Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Texas BBQ Posse

We've been busy since 4pm Wednesday smoking Christmas briskets and hanging with Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper. Best holiday wishes to you and yours and we hope to see you all on the BBQ trails of Texas in coming year!!!!

Photo by Chris Wilkins

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pit Talk: Butcher paper wrapped brisket - Pitmaster Marshall Cooper shows you how

Our recent Central Texas 5-Star Anniversary BBQ Tour yielded an unexpected discovery as we talked technique with Aaron Franklin, owner of Franklin Barbecue in Austin. Several Texas BBQ Posse members are backyard pitmasters, so we are always pestering BBQ joint pit bosses for their tricks of the trade.

This one stopped us in our tracks though, when Aaron casually mentioned that he wraps his award-winning brisket in butcher paper, rather than foil, during the cooking process. What was that? Butcher paper wrapped brisket? Pitmaster Marshall Cooper had never heard of this either, he's been cooking on smokers for over 25 years. Much to our surprise, we also saw butcher paper wrapping being used several other times later in the tour, at both Prause Meat Market and Taylor Cafe, at various parts of the cooking process.

Could this be the process that vaults Franklin's brisket to the top? When discussing what makes the their brisket so great, we kept coming back to the subject of "texture" of the meat. Snow's brisket is a very close second for the Posse and they wrap with foil midway through cooking. The Snow's bark isn't quite as crusty as Franklin's, which is in contrast to the equally juicy slices of brisket offered by both BBQ joints.

Marshall is no fan of foil wrapping for back yard BBQ, telling me numerous times that it makes the meat soggy and the bark less crusty. He's gone back and forth over the years, trying to balance the need for great smoke and crust with the necessity of keeping the brisket moist and juicy.

"Face it, you are braising & probably steaming the meat by foil wrapping it for too long during your process," he writes. "Many backyard BBQ’ers, including myself, competition teams and small BBQ joints use foiling to keep the meats from drying out and becoming too smokey, also to speed up the cooking process."

"If you keep the barbecue wrapped too long during the process you could end up with over steamed but very tender stew meat, with a grey tint, having lost all the texture and color that true wood fired pit barbecue should have."

Marshall began his butcher paper research as soon as we got back from the tour and is getting close to developing a technique that works well. After four test cooks, he likes what he sees.

One of the initial problems was literally how to wrap the brisket. After his first attempt turned out far too smokey, he realized the brisket needed to be wrapped more heavily and tightly to let in less smoke. He headed to his local butcher, who showed him how to wrap tightly and efficiently, ending up with three layers of butcher paper encasing the meat. Pictured above is Marshall's step-by-step technique of butcher paper wrapping.

Marshall has been cooking the briskets, usually in the 12-15 lb. range, cooking time is around 1.5- 2 hours per pound. He smokes unwrapped for several hours, then wraps with butcher paper for the last 3-4. The ideal smoker temperature is around 225-250 degrees. After cooking, the brown paper will be very oily, yet has the ability to hold in the juices of the brisket. He also cautions the paper can burn if your smoker gets over 375-400 degrees.

Here are some notes Marshall sent after our Christmas brisket cook on Wednesday.

He writes, "The recent discovery of butcher paper on our central Texas tour has me back on the prowl of eliminating foil from my smoking process. Lately I've been smoking up a storm to learn the new process. You could probably confirm it from my kind and tolerant neighbors! The major end result is a better texture of barbecue, very moist and tender but unsteamed. The butcher paper seems to breath, keeping the brisket or ribs from drying out while shielding the meat from too much smoke."

"I'm no expert at this point, having using butcher paper for a little more than a month. Also, many champion BBQ pitmasters use foil in their cooking process and have the expertise and touch to use foil and turn out perfect meat," Marshall says.

"But for those of us that don’t have that expertise and end up with steamed brisket, try the butcher paper alternative to see if you like the results. I’m sure I will find a place for using foil in many of my future smokes, but wanted to share some thoughts and experiences with others to let them know about this new-found alternative for smoking meat."

Our family can't wait to sit down to Christmas dinner, where we'll be dining on two butcher paper wrapped briskets from Marshall's pits. That's what I call a happy holiday feast!

Photos by Chris Wilkins

Monday, December 20, 2010

Prause Meat Market in La Grange - Four generations of BBQ greatness

Our sixth stop on the Central Texas 5-Star Anniversary BBQ Tour took us back in time to Prause Meat Market, a fourth generation meat market in the small town of La Grange.

We had begun day two of the tour with breakfast at Snow's BBQ in Lexington, which set the bar for BBQ excellence for the day. La Grange is 39 miles south of Lexington on US Hwy. 77, a route that passes directly by City Meat Market in Giddings, one the the best BBQ joints in Texas.

Gary Prause met us at the counter and basically gave us the VIP tour of the place. He runs the business with other family members, going back four generations in his family. He showed family photos and explained the history of the meat market, which started in another location on the old town square in La Grange in 1904.

Gary also took us on a tour of the smokers and introduced us to pitmaster Monroe Schubert, who has cooked at Prause Meat Market for the past 42 years. We dined on sausage and pork and soaked in the surroundings. This is a world-class BBQ joint and it's easy to see why BBQ Snob Daniel Vaughn has it as one of his 15 five-star joints in the state.

Texas BBQ Posse member and our pitmaster Marshall Cooper gives his thoughts on the visit. "Prause Meat Market was a great place chalked full of memorabilia, the decor is classic small town Texas. The sausage was excellent, seasoned perfectly to enhance the beef and pork flavors that subtly imparted spice flavors in the finish," Marshall writes. "Prause is a definite winner and a must to see for folks who are serious about their BBQ."

Marshall's wife Sheilagh, also a Posse member adds, "I wonder if these BBQ “originals” are a dying breed. As the newer BBQ restaurants open and expand to meet demand, can the art of the pit BBQ be replicated? There is something to be said for the history of a place and its’ people."

If you are a student of Texas barbecue history and planning a BBQ tour, Prause Meat Market is a must stop on your itinerary. If it's not too busy, ask Gary for a quick tour and review of Prause Market's history. If barbecue heaven exists, you are definitely in the neighborhood when you visit Prause Meat Market in La Grange.

Prause Meat Market, 253 W. Travis, La Grange, 979-968-3259. Open Mon-Wed & Fri 6am-5:30pm, Thurs 6am-1pm, Sat 5:30am-1pm.

Photos ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse

Friday, December 17, 2010

Birth of a BBQ Joint - Mama Faye's in Deep Ellum

We had the rare opportunity to try a new BBQ joint on its second day of operation today. Plans were set into motion when Texas BBQ Posse member Gary Barber spotted a big smoker at the corner of Commerce and Walton Streets while at lunch in Deep Ellum the day before.

Ernest and Francine Williams opened Mama Faye's BBQ at 2933 Commerce on Thursday. The joint is named after Francine's mother Faye, who supplied the sauce recipe, a family secret that dates back to the 1900s. They are already known in Deep Ellum for their mobile operation, selling sandwiches in front of several clubs on the weekend.

Ernest is cooking off his smoker until his permanent wood-burning pit is built, construction starts next week. No gas-fed commercial smoker for Mama Faye's, Ernest does not believe in it. "The hard way to do it is with wood," he says, "but that's the best way."

When we arrived shortly before noon, there was one other customer eating in the space that has housed several restaurants in the past few years, most recently Po-Bill's Cafe. The restaurant still shows signs of Po-Bill's and will be remodeled in January. The place should be all Mama Faye's within a month or so.

Five of us ordered and we were all reasonably impressed, especially once we learned this was their second day of business. What was great was the smoke in the meat, strong yet not overwhelming. Ernest uses a rare mix of pecan, hickory and pear wood, an interesting combo that leads to a unique taste. Some of the meat was a tad dry, but taste more than made up for it. I had the combo plate of ribs, brisket and hot links and thought this place has some serious promise.

The speed of service was slow, but you have to give them time to get their workflow down. Ernest says the have bugs have to be worked out of their operation, but they'll get there.

Here's a few comments from the Posse:

Gary Barber: "The sliced beef sandwich had a great smokey flavor, felt it was cut a little early and was a little too dry. I love that you can get peach cobbler as a side, nice veggie loophole. Don't let the Mastercard/Visa sign on the door fool you, bring cash."

Gary Jacobson: "There was a very nice smoke taste on all three meats — chopped brisket, pork ribs, sausage — that came with the combo plate. Everything was a little dry, but I’d love to go back when the place has worked out its serving kinks. If the chickens we saw are any indication, Ernest’s barbecue, fresh off the smoker, could be great."

Ahna Hubnik: "The pork ribs were meaty!! And for once, I forgot to say no sauce and it didn’t ruin the meat. The tangy, spicy sauce actually complimented the pork. And the simple choice of “Coke or water,” was great, Keep It Simple Silly."

David Woo: "The bark on the ribs was very tasty. Service was very slow, but they just opened. I'm sure things will pick up as they get their feet on the ground."

Mama Faye's BBQ, 2933 Commerce St, Dallas, TX, 214-486-9846. Open 7 days a week, 10am-10pm.

Photos by Gary Barber,top, & Chris Wilkins

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why we chose Snow's BBQ as the best joint in Texas

It was a tough call to name the best barbecue joint in Texas for our

2010 Best in Texas BBQ
picks. After tallying the votes from Texas BBQ Posse members, we had three very strong contenders for the title.

First came Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor. This is truly a world-class BBQ joint, with smoke staining the walls and windows. The tradition is there, the food is great and the ambiance is extraordinary. Their beef ribs and beef sausage are among the best we've ever had.

The second contender was Snow's BBQ, situated in an old country feed store next to the live stockyards and grain silo located in "downtown" Lexington. We had been here before, it was the inaugural stop on our first barbecue tour in November 2009. Breakfast at Snow's set the bar for barbecue excellence and set us on a quest to find the best BBQ in Texas.

The third contender was a dark horse, Pat Gee's Barbecue, located in the piney woods east of Tyler. I've been going there since high school in the late 70s, so it's one of my favorite joints in the world by default. Posse member Gary Jacobson voted it the best joint, saying "It's the kind of place where you could spend an enjoyable afternoon just watching Pat's kids serve the wide variety of customers the place attracts." If you haven't been there, schedule a trip soon, it's one of the special stops on the Texas BBQ trail.

In the end, Snow's BBQ rose to the top. It's the combination of great food, a cool place and accessibility to the process of cooking cue. We almost feel like part of the Snow's family, as do thousands and thousands of visitors since Texas Monthly magazine put them on the map.

Here's some of the Posse feedback on Snow's:

David Woo: "Saturday morning at Snow’s BBQ in Lexington was heaven. I had fellow posse’s members tell me how great the meat was and by 8:30am I was having a great brisket sandwich for breakfast."

Marshall Cooper: "Smelling the sweet burning oak cook the BBQ sitting outdoors, under the old original tin metal shed right next to the wood burning BBQ pits, all while watching a couple of true pit masters cooking the BBQ. Is the the best ambiance to eat BBQ in Texas?"

Bruce Tomaso: "Snow’s was great. It’s the place I’d take out-of-town visitors for a Central Texas BBQ experience, but that has as much to do with the setting as anything.

Zach Woo: "I'd read up on this place quite a bit before beginning the journey and I certainly had high expectations. The brisket was very well cooked, quite possibly the best I've ever had. While in line, the lady cut off a piece of the pork and gave it to me as a sample, and I'd say that it would also be worth the trip independent of their other offerings. The atmosphere of the place early in the morning was convivial: everyone there woke up early on their weekend and drove a considerable distance just to procure quality barbeque and few seemed disappointed."

Photos ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Texas BBQ Posse - Follow us on Twitter!

We fought the Twitter thing for a couple of years, making fun of those who tweeted. But in the end, it's time for the Texas BBQ Posse to get aboard the Twitter revolution.

"Son, if you can't beat'em, join'em," as my east Texas grandpa always said. Just a quick way to keep the Posse nation up to date with where we've been and what we're up to.

Click here to follow us on Twitter, we'll promise to keep it interesting. Thanks for your support and remember, always let the meat speak for itself!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Announcing the Posse's "2010 Best in Texas BBQ" picks

We all know how controversial picking a "best of barbecue" list can be. Surf a few BBQ blogs in the Lone Star State and you'll be entertained for hours. Outside of religion and football, it's a close third for spirited and emotional discussion, to say the least. Folks in Texas take their BBQ very, very seriously.

That being said, the Texas BBQ Posse is publishing our "2010 Best in Texas BBQ" picks.

Disclaimer: We have not gone to every joint in Texas, that would take years. Thanks to our friend Daniel Vaughn and his Full Custom Gospel BBQ blog, we were able to narrow down the places we visited around the state over the past year. We are swimming in your wake Daniel and thank you so much for blazing the trail of Texas BBQ for us and thousands of others.

We have not gone to Houston, that will come in 2011, but we stand by our picks as representing some of the best BBQ you will ever eat, not just in Texas but in the entire country.

Here's the Texas BBQ Posse's list for "2010 Best in Texas BBQ":

Best Brisket: Franklin BBQ, Austin. "Neck and neck with Snow's on taste and tenderness but Franklin's crusty crust makes the difference."
Best Ribs - pork: Kreuz Market, Lockhart. "A little spice makes these stand out from the rest."
Best Ribs - beef: Louie Mueller Barbecue, Taylor. "No contest, it's like a pot roast on a stick."
Best Sausage: Longoria's BBQ, Everman. "Longoria's brisket sausage, very unusual and very tasty."
Best Pork - pulled or other: Snow's BBQ, Lexington. "The pork might be the best thing on their menu."
Best Turkey: Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q, Tyler. "Listen to the recommendations of the locals."
Best Chicken: Off the Bone, Fort Worth. "It was just the right texture and smoky flavor, and not the least bit dry….which is ordinarily the characteristic I note with chicken."
Best service: Loco Coyote Cafe, Glen Rose. "Our waiter steered us toward some great ribs and made sure our beer bucket was always full.
Best BBQ Joint-DFW: Baby Back Shak, Dallas. "It's a totally cool joint with great service and prices, also the best ribs in DFW."
Best BBQ Joint-Texas: Snow's BBQ, Lexington. "Smelling the sweet burning oak while sitting outdoors under the old original tin metal shed brings the entire BBQ experience to life. You can watch a couple of true pit masters practice their craft every Saturday morning, that's as good as it gets on the Texas BBQ trail."

Now that we've let you know what the Posse thinks, let us know your favorites. You can comment on our blog or on the Posse facebook page. On behalf of the Texas BBQ Posse, thanks for your support over the past year and always remember, "Let the meat speak for itself!"

Photos by Tom Fox-Loco Coyote, Chris Wilkins-Snow's BBQ & Gary Barber-Louie Mueller BBQ, top to bottom

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wilkins tries something new - Blogging while riding shotgun on a BBQ tour

Given a choice, Chris Wilkins would prefer to do his blogging from home, a glass of red wine nearby.

More and more, though, the Texas BBQ Posse co-founder has been live-blogging from the center of the action. During the Blues, Bandits & BBQ cook off in Oak Cliff in September, he regularly posted items and photographs over two days and one long night.

"Can't believe I'm still standing," he wrote then. "It's 3:30 am and it's finally cooled down, after a pretty strong little thunderstorm..."

On our recent "anniversary" tour to Central Texas, Wilkins tried something new: Posting from the car between stops. I drove. He rode shotgun.

That means transferring photos from his camera to computer, writing, and then uploading everything to this site through a Verizon aircard.

“That’s about as fresh as it gets,” he says of his instant blogging. One drawback: It’s hard to proofread in a moving vehicle, he says.

Photo by R.J. Hinkle

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It’s hard to beat BBQ and trains

A surprise from our recent anniversary tour of Central Texas barbecue joints was the discovery of all the train-watching opportunities near the places we visited.

In Smithville, a few blocks from Zimmerhanzel’s Bar-B-Que, there’s a nice city park, with a big gazebo, located trackside.

In Giddings, a short walk from the City Meat Market, you can watch coal trains (empty and full) pass through and visit a train museum. One of the exhibits lets you toot a train horn. Bet you can’t do it just once!!

In Taylor, right outside the doors of the Taylor Cafe, there’s a switching yard where they cut cars from and add cars to freight trains. Amtrak passenger trains also pass by, to and from Austin.

“They are very cool,” Zach Woo said after watching the trains in Taylor. Zach, son of Dallas Morning News photographer David Woo, was making his first tour with the posse. At 28, Zach’s not a kid, but he’s closer than most of us.

About once a month, said Don Kovar, who works at the Taylor Cafe, the restaurant gets an advance order from an Amtrak train.

The train doesn’t stop, but the exchange is made as the train slows.

“They throw the money down and we throw the sausage up,” Kovar said.

Photo by Jim Rossman

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Franklin Barbecue plans to move

UPDATE: According to our friends at Man Up Texas BBQ, Franklin Barbecue will be moving to 900 E. 11th St., the former location of Ben's Long Branch Barbecue, hoping to open some time in early January.

On our recent Central Texas anniversary tour, Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue in Austin told us that he was looking to move soon to a permanent building.

For about a year, he has been operating out of trailers at the back of an old gas station on the east side of I-35 at 34th street, producing what many of us in the Posse think might be the best brisket in Texas. Diners eat outside, at picnic tables.

Will Franklin, shown below chatting with our group, be able to duplicate his current quality in his new location, which he hopes will be on the east side of I-35 near downtown?

He thinks so because he will have more control over variables such as temperature, wind, precipitation.

"We're just spinning our wheels out here dealing with the elements," he said. "If it's cold outside, the ribs cool off in three minutes."

Seems reasonable, but some in the Posse still worry that Franklin's my lose some of its charm and ambiance when it moves.

Bruce Tomaso says he is telling friends to visit Franklin as soon as they can, before it changes locations. "The trailer experience will never be duplicated in a restaurant," Tomaso said, "and the brisket might not be, either."

(Photos by Chris Wilkins)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Taylor Cafe - Your chance to attend the Vencil Mares University of BBQ

The final stop of day one of our Central Texas 5-Star Anniversary BBQ Tour was the Taylor Cafe, a rare Texas BBQ joint open until 10pm, perfect for our overnight stop in Taylor between days one and two of the tour.

I have written several times on the posse blog about Vencil Mares, owner of the legendary BBQ joint that he has operated since 1949. My respect for Vencil and what he means to the legacy of Texas BBQ is deep. You run a BBQ joint 7 days a week, from 6am to 10pm, for 61 years and then we'll talk. Every minute you can talk the barbecue business with him is valuable to your BBQ IQ.

I had a similar relationship in college while studying photojournalism at the University of Missouri. I was able to spend time with retired professor Cliff Edom, aka the "Father of Photojournalism," who had started the photo program at Missouri in the 1930s. I would spend the holidays at Cliff's, printing the Missouri Photo Workshop photo exhibit for him during the day, then spend the evening talking pictures and photoj history with Cliff, all the while valuing every minute I spent there. After all, Cliff had actually invented the word "photojournalism" in the early 30s. The education and influence he gave to many generations of the photojournalists is profound.

The same applies in Taylor with Vencil Mares. I had been to Taylor Cafe with my wife Michele a few months earlier and wanted the rest of posse to meet him and talk shop. When we walked in around 8pm, Vencil was sitting on his customary stool at the end of the bar, holding court with some locals. We briefly introduced ourselves, shook hands and headed to the other side of the bar to order dinner and some well deserved cold beverages.

After dinner, Vencil walked over to our side of the bar, leaned against the counter and we began to talk barbecue. I was amazed as he stood and chatted us for 20 minutes or so, standing is very difficult for him due to serious back problems. Texas BBQ Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper and I peppered him with cooking technique questions.

Butcher paper wrapping vs. foil? Vencil says he would never use foil, makes the meat soggy. How do you know when the brisket is ready? Vencil uses a fork, but adds "you gotta know your fork." Priceless.....

Here's what a couple of posse members had to say after our visit to the Taylor Cafe.

Marshall Cooper: "Legendary place, location and owner. Definite step back in time to see. The owner & pit-master were extremely hospitable and personable. A great place to hang your hat and relax at, especially at night."

Zach Woo: "This place seemed much more authentic than the previous stops. This place probably hasn't been significantly remodeled since they added electricity. I ordered a brisket sandwich and it was good. The real entertainment came from listening to the other members of the posse grill Mr. Mares about his life and his technique. One of the perks of the location not noted in any review I've read was the proximity to the Taylor train station. The youngest member of the posse asked to go out and look at the trains after we finished here and I'd have to agree that they are very cool."

Please understand, you won't get the best BBQ of your tour when you visit the Taylor Cafe, though it's very good. Around the corner on 2nd Street is Louie Mueller Barbecue, one of the best places in the world. Drive 26 miles to the southeast and you'll be at Snow's BBQ, another of the great joints of Texas. And 49 miles to the south is Lockhart, the epicenter of Texas barbecue greatness with three, some say four, world-class BBQ joints in a town of 11,000.

But when you visit Vencil and the Taylor Cafe, the traditions of Texas BBQ history with come alive for you. Pull up a stool at the bar, order some brisket and sausage, then get your notepad out. It's time for BBQ 101 with Professor Mares.

Taylor Cafe, 101 N Main St., Taylor, TX, 76574, (512) 352-847. Open Mon-Fri 10am-10pm, Sat-Sun 10am-11pm.

Photos ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Baby Back Shak - Is the "Rossman Platter" the best BBQ sampler deal in Dallas?

If you go to the Baby Back Shak and ask for the "Rossman Platter, it's very likely they'll look at you with blank stare and say "excuse me, what did you ask for?" To members of the Texas BBQ Posse, the Rossman Platter may be the closest thing to BBQ greatness that Dallas has to offer.

To backtrack, Jim Rossman, shown above on a recent trip to the Taylor Cafe, is a member of the posse who also happens to the the Dallas Morning News tech guru. This man knows his Mac computers and iPhone stuff, but he also knows his barbecue as well.

I was in DMN computer training with Jim the other day when a photo popped up on the screen, showing a mound of ribs, brisket and boudin. We knew it was the Shak, the boudin was a dead giveaway, but what was this thing of beauty?

"That's my lunch yesterday, a two-meat plater with TWO sides of boudin, and I ate very bite of it," Jim replied with a smile on his face. Instead of picking cole slaw, potato salad or the world-famous Shak beans as his two sides, Jim opted for two sticks of boudin, a Posse favorite we've written about before.

A light bulb suddenly went off in my head. That two-meat platter was $11.49 and would easily feed two people (sorry Jim). With the addition of the boudin sausage, it was actually a three-meat platter. Lunch plans for the next day were set in motion.

Along with several other folks in the DMN Photo department, fellow posse co-founding member Gary Jacobson and I ordered from the Shak the next day, settling on sharing a three-meat platter for $12.49. We ordered chicken, ribs, brisket and two sides of boudin, aka: The Rossman Platter. After we split the check, the total cost was under $7.00 each for a virtual four-meat sampler platter from one of the best BBQ joints that Dallas has to offer.

Since the Baby Back Shak is the unofficial headquarters of the Texas BBQ Posse, I hope pitmaster and owner Clarence Cohens doesn't read this and bump his prices. Knowing him as the posse does, that probably ain't gonna happen! However, the Shak Platter with four meats and two sides is $13.99. If you split it that's seven bucks a piece. WIth boudin as your two sides, that's a five-meat platter, the Rossman Platter on steroids. That's what we call BBQ greatness in the Lone Star State.........

Photos ©Chris Wilkins/The Texas BBQ Posse

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Southside Market in Elgin - It's on the way from Austin to Taylor....

As I was making the itinerary for our recent Central Texas 5-Star Anniversary BBQ Tour, I reluctantly added Southside Market in Elgin. It was on the way from stops one and two in Austin and our fourth stop at the Taylor Cafe in Taylor, where the posse was overnighting.

The problem was that reviews of Southside Market are all over the place, never a good sign if you're looking for the best joints in Texas. This was either going to be the best sausage the posse had ever tasted or a waste of time.

As we pulled in the parking lot at sunset, I was reminded of the trip to Kreuz Market on our first BBQ tour one year ago. Southside Market was a big place, much like Kreuz, looking more like a BBQ superstore than a joint. As we walked in Kreuz last year, several of the posse members were grumbling about this being the Walmart of BBQ joints. I stopped the group and said, "Let the meat speak for itself." In the end, we named it the best overall stop on our visit to the best BBQ joints in central Texas.

Unfortunately I can't say the same for Southside Market. Here are a few responses from posse members when giving feedback from the tour:

"Southside Market? Don’t bother stopping."

"Southside Market: I split a pound of sausage here with my Dad. It was of average quality: a little on the greasy side and not particularly flavorful. Most of the order went back to Dallas in a cooler for my Dad's hound, who has an unrefined palate."

"There is no reason to go to Southside."

This is a very popular place, located on Hwy. 290 from Houston to Austin. Maybe we'll give it another chance one day. After all, the posse is more about describing the BBQ journey in words and photos than writing restaurant reviews. We'll leave that to our friend Daniel Vaughn, one of the top barbecue experts in the country. His Full Custom Gospel BBQ blog is the place to go when researching Texas cue joints for your next lunch or your next BBQ tour.

Southside Market BBQ, 1212 U.S. 290, at Hwy 95, Elgin, (512) 285-3407. (Open M-Thur 8am-8pm, F-Sat 8am-10pm, Sun 9am-7pm).

(Photos by Chris Wilkins)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Posse writer Gary Jacobson talks Central Texas cue with Mr. BBQ

Listen in as Texas BBQ Posse founding member and Dallas Morning News writer Gary Jacobson returns for his third visit this year with Mr. BBQ, a syndicated radio show out of Portland, Oregon. Gary is the preeminent barbecue expert at the Morning News and one of the top writers in the BBQ nation.

Mr. Barbeque, aka Bruce Bjorkman, has an outdoor cooking show on Newsradio 750 KXL in Portland that is syndicated up and down the Pacific coast. Gary has become a regular visitor on the show as he helps spread the gospel of Texas BBQ to those less fortunate.

Gary's has written four installments of tales from the BBQ trail with three more stories soon to be published in The Dallas Morning News. Tour stories on BBQ joints in Far North Texas . Central Texas, East Texas and Fort Worth have been picked up by McClatchy-Tribune News Service and published around the world after appearing in The Morning News.

Click here to listen to a podcast of the show and listen in on Gary's chat about the journeys of the Texas BBQ Posse, featuring our recent Central Texas 5-Star Anniversary BBQ Tour. Gary's portion of the show comes on around 12:45 minutes left in the podcast. Download and enjoy, great stuff!

(Photos by R.J. Hinkle)

Texas BBQ Posse named to list of top 50 BBQ blogs in U.S.

We got the news today from Cate Newton of the Guide to Culinary Schools that the Texas BBQ Posse blog has ben named as one of the top 50 BBQ blogs in the country. We share that honor with our Texas BBQ blogging friends at Man Up Texas Barbecue and Full Custom Gospel BBQ Blog.

Cate writes, "I am writing to inform you that Texas BBQ Posse has been featured on Guide to Culinary Schools' list of the Top 50 BBQ Blogs. We hand-picked a list of our favorites and outlined the unique reasons why we love them. We chose your blog because it points out the major role that BBQ plays in the Central Texas culture."

Having just celebrated our first anniversary with the Central Texas 5-Star Anniversary BBQ Tour, we are honored to be recognized among the top BBQ blogs in the country. Thank you Cate and company! We hope all our followers, friends and supporters will continue to enjoy the stories and photos as we explore the BBQ trails of Texas, in search of the greatest smoked meats in the greatest state in the union....