Thursday, April 29, 2010

Posse favorites: Stanley's Brother-in-Law sandwich

One of the great discoveries on our recent East Texas BBQ Tour was the brother-in-law sandwich at Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q in Tyler, the first stop on our four-joint tour.

Several of us went directly for the 4-meat sampler, no sides, as a way to quickly judge the long-time barbeque joint. Fortunately, a couple of our posse members ordered and loved the brother-in-law sandwich, not your everyday BBQ sandwich.

Author David Gelin writes a great description of the infamous sandwich in his book, "BBQ Joints: Stories and Secret Recipes from the Barbeque Belt."

"STANLEY'S FAMOUS BROTHER-IN-LAW HOT LINK, BUTTERFLIED. Grill that bad boy on the flat side, then the round side. Toast a bun of your liking until lightly browned. Lay a piece of good ol' American cheese on the bottom bun and, in ascending order, place link, sauce, chopped beef brisket, sauce and top bun."

I think it's time for another road trip to Tyler, my brother-in-law is calling......

Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q, 525 S. Beckham Ave., Tyler, Texas. Open Monday - Friday 7 am-2 pm, Saturday 11 am-til the meat runs out.

(Photos by Michael Hamtil & Guy Reynolds)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pat Gee's: BBQ palace in the piney woods of East Texas

Pat Gee's Barbecue is a few miles east of Tyler, nestled under towering pine trees near the small community of Chapel Hill. Dallas Morning News writer and Texas BBQ Posse founding member Gary Jacobson set the stage for the joint perfectly in his story, "The barbecue chronicles: One day, four pit stops in East Texas."

Gary writes, "The small, wood-frame building sits on a small lot notched between pine trees and pasture. An outhouse is out back.

Inside the main room, near the front door, is a fridge. Once, it was white. Four fly swatters hang from the counter, under the drink cooler. The light bulbs are bare, and the wood framing lumber is black, coated not with paint but 50 years of smoke.

Pat died in 1999, so family members run the place now. When his son, Arthur Gee, opened the door to the pit room, smoke sifted through."

I'm lucky enough to have discovered Pats in the late 70s, when I was a high school student in Tyler. The place hasn't changed much at all over the past 30 years. The cramped seating at six-foot folding tables still encourages communion between BBQ lovers. You may be sitting next to a judge or doctor from Tyler on one side, a sharecropper from East Texas on the other. What you have in common is a deep respect for the Gee family and the barbeque that has come off their smokers for 30-plus years.

Pat Gee's Barbecue, 17547 Jamestown Rd., Tyler, 903-534-0265. Open Fri-Sun 11 am-until the meat runs out.

Photos by ©Guy Reynolds

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The BBQ Queen critiques the Ft. Worth Tour

Posse member Ahna Hubnik doesn't beat around the bush when if comes to barbeque. A country girl from Snook, Texas, she was brought up on ribs, brisket and sausage. Here's the uncensored view of the Ft. Worth BBQ Tour by our Texas BBQ Posse Queen, pictured at below right with husband Gary.

"Sadly I wasn’t very impressed with the beef at any of the stops. It’s “cowtown” for crying out loud. I guess everyone stopped trying when they perfected the ribeye.

Now the pork ribs, I can see they are giving a full effort. None were dry or overcooked. I really enjoy the taste of pork and beef, so I get angry when people cover it up with too much rub or marinade. Smoke on the other hand, that’s a mandatory accessory. But smoke should be like a good perfume, just enough to make you wonder if it was a natural occurrence and to enhance it’s natural beauty.

The ribs at Off the Bone, reminded me of summers at my grandparents. They didn’t sit in a smoker for hours, but they were still tender and had that great smoke air hanging out around them. Loved the chicken! It isn’t something I would have ordered and I thought Gary was crazy for wanting it. But it had so much flavor and wasn’t overcooked like most smoked birds are. And the coarse ground, peppery smoked sausage was great!

Longoria’s BBQ didn’t have much to offer me. I think the first bite was ruined by the think powdery rub on the ribs.

Angelo’s, I enjoyed the really cold beer and the scenery. How did it become so famous?????? I hate that tourist are directed there, I can’t believe they represent Texas BBQ. But then again some people look forward to McRib time.

Smokeys Barbeque, I liked the four meat sampler option, because then I knew I wasn’t missing anything. The sausage was pretty good, the brisket at least was tender, the chicken was like rubber. The ribs weren’t bad at all, a little sweeter than I like, but I could deal with it if it was the last rib I’d ever eat. Oh and they had pie, the strawberry buttermilk pie, pictured below, was pretty good. Pie to me is a must after BBQ, so I was glad it came at the end our our day. Next time I may bring my own coconut cream pie, just to make sure I get a good one.

And I will get my stomach into better shape before the next gathering. You would think that with all my years of training for this very day, I would have been able to put more away. I mean, I didn’t sit at Grandma’s table day after day during the holidays, eating nonstop, just to eat such a small amount. Lesson learned: a successful BBQ tour is a marathon, not a sprint. And on that subject Barber and Goose really disappointed me. They looked so pale and weak. So sad to see such young men cash out after just one stop. Maybe they were nervous about the Texas Stadium implosion."


(Photos by Ahna Hubnik, Michael Hamtil & Chris Wilkins)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Posse favorites: Frito Pie at Mac's Bar-B-Que

Between our weekly trips to the Baby Back Shak, the Texas BBQ Posse has been heading just east of Deep Ellum to Mac's Bar-B-Que, 3933 Main St. in Dallas. For some strange reason, really good barbeque isn't always easy to find in Big D, but Mac's delivers consistently well-cooked meats and good sides from their lunch menu.

Speaking of sides, the french fries cooked in soybean oil have to be among the best in DFW. Several of us have become addicted to Mac's Frito Pie, a dish not offered at most BBQ joints. They start with a layer of ranch-style beans, then pile on the chopped brisket, topped by fritos right out of the bag, then shredded cheese. You also get a hot cup of Mac's own BBQ sauce, which I use to dip my fries into. This combo alone is worth the trip to the little building just south of Baylor Hospital.

Mac's Bar-B-Que is open for lunch on Monday-Friday, 10:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.

(Photos by Chris Wilkins)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

View from a BBQ Posse newcomer

Suzi Woo, wife of Texas BBQ Posse wheelman David Woo, accompanied us on the first stop on our recent Ft. Worth BBQ Tour. She brought a unique perspective to the tour and shared it with our resident writer Gary Jacobson. Read below to see Suzi's thoughts on her first trip to Off the Bone BBQ. She's pictured above, center, as the posse interviews pitmaster and owner Eddie Brown during our tour stop.

"David has asked me to send my comments on my maiden voyage with the BBQ Posse.

While I am unable to make much of a comparison with earlier finds of the posse, I will gladly weigh –in on the one stop I made at Off the Bone. Let’s just say I’m not a true connoisseur of barbeque, Texas or otherwise, but I vote the chicken at Off the Bone the best I’ve ever eaten, hands down. It was just the right texture and smoky flavor, and not the least bit dry….which is ordinarily the characteristic I note with chicken. The sauce was superb, all whipped up by the owner’s brother fondly known as Uncle Willy.

Possibly the most pleasing part of the morning was the company, and the seriousness and depth of observation at hand. I’ve not quite seen so much discussion or documentation about a strip of meat except perhaps on the food network…..maybe the next stop? Few ladies seem partake in this special event, and I for one would find it difficult to have completed the journey and eaten four barbeque meals in a four hour period, but more power to those fierce friends of ribs….they seem to gnaw them dry!

At the end of the day, my spouse reports that I was in on the “winner” stop for the day! Maybe I’d better try this just one more time?"

(Photo by Chris Wilkins)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Longoria's BBQ: It's like family

Longoria's BBQ was ranked number three on D Magazine's Best BBQ in DFW list. The Texas BBQ Posse pulled into the gravel lot in Everman and headed to the back of the building to check out the smoker area, of course. Pitmaster David Longoria invited us in to check out the place, not even knowing we were on tour. Have to say I took an immediate liking to this place.

David showed us the finer points of his family's cooking techniques, then gave us a VIP tour of his dad's "James Dean Room" before heading to the small but comfortable dining room.

The highly anticipated beef brisket sausage did not disappoint. In fact, I think it might be even better than Louie Mueller's famous beef sausage. David also passed around some samples of his beef brisket jerky. Those two items alone are worth the drive to Everman. They even have a brisket burger, given two thumbs up by posse member Michael Hamtil.

Longoria's really captured the respect of our posse. The food was great. The service and atmosphere make this a must-visit BBQ joint. We got to meet most of the family, including founder Fred Longoria, and they treated us like family as well. Make this joint a stop on your next Fort Worth BBQ tour.

Longoria’s BBQ, 100 Christopher, Everman, 817-568-9494. Open Mon-Fri 10:30am-7pm, Sat 10:30am-4pm.

(Photos by Chris Wilkins and Ahna Hubnik)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ft. Worth tour begins at Off the Bone

Number one on D Magazine's Best of DFW BBQ list. Quite a target for the Texas BBQ Posse. We peaked early and pulled in the parking lot at 10:30am. They opened at 11am, so we gravitated toward the smoker for some BBQ 101. We were greeted by pitmaster and owner Eddie Brown and peppered him with questions as he loaded racks of ribs into the smoker.

Our BBQ posse was 21-strong when we ordered at Off the Bone, which is housed in an old Dairy Queen. The service was pretty good, around 10-15 minutes between ordering and eating. This was far better than we had heard from others who came over after the D Magazine rankings came out.

I ordered brisket and ribs, the BBQ tour standard order. If a joint can cook ribs and brisket they know what they’re doing. The brisket was average, but the ribs were quite good, cooked perfectly with a good rub. Other posse members treated me to smoked chicken and smoked sausage. Both were amazing and ranked at the top of my Off the Bone favorites. This was indeed a great start to our Fort Worth BBQ Tour.

Off the Bone BBQ, 5144 Mansfield Hwy, Forest Hill. Open Mon-Sat 11am-8pm.

Photos ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Kreuz Market - The Real Deal.....

We arrived at Kreuz Market with some preconceptions, none of which were good. We heard along the BBQ trail that Kreuz was "overrated," they were the Wal-Mart of BBQ due to their huge restaurant that resembled a honky tonk not unlike Billy Bob's in Ft. Worth.

As we walked through the swinging screen door with a cow and a pig on them, I gathered the Texas BBQ Posse team and pleaded with them to keep an open mind. "Let the meat speak for itself, it doesn't matter what we heard earlier today."

We walked back to the smokers and it was Smitty's on steroids, the same fires on the floor and at least twice as many brick-sided pits. Meat on wax paper and go to the dining room if you want sides and a drink, Big Red of course.

Long story short, everything at Kreuz was amazing. We ranked it second on our BBQ tour, after Snow's in Lexington. As we exited, I told our crew that I had been eating BBQ for 49 years and considered myself an "expert. "I didn't realize until today that I knew nothing at all about great barbeque." Everything I ate that day was better than anything I had eaten before.

Kreuz Market, 619 North Colorado St., Lockhart, Texas. Open Monday-Saturday 10:30am-8pm.

(Photos by David Guzman & Mike Gibson)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Clark's Outpost BBQ - A trip into horse country

We loaded up the truck and headed north to Clark's Outpost BBQ in Tioga on Saturday. We'd heard a lot about Clark's and wanted to investigate, they've been featured in both Bon Appetit and Gourmet magazines. In the past I've been known to say, "The words barbeque and gourmet should never be used in the same sentence," so I was a little suspicious.

The drive from Plano took almost an hour, a little longer than we expected. The distance was almost 50 miles door-to-door. We rolled through beautiful rolling horse country and the small towns of Aubrey and Pilot Point on the way to Tioga. Rumor has it the wealthy oil barons and horsemen have landed their helicopters at Clark's for a BBQ lunch.

We almost smelled Clark's before we saw it driving northbound past Pilot Point on Hwy. 377. The overwhelming aroma of smoke was everywhere as we pulled in the parking lot and entered the simple front door. Inside Clark's you feel like you're visiting an old friend. The walls are lined with old photos among numerous of tables covered with green checkered tablecloths.

My brother Jonathan and I decided to split one pound of brisket and one of ribs, with sides of french fried corn-on-the-cob. Our plates came within ten minutes and the posse members dug in. The meats had a great smoke taste, though the brisket was a little dry. The ribs were cooked almost perfectly, the addition of the sauce made them even better. We passed on ordering their world-famous lamb fries.

Both the service and ambiance were great. I had heard the prices were high at Clark's and this trip was no exception. Our lunch of one pound of brisket, one pound of ribs, 2 corn-on-the-cob sides & two soft drinks was over $50 with tip. Ouch. But if you stick with the daily specials you can eat far more affordably. The Texas BBQ Posse looks forward to their next trip to Tioga.

Clark's Outpost BBQ, 101 Hwy. 377 at Gene Autry Drive, Tioga, Texas. Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m; Friday and Saturday - 11:00 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.; Sunday - 11:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Photos ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse