012

First visit to JMueller BBQ in Austin

Last week, I joined Posse members Marshall Cooper and Jim Rossman for a quick roadtrip to Austin. Marshall was returning a portable smoker to Franklin Barbecue pitmaster John Lewis, who he has been helping on the national BBQ cookoff competition circuit. It was a great excuse to grab a bite at both Franklin and the new JMueller BBQ while we were down there. JMueller BBQ was opened in October by John Mueller, grandson of legendary BBQ master Louie Mueller of Taylor. Much has already been written about the joint, including a New York Times story published before he even opened…
 - 12/19/2011

Road trip to Llano - Laird's vs. Cooper's BBQ challenge

During a recent trip to Fredericksburg with my wife Michele, I made sure the backroads route from Dallas included driving through Llano. During the two years the Posse has been visiting and blogging about BBQ, few joints have stirred up as much debate as Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que in Llano. We've gotten emails proclaiming it as the best in Texas, while others labeled Cooper's as an overrated stop for BBQ tourists. Posse member Michael Hamtil & his wife Lara Solt did extensive comparisons between Cooper's and Laird's Bar-B-Q, also in Llano, for their wedding catering a couple of years…
 - 09/06/2011

See the latest & greatest photos of Franklin Barbecue in Austin

My Dallas Morning News colleague Guy Reynolds made a couple of trips to Austin to shoot photos for a page one story on Franklin Barbecue, which has attained cult status in an amazingly short length of time. Click here to see the slideshow of Guy's work, behind-the-scenes photos of Aaron Franklin & crew from the early hours working the pits to closing time, and everything in between. Above is a photo of Aaron and wife Stacy relaxing in front of the little turquoise trailer that started it all. Guy describes how he shot the Franklin portrait on his facebook page,…
 - 06/09/2011

Report from the new Franklin Barbecue: It's still the same ol' amazing BBQ

Texas BBQ Posse member Phil Lamb checks in after a visit to Franklin Barbecue's new location at 900 E. 11th in Austin. Franklin's former home, the little blue trailer at Concordia & I-35, quickly became a Texas BBQ legend. Can pitmaster Aaron Franklin continue to produce what some call the best brisket in Texas at his new sit down restaurant? That's the million dollar question among Texas BBQ followers. Phil writes: I had another great BBQ lunch at Franklin this afternoon. My uncle and I did 1 lb. brisket (lean), 1 lb. brisket (fatty), 2 lbs ribs and 2 sausage…
 - 04/30/2011

Chisholm Trail Bar-B-Q in Lockhart: Where the locals eat

Finishing our I-10 BBQ roadtrip in Lockhart was never the plan. We pulled away from our fourth stop, Family Tradition Bar-B-Q in Waelder, without a destination in mind. Jeff and I headed west on Hwy. 90 toward Luling, where we had started the day with a 10:30 am BBQ breakfast at City Market. Passing through town we saw the sign: Lockhart - 17 miles. You gotta do what you gotta do. We headed north up Hwy. 183 and were in Lockhart in no time. Carl Ellis, a former Dallas Morning News sports editor who now lives in Lockhart, had told…
 - 04/26/2011

Novosad BBQ & Sausage Market: The I-10 BBQ adventure continues

After lunch at Gonzales Food Market, we headed east on Hwy. 90. The next official stop was going to be City Market in Schulenburg, but we hoped to find a joint or two on the 41 mile drive over. We talked about having a cold Shiner beer in the town of Shiner, of course. This was the first decent sized town on the route, but we came up empty. The brewery was closed and we didn't find a bar open. Onward to Hallettsville and Novosad BBQ & Sausage Market, a joint I had heard of but didn't know much about.…
 - 04/13/2011

Lady Gaga, Texas BBQ and Aaron Franklin

If you can work Lady Gaga into a conversation about Texas barbecue, then it's probably going to be a pretty good conversation. That was true Thursday morning when I stopped by Aaron Franklin's new place in Austin on my way back to Dallas. It was just after 9 a.m., still about two hours until he opened for business, so Franklin had a few minutes to show me around. "What are you doing in town?" he asked. I explained that I had gone to the Lady Gaga concert the night before at the Erwin Center. (Terrific show, btw.) One of her…
 - 04/08/2011

Family Tradition Bar-B-Q: New stop on the central Texas BBQ trail

UPDATE: This joint closed in October 2011. The Fogle family hopes to open a joint near Lake McQueeney sometime in Spring 2012. An unexpected stop was awaiting us as we threaded our way on the blue highways around the Interstate 10 corridor looking for the next BBQ joint to visit. We had planned a fourth stop at Schulenburg City Market, but they were closed when we got there. We were on the prowl for a replacement. In the tiny town of Waelder, population a little over 900, we stumbled into the newly opened Family Tradition Bar-B-Q. Waelder is north of…
 - 04/05/2011

City Market in Luling: First stop on the I-10 BBQ roadtrip

I was joined by an old friend last weekend on a quick five-stop BBQ roadtrip. Sports photographer extraordinaire Jeff Haynes, who was in San Antonio covering the NCAA basketball regionals for Reuters, had a down day on Saturday so we headed east on Interstate 10. The original plan was to hit three city markets and see what we found in between. All three joints were threaded together by I-10 between San Antonio and Houston. They had all received five stars from our friend Daniel Vaughn, aka the BBQ Snob, so I knew it would be a tasty journey. We planned…
 - 04/01/2011

On the road: The Steve Miller Band makes a BBQ stop in Austin

Texas BBQ Posse member and Dallas Morning News staff photographer David Woo was on the road last week with the Steve Miller Band, a group he has been photographing for 20 years. Steve, who moved to Dallas when he was 7 years old, is a huge fan of Texas BBQ and always looking for the greatest que the state has to offer. David accompanied the Posse on our recent anniversary tour to central Texas and discovered the brisket at Franklin Barbecue and the ribs and sides at Lamberts Downtown Barbecue, both in Austin. He started planning a BBQ feast for…
 - 03/05/2011

Old School BBQ & Grill: East Austin ‘Que joint delivers solid brisket, fantastic burger

Here's a report on Old School BBQ & Grill from the Jacobson branch of the Texas BBQ Posse, including Gary, Sherry, Libby and Gunnar Jacobson and Mike Gagne. They visited Old School last Sunday and share this report: Among the newfangled trailer eats of Austin, fine smoked meats can be found at Old School BBQ & Grill, operating out of an old yellow school bus at East 6th and Waller streets. The crew is often mobile. Check online on their website, Twitter feed or Facebook page to see their particular whereabouts. Trey Cook, the pit master this day, chatted us…
 - 02/19/2011

The Barbecue Chronicles: Central Texas 5-Star BBQ Tour, 8 joints in 26 hours

Some of us didn’t know what good smoked brisket was until we ate at Snow’s during our first Barbecue Posse tour a year ago. Since then, the Lexington place has been our unanimous standard. Nothing compared. But after a recent two-day, 555-mile “anniversary” tour to Central Texas, there’s a new favorite for several of us: Franklin Barbecue, a trailer joint at 34th street and I-35 in Austin. Over a 26-hour period, we ate at eight places, including lunch at Franklin and breakfast at Snow’s BBQ the next morning. Tour organizer Chris Wilkins, a photo editor at The Dallas Morning News,…
 - 01/13/2011

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