Sunday, February 28, 2010

"Gettin' Sauced!" is one week from today!!!

Gettin' Sauced!, our Texas BBQ sauce contest, will be held in Austin one week from today (March 7) at 5 pm at Franklin Barbecue. Free admission, 45 sauces, free BBQ, free desserts, free refreshments, 3 live-music acts, tons of door prizes, and the chance to visit with BBQ joints and sauce vendors from throughout the state. Later this week, I'll post all of the final details, so stay tuned. Hope to see you there!

The rest from Smitty's

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Coolest. Sister. Ever.

Left my new camera at home in Alabama over the holidays and just this past week got it, when my mom visited. Found some pics I took of my sister (who will strike any number of poses like it's nobody's business) with a batch of pulled pork. So, two of the most amazing things in the world. How could I not post the pics?

Manning up today at...

Pok-e-jo's Smokehouse at Brodie Oaks (Austin) at noon. Pok-e-jo's will have a table at Gettin' Sauced!, so be sure to stop by and visit with them. Many thanks to the fine folks at Pok-e-jo's for the Gettin' Sauced! mention on their blog. Also, in the coming weeks, we'll be announcing a new Texas BBQ Giveaway, courtesy of Pok-e-jo's!!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

"Gettin' Sauced!" Giveaway

In addition to our current Texas BBQ Giveaway from Black's Barbecue in Lockhart, we're starting a new giveaway for Gettin' Sauced!, our March 7 Texas BBQ sauce contest in Austin. Inspired by the many posters Brad and I just put up around South Congress and South First, we're gonna give away something (most likely, an official Gettin' Sauced! t-shirt) to the person who finds the most posters around town. For every place you find, email us, and I'll count that as one. If you email a pic of yourself next to the poster, I'll count that one 3 times.

Now, of course, I don't expect people to trek out in search of posters (although that would be kinda awesome...yet mostly pathetic); but if you happen to see one at, oh, I don't know, a coffee shop, bar, restaurant, gym, or cigar shop, shoot us an email at I'll count all emails received before the event starts (5 PM on Sunday, March 7). And, b/c I know they're gonna ask, Man Uppers (sans Brad) may actually enter this giveaway!

Go-to Rudy's lunch

It's been a while since I've posted a less-than-clear phone pic of my standard (i.e. once or twice a week) Rudy's lunch (half chicken, pickles, and a large iced tea), so here's yesterday's from the 620 location in Austin:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Gettin' Sauced!" posters are in.

If you ask me, they're awesome. Thanks to Brad (who designed them), to Rich (who drew the bull), and to Bovine Press (who screen printed them on stock-quality paper). Look for 'em around town, and we'll save a few to sell at the event. We'll also sell 'em through the web for $5 per poster (plus any applicable shipping costs), so email us ( if you want 1 or more.

"Gettin' Sauced!" Live Music

The live-music lineup is nailed down for Gettin' Sauced! Three 1-hour acoustic sets. Here's the schedule (give or take a few minutes):

5-6 PM: Roger Wallace (MySpace)

6:15-7:15 PM:
Andrea Marie & the Magnolia Band (MySpace)

7:30-8:30 PM:
Shane Smith & the Six Gun Saints

Take a look at their sites, get excited, and join us!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010: Smitty's Market (Lockhart, Texas)

Our party of 24 for our visit to Smitty’s set a new attendance record for us. As with most outings these days, we had several first timers – something we love. Join us, folks!

My take on this visit is the same as my usual take: a classic atmosphere (except for the dining rooms), with detached service and great pork ribs (Dave says the ribs are "outstanding; a good amount of smokiness and a slightly sweet bast really blended well with the flavor of the meat!"). Standing next to a fire on the floor, while you wait to order and watch the men cut meat and wrap it in butcher paper = awesome. Paying for pickles = not awesome. Not being able to pay with a credit card = also not awesome.

Jenny, who manned up with us for the first time but who has quickly become a photo-snapping fixture, gives us her first review: “Brisket: some of the better brisket I've had, but I'm not a big fan of brisket. Pork ribs: Excellent glaze, good and savory flavor! It had the kind of taste that really makes me feel like I'm in the South. It was a little dry, but I'm fairly certain that's because we got there after their peak of readiness. Atmosphere: Definitely an old-fashioned meat market, lunch counter kind of feel. I was a little intrigued by the fact that there was someone whose job it was to just give you onions, tomatoes, and the like. It somehow added a more human element to it with this unavoidable face-to-face interaction that I'm guessing you don't get as much of in most meat markets. Still, it was rather cold for a while when you first walk in, and they force you to stand in that long, cold line for quite a while.”

One trip to Smitty’s in the summer, when you stand next to a fire on the floor, while you wait to order, and Jenny will be singin’ a different tune about the temp. Can I get an “Amen!”???

Russell was impressed by the manly showing of 24 but not by the beef: “Amazing that we brought 24 Man Uppers to Smitty’s! I was not disappointed in our manning up in mass like we did…but I was a bit disappointed in Smitty’s rubbery brisket on this day. It sort of tasted like day old pork loin, which is not terrible, just ‘off.’ Clearly an ‘off day’ for them. BBQ can be so hard to make consistent, especially brisket, and I think they may have cooked theirs too long or something. Smitty’s pork ribs were awwwwesome, as usual with that sweeeeet sauce, but not exactly falling off the bone on this day. they’re not too hospitable, especially for small town folks, but hey it’s a meat market!… and Smitty’s authentic meat market atmosphere...luv the site and smell of that pit fire that meats you at the door!”

Jason writes, “Pork ribs – had the skinny ends, a little overcooked, and real jerky-like. I’ll remember to ask for middle parts of the rib). Sausage – seems like they use less pork fat; I like J not super greasy like it normally was it was quite nice). Brisket – not their best but still great flavor and decent tenderness. Iced tea – this is how tea should taste!”

Todd says Smitty’s is “a staple and must visit BBQ joint in Texas, just remember to take cash.” He deducted 2 points for service b/c of the cash-only policy. I’m not a fan of it either.

Jenny’s scores – Brisket: 7; Pork ribs: 9.2; Atmosphere: 8; Overall experience: 8.14

Russell’s scores – Brisket: 7.05; Pork ribs: 9.89; Service: 7.75; Atmosphere: 10; Overall experience: 9.42

Jason’s scores – Brisket: 8.7; Pork ribs: 8.2; Sausage: 9.7; Iced tea: 9.9; Overall experience: 9.25
Todd’s scores – Pork ribs: 9.8; Blue Bell ice cream cone: 10; Sweet tea: 9.8; Service: 7.5; Atmosphere: 9.4; Overall experience: 9.5

Drew’s scores – Pork ribs: 9.65; Atmosphere: 8.8; Service: 7; Overall experience: 8.85

Dave's scores – Pork ribs: 10; Brisket: 6.5; Overall experience: 8.5

Amir’s scores – Brisket: 8; Sausage: 9.75; Pork ribs: 9.75; Overall experience: 9

Overall Man-Up Score: 8.95

Smitty's Market on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Recap: Best of 2009

If you weren't around when we handed out our 11 Best of 2009 awards, this will get you up to speed:

1. Best Pork Chop: Opie's
2. Best Pork: Snow's
3. Best Turkey: Mills County BBQ Company
4. Best Chicken: The Salt Lick
5. Best Beef Ribs: Meyer's
6. Best Pork Ribs: Smitty's
7. Best Sausage: Louie Mueller
8. Best Brisket: Meyer's
9. Best Service: Louie Mueller
10. Best Atmosphere: The Salt Lick
11. Best Overall: Opie's

Most awards (1st, 2nd, & 3rd places): Opie's Barbecue (Spicewood): 7 awards; Louie Mueller Barbecue (Taylor): 6 awards; Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse (Elgin): 5 awards

Congrats to all of our winners!!! We'll present your award posters as soon as we can.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Welcome to the blogosphere, Black's Barbecue!

(And thanks for the mentions!)

Black's Barbecue has started a blog, so be sure to bookmark it! And don't forget that, thanks to the generosity of the folks at Black's, we're giving away some great stuff from them. You have until March 10 to enter. Quick, easy, and free, so don't delay!

Event announcement: BBQ documentary showing at Scholz Garten (Austin)

Barbecue: A Texas Love Story & Ghost Town: 24 hours in Terlingua

Both movies were produced by Chris Elley, a TLU grad and Emmy winner! Chris will be at the screening to talk about his films with you!

What: Texas Lutheran Austin Film Night
Where: Scholz Garten, 1607 San Jacinto, Austin , TX
When: Thursday, Feb. 25 @ 6 p.m.
Cost: $7 (includes entry, food and non-alcoholic drinks)

RSVP to Taylor Carleton,

Coming up..

1. Recap of Best of 2009 awards

2. Review of Smitty's Market (Lockhart)

3. Announcement of live music for Gettin' Sauced!

4. Two things I love: pulled pork and my sister

5. Review of Black's Barbecue (Lockhart)

6. More Texas BBQ Wannabes

7. Review of Kreuz Market (Lockhart)

8. Review of Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse (Elgin)

9. Review of Franklin Barbecue (Austin)

10. Final information for Gettin' Sauced!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The rest from Two Bros. BBQ Market

Who says Man Uppers aren't cultured?

We knew (at least we hoped) that it would happen sooner or later. Man Up is too big to contain. You just have to let it take you where it takes you. Naturally, the meat fest that is Man Up Texas BBQ now leads us into the wild and wooly world of duck and goose liver. Ladies and gentlemen, courtesy of our very own Ryan Appleton, I proudly present Man Up Foie Gras!!! Drink it in, folks. Every drop.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Best of 2009: Best Overall

We've finally come to our 11th and final Best of 2009 award. As with all of our awards, the overall award goes to the joint that stood out above the rest of the 50+ joints we hit up in 2009. Only 1 joint from our Best Overall of 2008 (at #1) appears on this year's list (at #2). Just 1 point separates this year's #1 and #2, so it was a close one, folks. Same winners as for Best Atmosphere of 2009 but in reverse order. Without further ado, here are last year's best of the best:

1. Opie's Barbecue (Spicewood): 25 points

2. Louie Mueller Barbecue (Taylor): 24 points

3. The Salt Lick (Driftwood): 17 points

Others receiving votes: Snow's BBQ, Smitty's Market, Mills County BBQ Company, Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse, City Market, Kreuz Market, Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que (New Braunfels), Schoepf's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Texas BBQ Wannabe: 8

#8 on our list of Texas BBQ Wannabes comes to us from, well, #8. Sorta. After receiving their initial email entitled Texas BBQ Wannabe???, I’ve had a good time this week emailing back and forth with West Texas Barbeque Co., a catering company in Jackson, Michigan. Their contention: “We’re not a wannabe; we’re the real thing!” And they very well may be.

For those who weren’t around when we kicked off this new feature, ending up on our list of Texas BBQ Wannabes doesn’t mean that we think you’re a Texas BBQ poser. We're not hating on you. We’re not passing judgment. All it takes to get on the list is to be a BBQ joint/caterer outside of Texas and have something Texan in your name or tagline. But "BBQ joint outside of Texas but with ‘Texas’ or something Texan in your name or tagline" just doesn’t roll of your tongue, so I had to come up with something a little catchier. With that said, here are a couple of emails West Texas Barbeque Co. sent me this week. Love ‘em!!!

Email #1 (from the father)

Hey guys...

Might as well go ahead and put me on your "Wannabes" list. I'm cookin' Texas barbeque up in Michigan, that's right, Michigan, Jackson, Michigan to be precise. Been cookin' it up here since 1985, when I started setting up on the street corner down in the hood and selling brisket sandwiches. Now you might also ought to know, I learned to cook barbeque while working on a small ranch down in Roanoke, Texas prior to that. I was lucky enough to have some of the locals, who I called "The Denton County Boys" take me under their wings and show me the ropes. Anyway, the real reason I wrote was to tell you guys to stop being so critical of everyones brisket. You can cook a hundred briskets all exactly the same way and you'll get about a hundred different results. Each and every piece of meat is going to be a little different. I've also noticed that even USDA Choice brisket isn't as well marbled as it was twenty-five years ago, especially the flat part. When you do get perfect brisket, thank the BBQ Gods! The stars have all aligned and you've been treated to something very special. Getting back to that Wannabes list; I've got to tell you, I've ate a whole lot of bad barbeque in Texas. I think the biggest reason is a lot of them ol' boys just plain don't care anymore, they're counting on their reputations to keep them going. I ate a place in Ft. Worth once and the sausage looked and tasted suspiciously like one of the major brands you see in the grocery store. Well, I asked the ol' gal working the counter if they made their own sausage and she assured me they did. As we were leaving, I noticed about twenty empty sausage boxes in the dumpster with that familiar major brands name on them. These kinds of tactics have done much to hurt the Texas barbeque business. Of course, I've had plenty of great barbeque in Texas as well. My personal favorite is Louie Mueller's. The meat is usually outstanding and that old building is exactly what a barbeque joint should be. Well, enough of my rambling, it's time to go out and check the pits, the folks will soon be here. I damn sure hope the brisket is good and moist today, I've worked up quite an appetite, this writin' is a whole lot of work...

As always...

"Big' Un"
Dan Huntoon
West Texas Barbeque Co.
2190 Brooklyn Rd.
Jackson, MI 49203

Email #2 (from the son)


My name is Justin Phelps and I am the son of Dan Huntoon, owner of West Texas Barbeque Co. in Jackson, MI. As much as my father was critical of the rating system with regards to brisket, we do agree that Man Up Texas BBQ Blog is a great way to highlight real Texas BBQ. The pictures alone are fantastic and having groups evaluate the joints are a great way to provide fair and balanced scores.

We cook real -no bullshit- Texas BBQ up here. My father started out selling brisket sandwiches on the street corner in 1985 and then moved on to regional festivals and then catering. The catering has been the primary focus for the past 15-16 years up until 2007. We've catered for groups as large as 5,000 but our typical crowds are 200-300 people. This ain't some mickey mouse catering operation, we're serious about it and have been for a long time. Throughout the catering years we regularly had "Saturday BBQs" where we sold brisket, ribs and turkey. This lead to us opening The BBQ Joint in February of 2007.

The BBQ Joint sticks out like a sore thumb out here in the land of pot roast, coneys and bowling. Its not fancy but it works for us. Our menu is limited in scope because we're not a restaurant, we're a BBQ Joint. No plastic menus, appetizers, salads or ice cream. Just BBQ and lots of it.

We cook with wood, 90% oak and a little bit of hickory. One look at the outside of our place and you'll see how serious we are about barbeque. We use indirect heat of course and dry rubs for the meats. Sauce is served on the side if people want it, we don't try to hide anything like the real wannabes up north.

I think that the point I'm trying to make, Drew, is that we're not Wannabes at all. That kind of label just sticks in your craw. It would take a dedicated person to make the trek outside of the BBQ Borderlands and scout the outposts of Texas BBQ. Most will be crap with no idea of the real McCoy but there ought to be a few worthy places out there. BBQ is always subjective and results vary at the same table like you say.

I'm sending along a couple of links to some historical photos and some of the early days of the BBQ Joint. I invite anyone associated with Man Up Texas BBQ to visit us here in Jackson, MI. I think you'll find a little taste of home all the way up north. Take care,

Justin Phelps
Pit Boss
West Texas Barbeque Co.
Jackson, MI

Here are a couple of links to some of their pics: &

And here's the updated Texas BBQ Wannabe list (BTW, I've found loads more, so plenty on the way.):

1. Texas Smokehouse (Decatur, AL)
2. Hill Country Barbecue (Manhattan)
3. Dallas BBQ (Manhattan)
4. Tim's Texas Bar-B-Q (Beijing)
5. Capital Q (Washington, DC)
6. Little Texas (Iasi, Romania)
7. Back Forty Texas BBQ (California)
8. West Texas Barbeque Co. (Jackson, MI)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"Gettin' Sauced!" Judges' Panel

Two sets of judging will take place at Gettin' Sauced! One will be the votes of the partygoers. Anyone in attendance will be able to taste and score all of the sauces. Those results will be tallied after the event and announced via the blog a few days later. The second set of judging will consist of a panel of invited judges whose results will be announced toward the end of the event. We're delighted to have such a great lineup of judges and pause today to tell you who they are:

Addie Broyles (Austin, TX): Food writer, Austin-American Statesman; blogger, Relish Austin; follow her on Twitter (and follow Relish Austin on Twitter here)

Bo Joseph (Austin, TX): Man Up Texas BBQ

Chris Reid (Houston, TX): Houston Foodie; follow him on Twitter

Daniel Vaughn (Dallas, TX): Full Custom Gospel BBQ; follow him on Twitter

Elizabeth Anderson (San Antonio, TX): blogger, Musings of The Waspy Redhead; follow her on Twitter

Jason Hicks (Austin, TX): Director of Events, Rare Magazine

Lisa Powell (Austin, TX): Co-contributor, The Republic of Barbecue

*Speaking of Gettin' Sauced!, a special thanks to our friend Jacob Reach for posting the event on Yelp. You can also find announcements on and Facebook.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

Latest news from Black's Barbecue

If you've signed up for the "Take Me Back to Black's Club," you've probably already seen this; if not, here's the latest from Black's Barbecue in Lockhart. Sincerest thanks to our friends at Black's for the kind mentions and links. Speaking of Black's, we're giving away some food and gear from them. It's free to enter, so don't miss out!

Two Bros. BBQ Market (San Antonio)

Before heading to Helotes to see Chris Knight at Floore's Country Store, I met some new friends for dinner at Two Bros. BBQ Market in North-Central San Antonio, a joint that's been open just a year now.

I was bummed that they were out of pork butt - the one thing I wanted above all else - but it was pushing 8 on a Friday night, so I wasn't too surprised. I had chopped beef ($8.50/lb), a chicken thigh ($2), and a cherry-glazed baby back ($14.50/lb). Overall, I found each of them too fatty, but that's a plus in some others' books. The smoked stuffed jalapenos were good, but I liked them better without the bacon. Call me crazy, but if I eat bacon, I want it to be a crispy slice, not a soft, fatty piece wrapped around something else. I enjoyed the tangy cole slaw, and their sauces were outstanding. We had terrific service, and the atmosphere was inviting. They've got a big place out back for kids (and BBQ bloggers) to play, and their pit was cool. I'd like to try it again for lunch sometime. Here are the first pics...

Two Bros. BBQ Market on Urbanspoon