Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Posse favorites: The Jambo Texan sandwich at Jambo's BBQ Shack

The Jambo Texan sandwich at Jambo's BBQ Shack in Rendon. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)

Every now and then you run into something so uniquely Texan that you stop in pure amazement. This is the case with pitmaster Jamie Geer's Jambo Texan sandwich at Jambo's BBQ Shack in Rendon.

The Posse hit Jambo's in force during their first week of business and was quite impressed.

It wasn't surprising. Jamie not only builds what many consider to be the best BBQ smoker the in the world, the Lamborghini-esque Jambo pit, but he is also a veteran pitmaster on the competition BBQ circuit with numerous championships under his belt.

I had seen a photo of the Jambo Texan sandwich before, but you must see it to believe it. Sandwiched between two pieces of Texas toast, the Texan has the following meats starting from the bottom: sliced brisket, chopped brisket, smoked bologna, pulled pork, smoked sausage & pork ribs.

Monday, July 22, 2013

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 rendered. The combination of fat, meat and rub made for one of those perfect bites.

I've had really good brisket here before, but what I ate today was among the best I've eaten anywhere. Jack's brisket is ready to be in the conversation with the best joints in the state.

Famed writer John T. Edge pens an ode to barbecue in Parade magazine



In Sunday’s Parade magazine, John T. Edge, the noted Southern food writer, weighs in on the nationwide barbecue renaissance. (By the way, if you haven’t seen Parade in a while, you might be stunned to see it today. It’s a deathly shadow of its former self, with a much smaller format and far fewer pages – more like a pamphlet than a magazine.)

Edge writes that Americans have “adopted barbecue as our national folk food. … The new question is, how high can barbecue go?”

It will come as no surprise to anyone who’s read one of these rebirth-of-barbecue articles that Aaron Franklin is featured prominently in Edge’s piece – as well he should be:

Friday, July 19, 2013

Success brings a new smoker to Pecan Lodge in Dallas, say hello to "Big Rick"

Pitmaster Justin Fourton shows off his new smoker Big Rick at Pecan Lodge. (Photo ©Philip Lamb)

Posse member Phil Lamb checks in with Pecan Lodge pitmaster Justin Fourton at Texas Monthly's “Behind the Pit Dinner” event on Wednesday night. 

Phil writes:

We’ve known for a while that Pecan Lodge offers some of the best smoked meats around, but its status as an elite BBQ joint was solidified when it was awarded a tie for the No. 2 spot on Texas Monthly’s “Top 50” BBQ list. Now the lines at Pecan Lodge, which were already plenty long, frequently require “Lovers of the Lodge” to wait more than two hours to get their BBQ fix. The Posse may need to start a Pecan Lodge fan-club under this name.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Growing up with Aaron Franklin and other Posse tales that deserve a second look

There have been many meals & just as many stories to tell since our first BBQ tour in November 2009. (Photo ©Gary Barber)

In the past, we've told you about our most popular blog posts and offered a readers' guide to all the tours we've written about in our Barbecue Chronicles.

Now, we're going to give you a short guide to the other end of the Posse blog spectrum. These aren't our least popular posts. We'll keep those buried to protect the innocent.

But for whatever reason, these posts didn't receive the attention we thought they would. Maybe the headlines were boring. Maybe you were busy and didn't check the blog that day. So, here's a second chance:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Confessions of another BBQ Snob*

Bruce Tomaso, right, joins fellow members of the Texas BBQ Posse on our 2013 Best of Texas Tour.
(Photo by Tom Fox/DMN)

By Bruce Tomaso

A few weeks ago, while on a BBQ tour with the Posse, I had an epiphany.

It wasn’t a magnificent epiphany. I’m not Archimedes. But it was enough to permanently change the way I approach this quest of ours for “the greatest smoked meats in the greatest state in the Union.”

I realized that I’ve become a BBQ snob.

I’m not particularly proud of this, but I don’t apologize, either. I’ve simply reached a stage where I have no interest in eating mediocre barbecue. (And sweet baby Jesus, there’s a lot of mediocre barbecue out there.)

Friday, July 12, 2013

How Daniel Vaughn, the BBQ Snob, turned himself into the hottest brand in smoked meat

Daniel Vaughn bites into a rib at the Baby Back Shak in 2009. (Photo by David Woo/The Dallas Morning News)

(Note: Rebecca LaFlure is a Texas native, long-time barbecue fan and journalism graduate student at Northwestern University. Prior to attending Northwestern, she worked as a reporter for media outlets in Killeen and Austin. She currently covers national security as a fellow at the Center for Public Integrity in Washington D.C. The following article was initially written as a research paper for a 21st Century Media course at Northwestern.)

By Rebecca LaFlure

On March 21, Texas Monthly announced it hired someone for “what may be the most coveted job” in the Lone Star State: the magazine’s first barbecue editor. News of the unusual title spread fast. New York Times writer Manny Fernandez called the new hire “a walking milestone in the history of Texas barbecue.”

I mentioned the newly created position to my friend Matt Goodman, a digital producer for an ABC affiliate in Dallas, Texas. “Let me guess,” he said. “They hired Daniel Vaughn.”

Goodman guessed right. Vaughn managed to turn his love for barbecue into a career. He left his job as a Dallas architect to become the country’s only barbecue editor. Vaughn joined Texas Monthly’s barbecue franchise, which, according to its website, includes a Joint Finder smart phone application, annual barbecue festival and a Top 50 list published every five years. Vaughn regularly produces a mix of barbecue reviews, news articles, interviews and weekly columns for the magazine’s barbecue website, TMBBQ.com.

Vaughn didn’t get the job by chance. He developed a brand as a barbecue expert through a blog he started in 2008 called Full Custom Gospel Barbecue, where Vaughn posted reviews of the hundreds of barbecue joints he visited. “At the time, nobody had done that before,” said R.J. Hinkle, a Dallas-area photographer for QuadGraphics who’s attended barbecue tours with a group called the Texas BBQ Posse. “Not only did he create a brand, but he created a genre and a market.”

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Stay tuned for a story about Daniel Vaughn, the BBQ Snob, and how he became the No.1 brand in barbecue. . .you will like it

Daniel Vaughn photographs his breakfast at Snow's BBQ in Lexington. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)

We've got a treat for you. And since you are all -- y'all -- Texas barbecue fans, you are used to waiting in lines for the good stuff, right?

So, wait just a little longer.

Rebecca LaFlure, a Texas native, long-time barbecue fan and graduate student at Northwestern University, did a research paper recently for her  21st Century Media course on branding and how Daniel Vaughn, Texas Monthly barbecue editor, became the dominant brand in all of barbecue.

You might call it, the making of a BBQ Snob.

Prior to Northwestern, LaFlure worked as a reporter for media outlets in Killeen and Austin. She currently covers national security as a fellow at the Center for Public Integrity in Washington D.C.

I think you will like LaFlure's account, footnotes and all. It will be posted presently.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Houston-area barbecue fans finally get hip and learn how to form a line at Killen's Pop-Up BBQ in Pearland

Long line at Killen's BBQ in Pearland last Saturday. (Photo by Bryan Norton/bbqtreasurehunt.com)

"Magic tingle."

That's how Bryan Norton, a blogger who rides a motorcycle to many of the barbecue joints he visits, describes the experience of tasting perfect brisket.

"It's that magic combination of pepper, salt, perfectly rendered fat, and of course brisket that literally travels through your body," he explained recently on the Posse's Facebook page.

"I've seen it make people giggle, laugh, roll their eyes back in their head, high-five and sometimes all of those at once," Norton wrote.

The Posse can't argue. That may be the most accurate description we've ever seen. This Norton dude knows barbecue.

So, we took special notice this weekend when Norton wrote about Killen's Pop-Up BBQ in Pearland, the weekend smoked meat test lab for steakhouse king Ronnie Killen while his barbecue restaurant is being completed.  The joint has been getting rave reviews and attracting crowds.