Saturday, March 31, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

Begin entering our 3rd annual Gettin' Sauced! BBQ sauce contest...NOW!

This year's Gettin' Sauced! BBQ sauce contest/festival is Sat, Oct 27, but the entry form is ready, so why wait to make it available? As an incentive to enter early, all entries are discounted through July 31. In 2010 (the inaugural event), the event was open only to sauces from Texas, and we had 45 entries. Last year, when we opened it up to sauces from anywhere, we had 186 sauces from 26 states and 2 foreign countries. What will this year's 3rd annual event bring in? We shall see. Let the entries begin!!! (Stay updated via Twitter.)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Artz Rib House (Austin, TX) closed for good

Artz Rib House has closed before, but this time it's for good. My friend Addie Broyles, food writer for the Statesman, has the story. I ate there not too long ago. Good luck to them, whatever they do next.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lunch at Hays Co. Bar-B-Que (San Marcos, TX)

On Saturday, I stopped in San Marcos for lunch at Hays Co. Bar-B-Que. Half chicken and two pork ribs. After the meal, I had some brisket for dessert. Pics of that later. Only my 2nd time to stop in (It was called Woody's the first time I went.). Can't review the food b/c they're an affiliate of The Q Card. But I can ask, as I did that day via Twitter, "Why don't I go here more?" By the way, they're killing it, apparently. Slammed with business. Bringing in more staff. Word's out.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Let's build a BBQ bracket!

Aside from reminding me how superior college football is to basketball, March Madness has me thinking about building a bracket of 64 U.S. cities, so that readers can vote on which of the 64 has the best BBQ. Sooooo, let's do that. For a time, I will accept nominations for the pool of 64. Submit as many as you want via email, Twitter, and/or comment to this post. The top 64, by # of nominations, will make it into the pool. And, of course, the more nominated the city, the higher its seed. Not sure how long I will leave open the nomination period but at least long enough to get 64. So, have at it. NOMINATE!!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

3rd Annual Gettin' Sauced!, presented by...

Stoked to announce that Taste of the South magazine is repeating as Presenting Sponsor of Gettin' Sauced! Fortunately, we didn't scare them away last year, and they've come back for more. Hopefully, all of you who attended last year's festival are enjoying the free TOTS subscription that was offered to you (I am!). It's a wonderful periodical -- and not just because they've let me write for them. But...since I brought it up, my 2nd TOTS piece will appear in their annual BBQ issue, out in May. The BBQ issue will also contain a recap of last year's Gettin' Sauced! (including a writeup on all the sauce-contest winners), as well as a full-page ad for this year's! Can't wait to have the fantastic folks from TOTS out to Austin again this fall. They are a dream to work with, and we're fortunate to have them present this year's event...again!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Organic pulled pork? Yes, please.

Back in November, I posted my pics of a lunch from The Good You, a "mobile organic eatery" in Kansas City. Today, Brad's pics. Grass-fed beef burger and a pulled pork w/ slaw, both on brioche buns.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Which Texas BBQ joints have the best potato salad?

Yesterday's post about Reser's Fine Foods has me thinking about potato salad. Admittedly, I'm not the biggest PS fan, but from time to time I find some I like. For example, the PS at Artz Rib House (Austin) is quite nice. Like the PS at Mac's (Brady), which has an orange hue from the French dressing they mix in. The PS at Johnny's (Midland) is killer. Which Texas BBQ joints have potato salad you fancy?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Need potato salad with your BBQ? Reser's is your Huckleberry.

At last fall's American Royal BBQ competition, we had the pleasure of meeting some ladies from Reser's Fine Foods (Beaverton, OR), home of, among many other food products, more kinds of potato salad than you can shake a stick at (more than 100 recipes). They were great hostesses. Check 'em out on Twitter and Facebook!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Why such a fuss about Texas BBQ?

I'm on the record saying we're witnessing a wave of enthusiasm about Texas BBQ. Granted, I've only been in Texas since the fall of 2007, but the level of interest in Texas BBQ now versus then is not even comparable. But why? Why the fuss about Texas BBQ? Is it because so many new (and great) BBQ joints have popped up recently? Is it the rise of social media, which gives laypersons audiences for their pictures and reviews and tweets and check-ins? Is it something else? If I'm wrong about the increasing euphoria, by all means, say so. But if I'm right, what are the reasons for the madness?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Our BBQ bus is filling up!

Just 7 seats left for our April 28 BBQ bus trip to Lexington, Giddings, & Taylor. It's the first of what we hope will be many bus trips, so if you cant make it, you're not completely out of luck.'s gonna be awesome. Meals at Snow's, City Meat Market, & Louie Mueller. Drinks from Big Red and Honest Tea. Dessert from Sugar Mama's Bakeshop. Merchandise. And more! Full details.

Pork: It's what's for birthday dinner.

In honor of my birthday, a dear friend cooked dinner for me: grilled pork loin (with homemade honey mustard and pickled green onions), caraway potatoes, grilled escarole, fruit salad (my contribution), and carrot cake. So good!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What's the best BBQ in the Texas Panhandle?

I don't know what the general consensus is on where the Texas Panhandle begins. My guess is somewhere north of Plainview, before Tulia. But, for purposes of this question, let's just say north of Lubbock. So, what's the best BBQ North of Red-Raider Town?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What are the best BBQ-flavored potato chips?

I'm partial to Baked Lay's Barbecue. My buddy Daniel "BBQ Snob" Vaughn likes Lay's Sweet Southern Heat Barbecue. Gotta give a nod to Cape Cod 40% Less Fat (of course) Sweet Mesquite Barbeque, too. What say you? What's your favorite BBQ potato chip? (Hat tip to Marshall Owens, who first posed the question to me via Twitter.)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bandera Capital BBQ & Grille opens in Bandera, TX.

Yesterday, I announced that Best of Texas Barbeque in Bandera is no more. In its place: Bandera Capital BBQ & Grille, which opened for business last week. They do BBQ (brisket, sausage, & beef ribs), but they do all kinds of other stuff: burgers, chili, fried clams, boudin, peel-and-eat shrimp, and more sides than you can shake a Bandera stick at. On Mondays, they serve Diamond H Ranch quail fajitas; and on Sundays, they serve a fried-chicken, family-style gospel supper. Find them at 2440 Hwy 16 N.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Best of Texas Barbeque (Bandera, TX) is closed.

Yesterday, I passed through Bandera & noticed that Best of Texas Barbeque is now Bandera Capital BBQ & Grille (post about that forthcoming). I don't know when Best of Texas closed or whether the owner, Doni Simmons, has plans for another BBQ joint. Best wishes to him.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tuesday's lunch at Baby Back Shak (Dallas, TX)

On Tuesday, had my first meal at Baby Back Shak (Dallas, TX): smoked, sliced pork sandwich & green beans. I wanted to go half and half with the meats for the sandwich (since the sandwiches are the same price), but they wouldn't do it. I can't review the food, since BBS is an affiliate of The Q Card, but I can say that both items were quite possibly the hottest (temperature wise) I've had at a BBQ joint. The only reason I won't get the pork sandwich next time is b/c I want to try another meat - and you can only get 1 meat per sandwich (See above.). I will, however, order the GBs again.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What's the best BBQ in the Permian Basin?

Let us hear from you, West Texans. What's the best BBQ in the Midland-Odessa area?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Bracket time!!!

What's 1 more bracket to fill out? Do it, people. Back by popular demand (meaning 1 person emailed me this morning and asked if we're doing a bracket again), we're hosting another NCAA basketball tournament bracket challenge. Winner gets 5 Q Cards ($50 value). Password: BBQ. Side note: Both of my alma maters (Alabama & Harvard) made the tourney. Which 1 will make it further? Actually, I don't care, b/c Alabama won its 2nd BCS championship in 3 years, and basketball is inferior to football. What?!?!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Turkey at Franklin Barbecue (Austin, TX)

Brisket gets all the attention at Franklin Barbecue, so I thought I'd throw their turkey a bone:

Saturday, March 10, 2012

More national praise for Franklin Barbecue (Austin, TX)

Over on Shine from Yahoo, The Daily Meal named the "20 Best Restaurants in America." Eleven of them are in New York City. Only 1 is in Texas. And it's in Austin. And it's a BBQ joint. #15 on the list: Franklin Barbecue.

Friday, March 9, 2012

SXSW 2012 BBQ Guide

Each of the past two years, I've published an Austin-area BBQ guide (2010 and 2011), in honor of Austin's annual South by Southwest (SXSW) interactive/film/music gathering. Why stop now? Would you go to Rome and not do as the Romans do? Would you go to the Bermuda Triangle and not get lost? Would you go to Hawaii and not get leied? No. No, you wouldn't. So, don't come to Austin and pass on our fine Texas BBQ. That said, I've updated last year's guide to help you navigate the plethora of smoked-meat options. Austin BBQ joints listed first, alphabetically. Then, joints outside of town listed by distance from Austin.

Blue Ribbon Barbecue (Austin): Located on the ground floor of downtown's Frost Bank building, BRB is the most central BBQ joint in Austin. If you're downtown, you're within striking distance. They start the day with breakfast tacos and then move on to BBQ for lunch. Save room for banana pudding. Recommended orders: pork ribs & turkey
Franklin Barbecue (Austin): Only been open for a tad more than a year and already has a cult following that lines up for brisket before the gates opens. Get there early, or you're out of luck. Our pick & our Readers' Choice pick for Best Brisket of 2010 and 2011 and Best Overall of 2011. Recommended orders: brisket - lots of it - & pulled pork
JMueller BBQ (Austin): Having opened just a few months ago, pitmaster John Mueller is making waves from his sleek BBQ trailer just South of downtown on S. 1st St. He's already landed himself on the cover of Texas Monthly, alongside his former employee Aaron Franklin, who now runs Austin's famous Franklin Barbecue. Recommended orders: brisket, beef rib, turkey, & baked squash
Lamberts Downtown Barbecue (Austin): An order-off-the-menu spot right by Austin City Hall, Lamberts has an awesome Happy Hour, a killer Sunday brunch, and the best Frito pit around. Live music upstairs. Recommended orders: Frito pie, brisket, pulled pork
Rudy's "Country Store" & Bar-B-Q (Austin): With a diverse menu, a staff that takes it time serving samples to "rookies' to help them with their orders, and the option of ordering as much or as little of any meat you want, Rudy's is a great way to ease into Texas BBQ.Recommended order:extra-moist brisket, turkey, & creamed corn (unless you don't like creamed corn that is so rich & sweet that it's suitable for dessert)
Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew (Austin): The newest Austin BBQ joint, Stiles Switch is a market-style joint whose owner and pitmaster hail from nearby Taylor, TX. Great for a big group, it's a welcome addition to North Lamar. Recommended orders: brisket, beef ribs, creamed corn, and lemon-juice slaw
PoK-e-Jo's (Austin): With 5 locations in the Austin area, you're not far from the joint whose BBQ is the BBQ you'll find at UT football games. Hit up the Brodie Oaks location for their new "straight-cut" brisket. Hopefully, the location you visit will have their broccoli-rice-cheese casserole. Recommended orders: brisket, turkey, pork ribs, and BCR casserole
Cele Store (Manor, 21 miles NE of Austin): A watering hole for farmers during the week, Cele Store serves family-style BBQ on Friday nights, with live music twice per month from their house band (March 11 & 25). Call ahead to reserve a table. You might recognize it from scenes in Secondhand Lions, A Perfect World and Texas Chainsaw Massacre I, II and III. Recommended order: Just go family style, & be sure to make a chopped-beef sandwich with your white bread, cheese, onions, pickles, & sauce
Milt's Pit BBQ (Kyle, 21 miles from Austin straight down I-35, Exit 213): Milt, born in Fort Worth but California resident by age 3, knows how to cook brisket. If you're wanna start your meal with a bang, get the Haystack: sausage, brisket, jalapenos, onions, beans, and cheese, all atop a bed of Fritos. Recommended order: brisket
The Salt Lick (Driftwood, 24 miles SW of Austin): With a rustic ambiance and a picture-perfect pit behind the cash register, TSL is a great spot to enjoy smoked meat away from the sounds of the city. BYOB. Cash only (but ATM on site). Recommended order: all-you-can-eat family style
Hyatt Lost Pines Resort & Spa (25 miles E of Austin, straight out Hwy. 71): Believe it or not, the lush HLPR&S deep in the pine trees serves pecan-smoked BBQ. St. Louis-style ribs. Pork-belly and pulled-pork sliders on homemade brioche buns. Sliced brisket on Texas toast. Grilled sausage and homemade sauerkraut on a pretzel roll. And the unique sides are paired so well with the entrees. Recommended order: Any of the above
Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse (Elgin, 25 miles East-ish of Austin): Famous for its sausage, Elgin is an easy drive from A-town. The Meyer family will treat you right. Ask nicely, and you might just get to see the vaccum tumbler. Recommended order: beef ribs & sausage
Smitty's Market/Kreuz Market/Black's Barbecue (Lockhart, 29 miles South of Austin): Lockhart, dubbed by the Texas Legislature as "The Barbecue Capital of Texas," attracts Central Texas tourists like Lebron draws Cleveland vitriol, but it's a worthwhile Texas BBQ rite of passage. They were our Best Pork Ribs, Best Sausage, & Best Service of 2010, respectively. Recommended orders: pork ribs and sausage (Smitty's), pork ribs and ham (Kreuz), beef ribs and turkey (Black's)
Opie's Barbecue (Spicewood, 34 miles West of Austin): An easy drive West out Hwy. 71. Their sides and desserts are the best we've had (taking our top honors in each for 2010 - they won Best Pork of 2010, too). Recommended orders: sweet-and-spicy ribs, pulled pork (weekends), spicy corn, tater-tot casserole, and banana pudding
Louie Mueller Barbecue (Taylor, 39 miles NE of Austin): Get ready for the unmistakable smell of BBQ-pit smoke as you walk in - and check out what the smoke has done to the walls of this school-gymnasium-turned-restaurant. Our pick for Best Beef Ribs of 2010. Recommended orders: beef ribs, sausage, and turkey
Snow's BBQ (Lexington, 52 miles ENE of Austin) & City Meat Market (Giddings, 55 miles East of Austin): Only open on Saturday from 8 AM until they run out there's no better bet for BBQ for breakfast than Snow's. Be sure to eat outside by the pits. Recommended order: pork shoulder, brisket, & chicken. When you're done, head 17 miles down Highway 77 to the sleep town of Giddings for a no-frills meal at City Meat Market, our Readers' Choice pick for Best Overall of 2010. Recommended order: pork shoulder
Miscellaneous recommendations: Chicken-thigh sandwich at Buster's (Lakeway); pork chop and half chicken at Cooper's (New Braunfels, 48 miles South on I-35, Exit 189); chicken at Live Oak (Austin); BBQ trailers: Depending on what part of town you're in, you might find any number of BBQ trailers. Keep an eye out for Smokilicious (South Congress), Bar-B-Q Heaven (7th & Red River), Sugar Shack (UT campus), & Double Trouble (South Congress).

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Prepped pork ribs

Dry-rubbed pork ribs on a cutting board at last year's American Royal BBQ competition in Kansas City:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Texas BBQ Wannabes: 69-70

69. Molly's Smokehouse Texas BBQ (Wahiawa, Hawaii)

70. Smokin' J's BBQ - Real Texas Barbeque (Gulfport, Florida)

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 (CA)
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 CA 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 WA 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 CO 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 OR locations)
24. Howard's Texas Barbecue Service (Portland, OR)
25. Bennett's BBQ (CO, TN, & NC)
26. Kin Folks Texas Style BBQ (Altoona, IA)
27. Cecil's Texas Style Bar-B-Q (2 FL locations)
28. Shaw's Texas Style BBQ (Hercules, CA)
29. Backwoods BBQ (Corona, CA)
30. Cedar River Smoke House (Renton, WA)
31. Big Al's Texas BBQ (Lehi, UT)
32. East Texas BBQ, LLC (Huntsville, AL)
33. Bonehead's Texas BBQ (San Francisco, CA)
34. Texas Pride Barbecue (Huntsville, UT)
35. Bart's Texas Style BBQ (Traverse City, MI)
36. Roland's Bar-B-Que Company (Hot Springs, AR)
37. Ralphies Texas Style BBQ & Ribs (Fairmont, WV)
38. Taste of Texas Bar-B-Q (Spencerport, NY)
39. Danny's Little Taste of Texas (South Windsor, CT)
40. Taste of Texas BBQ (McCook, NE)
41. Lockhart's BBQ (Royal Oak, MI)
42. Big John's Texas BBQ (Flagstaff, AZ)
43. Big Star Texas Barbeque (Flagstaff, AZ)
44. Big Mouth BBQ (Great Falls, MT)
45. Bull Durham’s Texas BBQ and Steakhouse (West Chester, PA)
46. Texas Ribs and BBQ (Clinton, MD)
47. The Silver Spur Texas Smokehouse BBQ (Elm Grove, WI)
48. Elmer's Authentic Texas BBQ (Battle Lake, MN)
49. Doc's Texas BBQ & Burgers (Sonora, CA)
50. Dixie's Smokehouse Texas BBQ & Rotisserie (Kings Park, NY)
51. Bob's BBQ & Mexican Grill (Pattaya, Thailand)
52. Bob's Texas BBQ (Boise, ID)
53. Hickory River Smokehouse (6 locations in OH & IL)
54. Texas Tony's BBQ Shack (Naples, FL)
55. Roosters Texas Style BBQ & Steakhouse (Nashville, TN)
56. Lee's Texas Style Bar-B-Q (Detroit, MI)
57. Texas Smokehouse Bar-B-Q (Woodinville, WA)
58. Austin BBQ (Wheaton, IL)
59. Alamo BBQ (Richmond, VA)
60. Austin's BBQ (Mountain View, CA)
61. 4C BBQ (Ponce De Leon, FL)
62. Rotuno's Texas Style Barbeque (Elyria, OH)
63. Smoke City Market (Sherman Oaks, CA)
64. The Ranger Texas Barbecue (Manhattan)
65. 4Rivers Smokehouse (2 FL locations)
66. Podnah's Pit Barbecue (Portland, OR)
67. Taste of Texas BBQ (Keystone, NE)
68. Bubba's Barbecue (Jakarta, Indonesia)

69. Molly's Smokehouse Texas BBQ (Wahiawa, HI)
70. Smokin' J's BBQ - Real Texas Barbeque (Gulfport, FL)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dinner at Artz with an Aussie

Before she headed back to Oz this past Saturday, I had dinner at Artz Rib House (Austin, TX) with Austin's favorite Aussie, Jess "Burger Mary" Pryles. She had beef ribs (which hardly had any meat on them), and I had the chopped-beef sandwich (which wasn't chopped; it looked more like pulled pork with sauce mixed in). The potato salad was fantastic.