La Barbecue

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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
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Have the young guns of Texas BBQ won the revolution?

Left to right: Esaul Ramos & Joe Melig of 2M Smokehouse, Leonard Botello of Truth Barbeque and Grant Pinkerton of Pinkerton’s BBQ. (Photos ©Michael Ainsworth & Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Your response to the above question probably depends upon personal taste. Evolving personal taste. At first glance, the answer appears to be a loud YES! The young guns of Texas BBQ have, indeed, taken over from the traditional joints. Look no further than the makeup of Texas Monthly’s recent Top 10 places in the state. Seven of them have either started or reopened operations since 2011, five since 2013. Only…
 - 07/25/2017
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Top 10 brisket joints for Texas Monthly

Briskets on the smoker at 2M Smokehouse in San Antonio. With all the hullabaloo over the online release of Texas Monthly’s Top 50 barbecue joints early this week, the print edition of the magazine still contained a nice surprise when it arrived Thursday: a list of the top 10 brisket joints in Texas. While seven of them are also among TM’s overall Top 10, three are not, including 2M Smokehouse in San Antonio. Regular readers will remember that Chris Wilkins and I raved about 2M after our first visit there earlier this year. I even argued that it might be the…
 - 05/28/2017
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The Posse returns to Central Texas and not a bad bite of barbecue was had

The Texas BBQ Posse returns to Snow’s BBQ in Lexington. (L-R) Mark Vamos, Jim Rossman, Bruce Tomaso, Chris Wilkins, Michael Ainsworth, Gary Jacobson, Daniel Goncalves & Tom Fox. (Photo ©Tom Fox) We weren’t on the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston. And it wasn’t snowing. Still, James Taylor would have liked the scene. In the early morning sun, a white frosting covered the fields along the highway from Austin to Lexington, Texas. Ice crystals glistened, almost as if they made their own light. It was a nice way to begin a barbecue tour, especially since we were headed to Snow’s BBQ,…
 - 02/04/2016
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More photos from the Return to Austin BBQ Tour

Tending the late-night pits at Freedmen’s Bar, Austin. (Photo ©Tom Fox) One of the great rewards after a Texas BBQ tour is looking back on our trip through the eyes of Posse member Tom Fox.  We’ve written about Tom’s amazing work before, he’s a staff photographer at The Dallas Morning News and a 2006 Pulitzer Prize winner for his work on the Morning News photo team coverage of Hurricane Katrina. We consider Tom to be one of the top visual storytellers documenting the Texas BBQ trail. Along with our friend Wyatt McSpadden, the godfather of Texas BBQ photography, Tom brings the unique beauty…
 - 02/02/2016
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On an eating pilgrimage to Austin, a Californian meets Aaron Franklin and the Posse, and tastes ‘the love’ of Texas BBQ

Steven Hecht visits with La Barbecue pitmaster Dylan Taylor, 21, who was trained by the legendary John Lewis. (Photo ©Tom Fox) Posse Note: During our barbecue tour of Central Texas last weekend, we met Steven Hecht, born in Texas who now lives in California. He said that he’s a regular reader of this blog and he used it to plan his Texas BBQ tour. Of course, after learning that, we asked him to write about his experience. Here is his story: I just returned from my first BBQ Pilgrimage to Austin, Texas and it was a life-changing experience. My name…
 - 01/30/2016
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More evidence that Lockhart has lost its barbecue magic

Smitty’s Market oak wood pile & the Caldwell County courthouse. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) On our way back to Dallas from our recent Houston-area barbecue tour, all 6 Posse members on the trip listed their top 5 joints in the state, in no particular order. Specific criteria probably varied from person to person, but these would be places we’d drive across the state to eat at or recommend to good friends that they do the same. Since then, we’ve been asked to run each person’s top 5. Those lists are below. Three joints mentioned by each of us: Killen’s…
 - 02/01/2015
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Killen’s in Pearland might just be the best BBQ joint in Texas

Customers wait for the 11am opening of Killen’s BBQ in Pearland on Saturday morning. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Even before we had finished eating at Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland on Saturday, the great debate began. “When you factor everything in, this is the best barbecue place in Texas,” declared Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins. We ate brisket, pork ribs, pork belly, beef ribs, turkey and sausage. Everything was excellent — moist, flavorful and nicely cooked. On a scouting mission in May, Posse member Jim Rossman called the food at Killen’s, which opened in a permanent location early this year, “spectacular.”…
 - 06/29/2014
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Soft on gassers? Not so says Posse member Bruce Tomaso…..

Snow’s BBQ pit boss Tootsie Tomanetz tends the pits as the sun rises over Lexington. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) By Bruce Tomaso/Texas BBQ Posse Gary Jacobson is a friend of mine. He’s a gifted writer, an extraordinary journalist with a sharp wit and a sharper mind. And he knows his barbecue. He’s been riding with the Posse longer than just about any of us. So it pains me to say this: On the subject of gas-fired smokers, Gary Jacobson is full of gas. A few days ago, he wrote on this blog that “perhaps we have mellowed a bit”…
 - 03/01/2014
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Hutchins BBQ in McKinney can hang with Austin’s best and it’s open all day

(L-R) Jim Rossman, Kathy and Steve Hunt, Gary Jacobson, Michael Landauer, Bruce Tomaso and Gary Barber at Hutchins BBQ. (Photo by Tom Fox) For quality, the barbecue benchmarks are clear for Tim Hutchins, owner of Hutchins BBQ in McKinney. “We’re shooting for those guys in Austin,” Hutchins said during the Posse’s recent visit to his joint. He said he and his crew regularly travel to the new BBQ Capital of Texas to sample the fare at places like Franklin BBQ, la Barbecue and John Mueller Meat Co. They also visit Pecan Lodge in Dallas. But Hutchins is even more ambitious.…
 - 02/28/2014
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Is the Posse going soft on gassers?

Massive wood pile outside Smitty’s Market in downtown Lockhart. (Photo by Jeff Haynes) In the 4-year history of this blog, no topic has incited more passion than the wood-fired versus gas-fired smoker debate. The Posse has been pro-wood. All wood. Almost to an extreme. We once called out Texas Monthly for including gas-fired joints on its Top 50 list. But perhaps we have mellowed a bit as at least one of us edges ever closer to Medicare eligibility. On our recent Mid-Cities mini-tour, we liked the food at Eddie Deen Crossroads Smokehouse in Arlington even though the ribs and chicken…
 - 02/20/2014
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Zip Code 78702 — East Austin — the center of the Texas BBQ universe

Tom Micklethwait, pitmaster & owner of Micklethwait Craft Meats. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) Last spring we wrote that Austin had replaced Lockhart as the new barbecue capital of Texas. Now, with La Barbecue moving east of I-35, we’re prepared to be even more specific. East Austin, specifically Zip Code 78702, is the undisputed center of the Texas barbecue universe. La Barbecue, with pit boss John Lewis, opens this week in its new location at the corner of East 6th Street and Waller. According to Google, that puts La Barbecue about a half-mile (a 9-minute walk) from Franklin Barbecue on East…
 - 12/03/2013
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Making the most of the ‘golden hour’ at Texas Monthly’s BBQ Fest

Pitmaster Justin Fourton of Pecan Lodge in Dallas shows off his brisket at the 2013 Texas Monthly BBQ Festival. Note: Posse members Libby and Mike Gagne, who live in Austin, attended Sunday’s Texas Monthly BBQ Festival (TMBBQ Fest 2013), which brings together many of the best joints in the state. Libby and Mike were guests of Phil Winters of FoodyDirect, an Internet food site that advertises on this blog. Here is Libby’s report from the event. We queued up at about 11 a.m. and were admitted to the festival at noon, and enjoyed a “Golden Hour” of reduced lines and…
 - 11/06/2013
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Slow Bone Update: Less smoke is a good thing

Brisket, ribs and cilantro sausage from The Slow Bone. (Photo by Jim Rossman) I stopped by The Slow Bone for lunch today and I was really happy with what I found on my tray. I started out with a two meat plate of moist brisket and ribs, but owner Jack Perkins told me he’s been tweaking the recipe and grind of the cilantro sausage, so I adjusted to a three meat plate. I have to say my first bite of brisket made me close my eyes, stop chewing and savor. The texture was right on and the fat was perfectly…
 - 07/22/2013
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The Barbecue Chronicles: Austin is the new Lockhart BBQ Tour

       The Texas BBQ Posse dives into a spread of sausage, brisket, ribs and turkey at La Barbecue in Austin. (Photo by Tom Fox/DMN) Story by Gary Jacobson It would be easy to get carried away by what’s happening in Austin barbecue. Amid a fertile startup environment, young pitmasters are creating a smoked-meat renaissance, using only wood-fired pits and adopting old-school ways to cook for a new generation. A case could even be made that Austin has replaced Lockhart as the capital of Texas barbecue. We’ll leave that big-think stuff for another time. This is a story about…
 - 05/07/2013
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Today in the Dallas Morning News: The BBQ Posse’s Austin BBQ Tour

Here’s a look at our Austin BBQ Tour story in today’s Dallas Morning News travel section. This is the Posse’s second installment from the Texas BBQ trail in the DMN this year. Our Best of Texas BBQ project was published in early March. The tour grew out of a growing suspicion that Austin might be quickly replacing Lockhart as the state’s barbecue capital. And nothing we experienced on that day disproved the theory, every stop on the tour was nothing short of sensational. Click here to see the story, slideshow and video links on the DMN Travel section of dallasnews.com. Also, you can join us…
 - 04/28/2013
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See the photos from the Posse’s Austin BBQ Tour – The Fantastic Mr. Fox strikes again

Dallas Morning News staff photographer Tom Fox at work on the Austin BBQ Tour. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) When you’re on the road with the Texas BBQ Posse, it’s kind of like being in the middle of a media storm. The Posse is mainly made up of Dallas Morning News writers, editors, photojournalists and their friends. Yes, we have been accused before of being the BBQ paparazzi. On the recent Austin BBQ Tour we had nine journalists and artists in the group, including five photographers. One of those was award-winning DMN staff photographer Tom Fox. Tom has captured numerous…
 - 04/27/2013
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The Posse’s Austin BBQ Tour: Is Austin poised to overtake Lockhart as the barbecue capital of Texas?

Stops on the Austin BBQ Tour, clockwise from top left: John Mueller Meat Co., Franklin Barbecue, La Barbecue and Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew. (Photos by Tom Fox/DMN) The Dallas Morning News just posted Gary Jacobson’s story on our recent Austin BBQ Tour on both dallasnews.com and the DMN iPad app. The print story will appear on the in the newspaper’s travel section on Sunday. This may have been the best single day of barbecue we’ve ever had on tour, sampling four meats from each joint visited. As a collective group, the brisket, ribs, sausage and turkey from La Barbecue,…
 - 04/27/2013
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Even in Atlanta, they love Texas barbecue and follow the Posse

       Snow’s BBQ pit boss Tootsie Tomanetz tends the pits as the sun rises over Lexington. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins) A recent item posted on Eat It, Atlanta involves a tour of Texas barbecue joints inspired by the Posse, according to its author, who goes by the moniker The Legend. A group of four barbecue fans — two hailing from Atlanta, one from Boston and one from Texas — visited nine joints in 48 hours and scored the brisket and sausage at each,  just as we did on our recent Best of Texas tour. The group’s verdict: Snow’s BBQ in…
 - 04/25/2013
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Turkey makes a move to join the royal family of Texas barbecue meats

The turkey breast at Franklin Barbecue was amazing. (Photo by Tom Fox/DMN) On Posse tours, we’ve noticed that more joints are adding smoked turkey breast to their menus, so we added it to our standard order during our recent Best of Austin barbecue tour. Brisket, pork ribs, sausage… and turkey. The holy trinity — plus one — of Texas barbecue. All four places we visited had turkey. Mainly, it was good. The best we had was at Franklin Barbecue. It was worth the wait in line just to see the meat cutter take the turkey breast from its butter bath,…
 - 04/24/2013
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Mueller ties run deep in BBQ joints on the Posse’s Best of Austin Tour

A portrait of the late Bobby Mueller, shot by daughter LeAnn, watches over La Barbecue. (Photo by Tom Fox/DMN) Follow the roots of most of the joints on our recent Best of Austin tour and they trace back, directly or indirectly, to Texas legend Louie Mueller and his place in Taylor. LeAnn and John Mueller,  grand children of Louie and children of Bobby, are the most direct links. LeAnn owns La Barbecue. John is the pitmaster at John Mueller Meat Co. They used to work together but then there was that infamous blow up. Aaron Franklin, owner of Franklin Barbecue,…
 - 04/23/2013
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BBQ is….. A photo project by Posse member Daniel Goncalves

Lance Kirkpatrick, pitmaster at Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves) Here’s a sneak peek at the beginning of an extraordinary photo project by Dallas-based editorial and commercial photographer Daniel Goncalves. As most of you know by now, the Posse is a pretty creative group, made up of Dallas Morning News photojournalists, writers, editors and their friends. With this project, Daniel has raised the creative bar for the Posse. Daniel writes about the concept: I love people as much as I love food. The Posse has introduced me to great people and incredible BBQ. While on tour I’ve been…
 - 04/22/2013
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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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Sneak peek at our Austin BBQ Tour

Lunch no. 1 at Franklin Barbecue. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse) The Posse was wheels up from Dallas early this morning to check out the growing Austin barbecue scene, which we believe could be overtaking Lockhart as the capital of Texas BBQ. This trip was a chance to test that theory. Stay tuned to the Texas BBQ Posse blog for stories and snippets from the trip. Our reporting will culminate at the end of April with a story in The Dallas Morning News and multimedia on dallasnews.com. Here’s the trip itinerary: Austin BBQ Tour 6:30am: Leave Dallas 9:30am: Franklin Barbecue,…
 - 04/17/2013
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Hipster pitmasters? Young guns of BBQ? Resurgence of Texas tradition? There’s a BBQ revolution happening and we don’t know what to call it

Pecan Lodge pitmaster Justin Fourton and his infamous “Slim Pickins” sign. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves) As Posse member Jim Rossman and I ate at Pecan Lunch Thursday, we talked about how to characterize what’s happening now in Texas barbecue. Something big is going on and it needs a name. We had just heard BBQ Snob and new Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn call it a “resurgence.” He referred to young pitmasters, like Justin Fourton at Pecan Lodge, adopting the old school ways and using only wood to cook for a new generation of barbecue fans. (Note: To hold our place,…
 - 04/08/2013

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