Wednesday, June 30, 2010

BBQ Signs of our times

You can always get an idea of the character of a BBQ joint by the sign out front. The more down home the sign, the more amazing your meal will likely be. Here are some signs from our recent North Texas BBQ Tour. Also a couple from posse member Irwin Thompson, shot as he drove though east Texas last week.

Big Ronnie's Texas Pit Bar-B-Que, Whitesboro

The Bone on the Grill, Sherman

OO Smokehouse, Sherman

Clark's Outpost, Tioga

Pitt Stop Bar-B-Que, Lufkin

Lindsey's BBQ, Alto

(Photos by Chris Wilkins, Mike Gibson & Irwin Thompson)

Monday, June 28, 2010

OO Smokehouse - The end of the BBQ trail

Our marathon five-stop North Texas BBQ Tour a couple of Saturdays ago ended at OO Smokehouse in Sherman. We cruised into the lot a little before 7pm, hoping to make closing time.

The OO had gotten a top 50 ranking in Texas Monthly magazine, so expectations were high among the nine surviving posse members.

Despite the fact they were sold out of ribs, we were impressed. Here's some feedback from a couple of posse members.

Marshall Cooper: "This place was an icon of an authentic Texas BBQ Stand; no dining room or restrooms, you know, tailgate in the parking lot on the hood of your car or bed of your truck! The sliced beef plate was really good, heavy smoked, tender, but maybe a little dry. No detectable rub. Definitely ranks with some of the best brisket around. As for ribs, they ran out. What does that tell you?"

David Guzman: "By the time we got to OO Smokehouse I was already full. I ordered four pork tamales and two pork stuffed jalapenos. I loved the stuffed jalapenos, they were delicious. The BBQ Tamales, a far cry from my grandmothers homemade pork tamales, were also very tasty. It's nice when someone takes a common food and gives it a little flair.They were excellent."

Postscript: I went back to the OO last weekend around noon to sample the ribs. As expected they were excellent, cooked perfectly and worth the trip.

OO Smokehouse, 200 S. Montgomery, Sherman. Open Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

(Photos by Chris Wilkins)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Unplanned stop on the BBQ trail

Since our North Texas BBQ Tour last weekend, I've had a hard time explaining the discovery of The Bone on the Grill, located on Hwy. 82, around six miles west of Sherman. I turn to Texas BBQ Posse expert Marshall Cooper to describe this inspiring stop on the BBQ trail, as follows:

"This place deserves first place in sexy Texas drive-up appeal for all roadside BBQ joints! The two attached trailers with the attached spongy deck had outstanding views of bordering ranches with vast spreads of producing cornfields and oil wells. A Texas Classic! The BBQ pit was nothing more than two side-by-side 55-gallon drum grills available at Home Depot for $49.95!

The grilled baby back pork ribs were very meaty with falling off the bone near tender meat. The taste of the meat without sauce was way below average, as they were not smoked. However, they were presented with a secret sauce that smothered and drowned the ribs to a non-traditional flavor. Something between an Asian Jerk Hawaiian flavor but not salty or sweet, you figure it out because we couldn't! You were given the choice of mild or hot and we chose hot. The flavors were really intense and good.

If you are looking for traditional hickory slow-smoked BBQ this place does not have it - but try the place anyway for something new to experience! They deserve a first place in creativeness!"

This is one of the most amazing eccentric BBQ joints the posse members have ever seen, both in appearance and menu. Don't forget about the homemade ice cream pie, that alone is worth the drive. In fact, I'm heading back there again this weekend.......

The Bone on the Grill, 4933 Gibbons Road (at Highway 82), west of Sherman. Open Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

(Photos by Michael Ainsworth & Chris Wilkins)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How the sausage is made…

Sometimes it isn’t pretty.

See that crumpled Nestea can at the lip of the truck bed in the photo above?

On a barbecue tour, after five stops, eight hours of eating, and an occasional beer, that can is called a tripod.

Give Barbecue Posse founder Chris Wilkins credit for innovative thinking under stress, even if he loses a few style points for agility.

At OO Smokehouse in Sherman, Wilkins, a photo editor at The Dallas Morning News, was composing a souvenir keepsake for posse members. He eventually used the crushed can to support his camera.

We’re not even going to try to describe how he got off the truck and into the photo. Just use your imagination.

The results can be seen in the photo below. Not too bad at all.

Who cares how the sausage is made as long as it tastes good?

(Photos by Mike Gibson & Chris Wilkins)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A little posse peer pressure

As an appetizer at Clark’s Outpost in Tioga, the Barbecue Posse ordered lamb fries and passed them around. There were some snickers. Lamb fries are lamb testicles, breaded and fried.

“I’m not eating those,” said David Woo, a barbecue posse veteran and Dallas Morning News photographer.

Peer pressure, though, is a powerful force. Don’t be chicken, the posse told Woo. Everyone else had eaten at least one. He must, too.

Woo grabbed a lamb fry and popped it in his mouth.

“Wow! Nasty!” he said.

“Take two, they go in pairs,” posse newcomer Bruce Tomaso said.

But one and done it was.

(Photos by Chris Wilkins & Mike Gibson)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

North Texas BBQ Tour - 5 joints in 8 hours

Here's a sneak peak at our North Texas BBQ Tour this Saturday, the first five-stops-in-one-day tour for the Texas BBQ Posse. The itinerary was as follows:
11am Clark's Outpost, Hwy. 377, Tioga
1:30pm Smokehouse Barbecue, E. Hwy 82, Lindsay
3:00pm Big Ronnie's Texas Pit Bar-B-Que, Hwy. 377 north of Whitesboro
3:30pm Horseshoes and beer break at Cedar Mills Marina on Lake Texoma
6:00pm The Bone on the Grill BBQ, Hwy. 82 west of Sherman
7:00pm OO Smokehouse, 200 S. Montgomery, Sherman

The posse lines up outside of Clark's Outpost in Tioga, waiting for the doors to open at 11am. We had 14 folks join at the first tour stop.

Clark's co-owner James Hilliard gave a tour of the smoker room, where he opend the door on row after row of brisket, which smokes for an amazing three days before serving.

On the way to Cedar Mills Marina for a break, we discovered Big Ronnie's Texas Pit Bar-B-Que north of Whitesboro on Hwy. 377. The joint operates out of a converted horse trailer on the side of the road, producing really good ribs and giving the posse our first of two unexpected stops.

Nine posse members were still standing when the tour ended at OO Smokehouse in downtown Sherman, the fifth stop of the day. Of course, we'll follow up with a tour story in The Dallas Morning News, combined with slideshow and video.

(Photos by Chris Wilkins)