Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Posse favorites: Boudin at the Baby Back Shak

Decisions, decisions, decisions. I always struggle with what meat to order at the Baby Back Shak. Their baby back ribs are the best is Dallas, bar none. The smoked chicken is among the best I've ever tasted and the other meats follow in this tradition of excellence.

We've written several times over the past year about the Shak, the unofficial headquarters of the Texas BBQ Posse. What I've neglected to mention is their boudin, one of the best and most unusual sides, or Shaksessories, you can get at a Texas BBQ joint.

By definition, boudin is a Cajun sausage stuffed with pork and rice. According to Louisiana food historians, it's one of those food products that originated in frugality; the rice was meant to stretch the meat. Now, it's a unique and delicious treat all its own.

Depending on what you order at the Shak, a sandwich or a plate, you get either one or two sides respectively. It's hard to pass on the Shak beans, among the best BBQ beans on the planet. The green beans take me back to my grandma's kitchen. The buttered corn is to die for. And the potato salad and cole slaw ain't bad either.

We eat at the Shak at least once a week and sometimes twice. When it comes time to order a side, nine times out of ten I'm ordering the boudin. Once you've tried it you will too.....

(Photo by Chris Wilkins)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The secret to a great brisket is in the wood

There's a really good article on the wood and barbeque on page one of The Dallas Morning News this morning. Writer Erinn Connor takes a look at Arnold Brothers Forest Products, who supplies wood to most of the barbeque joints around the region.

Texas BBQ Posse member Marshall Cooper is quoted in the article. He's been a long-time customer of Arnold Brothers and sums up the importance of good wood in the story.

"A lot of people who don't do this don't realize the wood is really important," Marshall said. "The smoke gives the meat the flavor."

Click here to read Erinn's article in the Morning News. Here's a video on Arnold Brothers, shot by Dallas Morning News photojournalist Nathan Hunsinger.

(Photo by Chris Wilkins)

Friday, July 9, 2010

BBQ and blue highways - Just follow the smoke

The North Texas BBQ Tour schedule had three bonified stops, based on reviews by Daniel Vaughn, aka the BBQ Snob. Since last November, we’ve taken four barbecue tours, and driven a total of more than 1,100 miles, from Central Texas to the Oklahoma border.

We didn’t plan for that horse-trailer-turned-barbeque-joint on Highway 377 north of Whitesboro, Big Ronnie's Texas Pit Bar-B-Que. Damn, those ribs were pretty good. We’d work them off at the planned exercise/horseshoes break on the shores of Lake Texoma. If that’s possible when you exercise with a cigar in one hand and a cold beer in the other.

Nor did we plan to stop at the intersection of Hwy 82 and Gibbons Road, as we hustled to make closing time at the OO Smokehouse in Sherman. Lemontt and Sonya have built their dream at that corner, The Bone on the Grill.

In the end, I’m beginning to understand that the highlights of a tour are the unexpected stops. Not the places we read reviews about on Yelp or Urbanspoon.

I’d like to plot out our next tour with no known destinations, just a tank full of gas and a cooler full of beer. Of course we’d have the horseshoes in the trunk for an exercise break. Follow the blue highways and look for the smoke. This barbeque thing is really starting to make sense to me……

UPDATE - From posse member Marshal Cooper: " Just spoke with someone that drives to and has frequented Big Ronnie's
every Saturday on his way to the lake for a good while. He told me they packed up lock stock and barrel and vanished sometime last week!"

(Photos by Chris Wilkins)