Friday, August 30, 2013

Video: The Posse's Heart of Texas BBQ Tour

Here's a video from our recent Heart of Texas BBQ Tour. This piece was shot and produced by David Guzman, Dallas Morning News video whiz and an original member of the Posse.

Gary Jacobson's tour story will be in Sunday's Dallas Morning News Travel section, so be sure and check that out.

Heart of Texas BBQ Tour
  • 9am:  Leave Dallas
  • 10:30am:  Wright’s Bar-B-Q, 123 Martin Luther King Jr Hwy (Hwy 14), Mexia, 254-562-9042. Open Tue-Sat 10am-6pm.
  • 11:30am:  Kirby's Barbeque, 4592 Hwy. 14 S, Mexia, 254-562-5076. Open: Wed-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 10am-3pm.  
  • 1:30pm:  Whup's Boomerang Bar-B-Q, 1203 Bennett St., Marlin, 254-883-5770. Open Thurs-Sat 10am-8pm.      
  • 3 pm:  Miller's Smokehouse, 208 N Penelope, Belton, 254-939-5500. Open Tues-Thurs 10:30am-6:30pm, Fri and Sat 10:30am-9pm or until the meat runs out.  
  • 7 pm:  Arrive back in Dallas
Total trip: 10 hours, 318 miles

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Here's a new installment of our "BBQ is" pitmasters portrait project

Ben Washington, Whup's Boomerang Bar-B-Que, Marlin.  (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves/

Posse member Daniel Goncalves is back with the next installment of his "BBQ is" pitmaster portrait series.

The Dallas-based editorial and commercial photographer has been photographing top pitmasters around the state with a Fuji Instax 210 instant film camera. Sixty seconds later the Polaroid is dry and Daniel has each pitmaster fill in the blank with a sharpie on their portrait, "BBQ is ________." With this project, Daniel continues to raise the creative bar for both the Posse and Texas BBQ photography.

Click here to see our first blog post featuring his portraits of Austin pitmasters.

Monday, August 26, 2013

YABBQL: Yet Another BBQ line -- Cattleack BBQ tweaks their operation to address the long lines.

From left: Todd David, David Mills, Misty David and Lauren Parajon (photo by Jim Rossman)

On the heels of Pecan Lodge making some tweaks to their ordering process, relative newcomer Cattleack BBQ is making some changes to their Friday-only lunch service to address it's growing lines.

Our BBQ Take-Out service on Fridays has become such a hit, we now have a line out the door! While this is a measure of success for us, we don’t want it to be an inconvenience to our BBQ-loving customers. We have two new processes in place to help those who have limited time to spend in line.
1) Starting next week, we will open the doors at 10:30 instead of 11. That way, you can get a jump on the line and give yourself plenty of time to return to the office with lunch.
2) For those of you who need large quantities of bulk cut meat for either the office or home, order online ahead of time. If you need more than 5 pounds of bulk meat (per customer order), you can call or email at least 24 hours ahead of time. Noon sharp Thursday is the cut off. Your food will be cut and ready for you to pick up at 10:30am. If you don’t get there by 10:30, you’ll still have to wait in line to be fair to all our other customers. This is for meat only and does not include sandwiches because we prefer to make those as fresh as possible. Please get your orders in early as we will only be able to accept a limited amount of advanced orders to be ready to open the doors on time. Phones are not answered during our Friday event. We are too busy!
- See more at:

If you haven't made the trip to north Dallas to Cattleack, you're missing some great BBQ.
Owner and pitmaster Todd David uses gas to cook is meat, but don't let that deter you. Todd shows it really is possible to get flavor from a gasser if you know how to use it.

CattleAck BBQ, 13628 Gamma Road, Dallas, 972-499-0999. Open: Fridays 11am-til the meat runs out. Website: 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mayor Rawlings said he wants Pecan Lodge to stay … in Dallas

Pitmaster Justin Fourton holds the infamous Slim Pickins sign given to the last person in line at Pecan Lodge.
(Photo@Daniel Goncalves/

There's a follow-up to our earlier item on the strange behavior of the new owners of the Dallas Farmers Market as they try, supposedly, to work out a deal to keep Pecan Lodge at the market.

Robert Wilonsky of The Dallas Morning News reports that on Friday – the day our item appeared – Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings stopped by Pecan Lodge for lunch and a chat with owner/pitmaster Justin Fourton.

Afterward, Rawlings made his position clear:

While he can’t control what the Farmers Market does -- earlier this year, the city sold the downtown landmark to private developers -- he’ll do whatever he can to make sure Pecan Lodge remains somewhere in Dallas.

“Let me say, as the mayor of Dallas and a big fan of Pecan Lodge, we’re not going to lose them to a different city,” the mayor told Wilonsky.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss?

Pitmaster Justin Fourton works the pit during the early days of Pecan Lodge. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)

Will Pecan Lodge stay at Dallas Farmers Market?

I have no idea. And neither does anyone else writing on the subject.

My guess is there are two people on Earth who know the answer: Justin and Diane Fourton, Pecan Lodge’s owners.

Even they might not be sure.

As we’ve written before, the Fourtons have kept their cards close to their butchers’ aprons as they weigh their options. They say they’d like to stay at the downtown Dallas market where, in just three years, they’ve built one of Texas’ great barbecue joints. At the same, they know there are landlords all over town, including the suburbs, who would love to have them and the long lines of satisfied customers they attract every day.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Echoes of Pat Gee's at Whup's Boomerang Bar-B-Q in Marlin

A hand-painted sign greets you at Whup's Boomerang Barbecue in Marlin. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)

Our first view of Whup’s Boomerang Bar-B-Q in Marlin brought back some nice memories. We hadn’t seen such a genuinely classic-looking joint since our last visit to Pat Gee’s in the woods east of Tyler.

While Pat’s is nestled among pine trees and pasture on a rural road, Whup’s is on a thinly settled residential street where the edge of town invades the country.

A hand-painted sign – the Posse loves hand-painted BBQ signs – greets visitors to a small building that has been remodeled over the years. A covered patio is out front, where customers can eat after ordering at a service window. The pits are in the back.

We started at the back and talked to owner-pitmaster Ben Washington, who explained the joint’s name.

“My dad was Whup and there were 12 of us little whups,” he said.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Back for more: BBQ Signs of our Times

Marshall's BBQ, Garland, Texas. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves/

BBQ Signs of our Times is back once again,with more memorable signs from our last trip to Central Texas on the Heart of Texas BBQ Tour and other Posse stops over the past couple of months. This blog post number eight of classic BBQ signs. You can use the search box in the upper right of the Posse blog homepage if you'd like to see some other sign posts, just search "BBQ Signs of Our Times".

If you happen to see a great sign while you're out on the Texas BBQ Trail, please snap a photo and keep us in mind. If you're a fan of our Texas BBQ Posse Facebook page, you can upload a photo for us to include on a future BBQ signs blog post.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The power of return customers on display at Kirby's Barbeque in Mexia

A customer arrives at Kirby's Barbeque in Mexia. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)

Luckily, we got to Kirby’s Barbeque near Mexia about 11:30 on Friday morning. So, at noon, while the line of lunch customers was building, we were already eating some excellent brisket and some very good ribs.

At one point, Posse veteran Bruce Tomaso counted 20 people waiting to order at this rural barbecue outpost about 90 miles south of Dallas.

Considering that Big D is roughly 150 times larger than Mexia, population nearly 8,000, Tomaso calculated that an equivalent line at Pecan Lodge would number 3,000.

That drove home a common theme during our 10-hour, 318-mile Heart of Texas BBQ Tour.

“In this part of the world, if they don’t come back and see you, you don’t stay in business very long.” Kirby’s owner and pitmaster Kirby Hyden said of his customers.

Monday, August 5, 2013

At Miller's Smokehouse in Belton, expansion means same great barbecue and now a bar, too

Pitmaster and owner Dirk Miller stands outside Miller's Smokehouse in Belton. (Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)

On the looks-like scale, Dirk Miller is closer to Kris Kringle than Tom Cruise.

But the owner of Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton was channeling Cruise from Risky Business when we visited last week during our Heart of Texas BBQ Tour.

For Miller, too, the dream is always the same:

He awakes and the sun is shining through his windows, meaning it’s 8 a.m., meaning he overslept, meaning he didn’t get the pits fired by the required 2 or 3 a.m., meaning disaster for his barbecue joint.

 “And I think, well, there won’t be ribs and brisket today,” Miller said.

The Posse has been high on Miller’s since co-founder Chris Wilkins and Marshall Cooper went there in early 2012. Wilkins declared the meats he tasted “nothing short of sensational.”

Other Posse members, on their own, have confirmed Wilkins’ view. But this was our first visit as a group.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Here's how you can beat the long lines at Pecan Lodge in Dallas

The legendary Trough at Pecan Lodge, with a side of mac & cheese. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)

We just got this note from Diane and Justin Fourton, owners of Pecan Lodge, detailing some big changes at one of the great BBQ joints in Texas:

Dear Friends,

Just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know that we've been working on a few things to help make it easier for those coming down to eat with us. Starting today, we are happy to announce that the following options are now available:

1. A second cash register has been added that will primarily serve as an "Express Line" for those ordering 5lbs or more. This means at any time (without notice) you can walk up and place your order without waiting in the main line.

2. Pre-Orders can be made with 2 days advanced noticed by sending an email to Pre-Orders must be for whole products (whole briskets, racks of ribs, etc) and can be picked up anytime from 11am to 3pm on days that we're open.

We appreciate everyone's patience as we continue our's to sharing the love one smokey bite at time!

All the best,
Justin and Boss Lady

Pecan Lodge, 1010 South Pearl Expressway, Farmer's Market Shed #2, 214-748-8900. Open: Wed-Sun 11am-til the meat runs out.