Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fisher's Barbecue

About once a month, the Fisher family makes the drive from Houston and sets up their BBQ tent behind the Continental Club in Austin (They're regular purveyors at the Continental Club in Houston.). I made my first visit a couple of weeks ago and got one order of pork ribs ($5). A tad dry, but they had great flavor. The Fishers were nice folks. I'll go back.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Quick stop at Laird's Bar-B-Q

Before we left Llano, I stopped into Laird's Bar-B-Q. I wasn't hungry, so all I ordered was a quarter chicken (dark). It was the middle of the afternoon, so I guess I wasn't too surprised that the chicken was too dry. I'll have to go back during lunch time, order more food, and give the place a fair shake.

Laird's Barbeque & Catering on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ranch Road 620 BBQ

I took my time heading up Ranch Road 620 from Highway 71 earlier today. Started off by dropping off a POP display and some cards to new Q-Card affiliate Buster's BBQ in Lakeway. Saw the pit, took some pics, and stayed for lunch. Then headed North, so I could take a scenic route back to Austin, and saw a BBQ trailer off to the right, just a couple of miles from Buster's. Smoke Shack has been open just 7 weeks. Took some pics and had some brisket. I didn't stop at Smokey J's at the intersection of RR 620 and RM 2222, but since I had a large Rudy's cup in my car, I stopped into Rudy's (just North of 2222) for a $1.08 Trophy refill of iced tea. So, by my count, if you're traveling along 620 between Buster's and Rudy's (10.6-mile stretch), you've got 4 BBQ options. And it's a beautiful drive, to boot. Enjoy.

Jacob's pics from Whup's

Jacob storms Marlin

A few weekends ago, Jacob made a stop at Whup's Boomerang BBQ in Marlin (one of several BBQ stops that weekend, if I recall correctly). I don't know which spelling of BBQ is correct, b/c it's written 3 different ways in the pictures Jacob sent me. Anyway, here's what he had to say about it (pics coming up later today):

Marlin, Texas, may not be the BBQ Capital of Texas, but for such a small city it sure has alot of BBQ places. When I pulled into town and checked it out on my GPS, I got no less than 9 hits for BBQ. I already knew where I was going to try however, I just need the address, so I took the road to the outskirts of town and arrived at Boomerang BBQ. Located right next to a nice sized house (I assume the owner lives there, while he and his family all work at the BBQ joint) with a big parking lot and a bit outside of downtown, I could smell the smoke even before my car door opened.

Typically I want to try alot of different things, and I'm use to ordering alot of meat at a 1/4lb each because no one sells 5 meat plates. Well Boomerang BBQ is a place that realizes hungry people aren't alway rich, and don't always want to be limited to 1 or 2 things. They had a combo plate that included a link of sausage, a hot link, a portion of brisket, and a rib. This with two sides and a drink cost me less than $10, and instantly became the best deal I have had on any of my BBQ trip anywhere.

Low prices did not translate to low quality. The exact opposite is true, as this place served me a big heaping rib, a large piece of sausage, and great portion of brisket that was well marbled with fat, along with two big scoops of sides. I will get the sides out of the way first. Mr Washington is the pit master, and I assume if you were to make a comment to him about the sides, he would say, "who comes to BBQ joints for the sides." He is right and the same holds for his offerings. Beans were canned and potato salad was mediocre by all counts. I didn't come for sides however, so lets talk about the real prize.

The hotlink was a fat and stubby bright red sausage that looked just a tad dried out. Sadly the taste was not of "hot" at all and a bit dull. It also had a rubbery taste to it. This was the one item I would do without that I ordered. Sausage link on the other hand was cooked perfectly. It had a snappy casing and the meat inside was perfectly moist. The flavor was nice, and while the texture could have been a bit better (this is due to the fact that it is commercial and not homemade I'm sure) the fact that it was cooked 100% perfect made up for it. Brisket also was great, being smoked perfectly itself. You could taste both the hickory and post oak flavor and it was perfect. The fatty piece I had was very moist and every bit full of smoke flavor. The rub didn't have much "bang" to it however, thus the bark (while crispy) was a bit lacking. I also noticed the two lean cuts I had from the top portion were just at the edge of being dried out, but still perfect smokiness. The rib followed suit nicely with the same great smoky flavor, but also a nice sweet and spicy flavor to the rub. It was also super meaty and almost completely feel off the bone. Rib was my highlight meat.

All in all this was a great trip. I also got to talk with the pit master out back for a bit and he showed me around and told me about how he got into BBQ. I'm sure glad he did because he is doing it better than 85% of the people out there, and is a man who knows his meat. The biggest problem for him is that Marlin is one of those, "middle of nowhere" Texas cities. You really will never be "driving by" Marlin unless you are headed there or an equally small nearby city. That is a shame because this place is real good.

Hot Link- 2.5
Sausage- 7.75
Brisket- 8.5 for fatty, 6 for lean
Rib- 9.25
Atmosphere- 8.5

Whup's Boomerang Barbecue on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Battle BBQ: Texas v. New York City

It's been more than 2 months since our last round of Battle BBQ, so we're due for another. This week's challenger is none other than New York City. At this point, you're probably recalling those Pace Picante commercials that end with "New York City?!?!" However, believe it or not, the City That Never Sleeps is no stranger to BBQ (though a couple of their popular BBQ restaurants are Texan named; just sayin'). But can the home of the Big Apple BBQ festival and the likes of Rub, Blue Smoke, Brother Jimmy's, Southern Hospitality, Hill Country, Dallas, Daisy May's, Dinosaur, and Virgil's really stack up against the BBQ we dish out down here in the Lone Star State? You decide.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Meet Man Up: Todd Plunk

Hometown: Flower Mound, Texas

Favorite thing about your hometown: Seeing how much it has changed since the last time I've been back.

Least favorite thing about your hometown: Small-town state of mind.

Occupation: Event Marketing

Todd, every time we look up, you're in another city or country. Of all the places you've been (outside of Texas), where's your favorite? Italy, hands down!

And where's your least favorite? Iowa. Sorry, Des Moines. :(

When you're not eating BBQ or globetrotting, where is our best bet to find you? In my yard for sure. I love a fresh cut lawn and just started my own backyard garden!

College: THE University of Texas

Should Texas have left the Big 12? No. Until the NCAA can figure out how to run a football playoff system, the new Big 12 is the best place we can be.

Favorite BBQ (menu item): Pork ribs or brisket

Least-favorite BBQ (menu item): Coleslaw or potato salad...disgusting

Favorite BBQ joints: Kreuz, Smitty's, & Louie Mueller

Sauce or no sauce? I swing either way on this.

You're our resident dessert expert. Which BBQ joint has the best dessert(s)? Schoepf's peach cobbler in Belton

Favorite Man-Up outing or memory: Our first trip will always be the best one. Lockhart set the bar pretty high.

Monday, July 26, 2010

QOTD: Would you like a side of flies with that?

On our Texas BBQ travels, we often encounter swarms of flies that want in on the action. We've swatted while dining outside, we've swatted while dining inside. We've swatted flies away from the community pickles and onions. We've sat next to windowsills littered with flies from days gone by. Is this a negative? Some say no. Seriously, quit whining. Did you come here to eat meat? And can you really expect BBQ joints, particularly ones with outdoor pits, with their doors opening all day, not to have an infiltration of hungry flies? That's it. Go wait in the car. Others yes. Just hang some water bags already! Flies: nasty nuisance or just part of an authentic Texas BBQ experience?

Coming up...

More from Llano & Fredericksburg

Recap and pics from another BBQ road trip by Jacob

New round of Battle BBQ

Pics and more video from our entry in the Take On Turkey Challenge

Amir, Josh, & Todd hit up Texas Rib Kings

Another installment of Meet Man Up

*On Friday, we announced a new Texas BBQ Giveaway. Enter to win one of three prizes from Blue Ribbon Barbecue!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tomorrow morning: Free breakfast tacos at Blue Ribbon Barbecue!!!

Free breakfast tacos at Blue Ribbon Barbecue (4th & Brazos) tomorrow morning (Monday, July 26) from 7-8 am!!!

Texas BBQ Wannabes: 25-30

Bennett's BBQ - Texas Style BBQ (Colorado, Tennessee, & North Carolina). Note the Texas state flag waving at the top of the website.

Kin Folks Texas Style BBQ (Altoona, Iowa)

Cecil's Texas Style Bar-B-Q (2 Florida locations)

Shaw's Texas Style BBQ (Hercules, California)

Backwoods BBQ - Mesquite Smoked Texas Style BBQ (Corona, California)

Cedar River Smoke House - Texas Style BBQ (Renton, Washington)

Updated list:

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)
9. Dr. Hogly Wogly’s Tyler Texas BBQ (Van Nuys, CA)
10. Barn Burner Texas Barbeque (Pasadena, CA)
11. JR’s Texas Bar-B-Que (Sacramento, CA)
12. Texas West BBQ (3 California locations)
13. Tootie’s Texas Barbeque (Cathedral City, CA)
14. Armadillo Willy’s Real Texas BBQ (Los Altos, CA)
15. The Original Texas Barbecue King (Los Angeles)
16. Longhorn Barbecue (3 Washington locations)
17. Bubb's Big Texas Style BBQ (Big Bend, WI)
18. The Texas BBQ Company (Northborough, MA)
19. DJ's Texas Style BBQ (Lewiston, ME)
20. Serious Texas BBQ (3 Colorado locations)
21. Abbey's Real Texas Bar-B-Q (San Diego, California)
22. Jake's Authentic Texan Bar B-Q (Rensselaer, NY)
23. Buster's Texas Style Barbecue (3 Oregon locations)
24. Howard's Bar-B-Q Service (Portland, OR)
25. Bennett's BBQ - Texas Style BBQ (Colorado, Tennessee, & North Carolina)
26. Kin Folks Texas Style BBQ (Altoona, IA)
27. Cecil's Texas Style Bar-B-Q (2 Florida locations)
28. Shaw's Texas Style BBQ (Hercules, CA)
29. Backwoods BBQ - Mesquite Smoked Texas Style BBQ (Corona, CA)
30. Cedar River Smoke House - Texas Style BBQ (Renton, WA)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Too late at Cranky Frank's!!!

After hitting up The Peach Pit, we spent a little too much time on Main St. Fredericksburg to get to Cranky Frank's Barbeque Company in time to eat. They close at 4pm on Saturdays, and we got there at 4:30. I saw a guy walking out with a to-go order, and it smelled quite nice. Such a tease (the food, not the guy). Here's their menu. I did, however, get to meet the owner, Angela, who was nice enough to let me walk around and take some pics. I'm also happy to say that Cranky Frank's is a recent affiliate of The Q Card. Use your card at Cranky Frank's to get 10% off any dine-in order!!! I'll be heading back to F-Town soon to have my first bite there.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Texas BBQ Giveaway #5: Blue Ribbon Barbecue (Austin, Texas)

I'm pleased to announce our 5th Texas BBQ Giveaway. This one comes to you courtesy of the newest BBQ joint in Austin (and the latest affiliate of The Q Card): Blue Ribbon Barbecue. Same rules as always: Email me your answers (Don't leave them as comments.) to any/all of the questions below. Please include your name and hometown. Each correct answer gets your name in the hat (both parts of each question must be correct), and we'll draw a winner (Smart money is on consulting BRB's website for the answers.). Man Uppers aren't eligible. Maximum of one prize per winner. Contest is open through August 23.

#1: Who owns Blue Ribbon Barbecue, and how many years of experience does he/she have in the Texas BBQ business?

Prize: Official Blue Ribbon Barbecue T-shirt

#2: How many meats does Blue Ribbon Barbecue sell by the pound, and how many side items are available?

Prize: Small Family Pack (1.5 pounds of meat, 3 pints of sides, sauce, pickles, onions, peppers, & bread - $28 value)

#3: The owner's grandfather was a legendary Texas BBQ restaurateur. What was his name, and where did he open his first BBQ restaurant?

Prize: Large Family Pack (2.5 pounds of meat, 4 pints of sides, sauce, pickles, onions, peppers, & bread - $44 value)

Check back this morning at 10:30...

We're announcing a new Texas BBQ Giveaway!!!

Last day to vote for our "Take On Turkey Challenge" video!!!

You've got one last day to show our Texas Turkey Meatloaf Burgers some love. C' it for the kids!!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Event Announcement: The 33rd Annual Taylor International Barbeque Cookoff

What: The 33rd Annual Taylor International Barbeque Cookoff
When: Saturday, August 21, 2010
Where: Murphy Park, Taylor, Texas
How much: $6 at gate
Info: Cookoff, vendors, & an arts and crafts show. Judging of the meats, rigs, & showmanship begins at 11:30 a.m. Results announced at approximately 5:00 p.m.
* The Q Card will be there with a booth, selling cards. Stop by and see us!

Blue Ribbon Barbecue: Before & After

I made my first visit to Blue Ribbon Barbecue a couple of days ago. I didn't eat as much as I normally would have, since I had just come from a lunch meeting, but I cleaned my plate of brisket, sausage, pork rib, green beans, and corn (Sorry for the quality; didn't have my camera.). Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe BRB is the most centrally located BBQ restaurant in Austin (4th & Brazos). Should be a hit with the downtown lunch crowds.

I am thrilled that Blue Ribbon has signed on as the 30th affiliate of The Q Card. I spent an hour with proprietor Bobby Cavo, who is the grandson of the late Texas BBQ legend Rudy Mikeska. Bobby is a super-nice guy. Stop by to see him and grab a bite. BRB is a welcome addition to the downtown lunch scene. Wait, not just lunch. Starting Monday, BRB will be serving breakfast tacos!

Blue Ribbon Barbecue on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Huge thanks to our friends at for emailing this announcement about the Central Texas BBQ article I wrote for them:

Event Announcement: The Geo Affair (food from The Shed BBQ's Rolling Joint)

What: The Geo Affair. "Join TRIBEZA in Taylor, Texas at The Zidell House in celebration of the recently completed Geodesic structure and to help support the revitalization of Robinson Park." The Shed BBQ's Rolling Joint will be smoking a whole hog!
When: Saturday July 24, 2010 at 6:00 PM
Where: The Zidell House, 2015 West Lake Drive, Taylor, Texas. Parking across the street at the Clark Mansion.
How much: $16 (adults), $8 (children); tickets not available at door; purchase here; proceeds benefit the revitalization of Taylor's Robinson Park

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Blue Ribbon or Bust

I'm about to walk into Blue Ribbon Barbecue, which just opened in downtown Austin. Looking forward to it. KPC and Bo hit it up yesterday for lunch and sent me a succinct review: "It's legit." Here's the pic they emailed me:

Two Bros. BBQ Market highlighted in Taste of the South magazine!

The current edition of Taste of the South magazine has a big feature on San Antonio restaurants, and they highlighted one BBQ joint: Two Bros. BBQ Market. I'm happy about this for a couple of reasons: (1) Two Bros. is an affiliate of The Q Card (the only San Antonio affiliate, in fact - get in the game, San Antone!). Show your card to get a free order of smoked jalapenos, with any order of a "2 Bros" or "4 Bros" pack! Follow them on Twitter. (2) Taste of the South is one of the great mags published by Hoffman Media. The Hoffmans are dear family friends of mine, and they've got a great thing going, even as print media is suffering all over. Check out their lineup of magazines.

Monday, July 19, 2010

"Gettin' Sauced!" Announcement #1

Planning for the 2nd Annual Gettin' Sauced! has been underway for a few weeks now. We'll announce details as they emerge, but we're ready to make our first announcement: Next year's contest will be open to BBQ sauces from Texas AND outside of Texas!!! This year's event was open only to sauces from the Lone Star State, and we drew 45 sauces - woulda been more had we accepted the sauces that attempted to enter after the entry deadline.

We're hoping for even more sauces this year and are excited to see which sauces we can attract from across the country and even from overseas. Most likely, we will have 3 contest divisions (restaurants, retailers, and non-commercial), each with multiple sauce categories, but we will announce those details when they are finalized.

Stay tuned for more announcements, including date, venue, live music, etc. BTW, we have created a Gettin' Sauced! website (under development) and a Twitter page, so check 'em out!

Austin's BBQ bus now has a website, for your viewing pleasure. See some pics, read reviews, browse the menu, find locations & hours, and get contact info, so you can get in touch with Dan or Trey. I'm proud to have Old School as an affiliate of The Q Card. Stop by and use your card to get a free order of their homemade fries, with any purchase of $5 or more. And be sure to follow Old School on Twitter. All of our posts about Old School are here.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Man Up Takes on Turkey: Vote for our video!!!

Man Up was invited to enter the Honeysuckle White/Shady Brook Farms "Take On Turkey Challenge." Each contestant was asked to create a recipe (that takes no more than 1 hour) using one of the turkey products available from Honeysuckle White and to submit both the receipe and a video of no more than 6 minutes. Our entry: Texas Turkey Meatloaf Burgers.

Our video is the 6th from the top (the one whose thumbnail is a picture of 10 burgers on the grill) - that's the one you wanna click on, folks. You can vote once per day through this Friday, so show us some love! Because, let's be honest, squaring off against our buddies from Full Custom Gospel BBQ and El Emokeador y Smokehopper, we're gonna need it! VOTE HERE!!!

Here's the video on the contest's YouTube page (can view here but not vote; to vote, go to the contest's website):

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Blue Ribbon Barbecue opens in Austin!!!

Blue Ribbon Barbecue is Austin's newest BBQ purveyor! Find BRB at the base of the Frost Bank building (120 E 4th St.), and check them out on Facebook and Twitter. It's owned and operated by Bobby Cavo, who has some serious Texas BBQ history to his name. I'll be making my first visit next week, but if someone beats me to the punch, email me and tell me what you think - and send pics!

Brisket in Bama?

Back in Alabama for a few days, so I hit up Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q in Jasper for lunch earlier this week. I got to visit with their GM, Mark Kibler, for most of my lunch. Knowing I'm out in Texas, he wanted me to try their brisket. Not many places in Alabama serve brisket - though more and more are starting to - but theirs is worth a taste. You probably won't be able to tell from the picture I took with my phone, but it had a nice smoke ring, and the fat was pretty well rendered. It didn't need the sauce he brought out with it, but I used some of it anyway, b/c it was dang good. Mark is a ridiculously nice guy and a fellow cigar smoker, to boot. I'll be paying him (and his brisket) another visit next time I'm home.

Friday, July 16, 2010

First stop in Fredericksburg: The Peach Pit BBQ

Driving down Main Street Fredericksburg (while looking for another BBQ joint), we passed The Peach Pit BBQ (342 West Main) and decided to make it our first stop of the day. Since we'd never heard of it and, perhaps, since it was on Main Street, I don't think we expected much going in, but we all enjoyed it. We got a half chicken, pulled pork, brisket, and some pork ribs - which are small and soft. I don't remember a bone in them. These were not ribs that you hold on to with both hands and get messy with. They use a good bit of cracked pepper on all their meats, which is a plus in my book. The brisket and pulled pork didn't have a great deal of moisture, but they were also not dried out. The chicken was quite good. I thought the staff were all quite friendly, and we appreciated that the owner took the time to show us the pit. If you're spending the day in Fredericksburg, it's worth a stop.

Peach Pit on Urbanspoon