Best Texas Barbeque

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Greymo
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2008/11/18 20:48:43 (permalink)

Best Texas Barbeque

I just finished reading an article in this week's New Yorker written by Calvin Trillin. He declares Snow's Barbeque as the best Texas Barbeque in the world. Anyone have any ideas on this?
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    1bbqboy
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    RE: Best Texas Barbeque 2008/11/18 22:16:17 (permalink)
    here you go, greymo:
    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/11/24/081124fa_fact_trillin
    I approached Texas Monthly’s cover story on “The Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas” this summer the way a regular reader of People might approach that magazine’s annual “Sexiest Man Alive” feature—with the expectation of seeing some familiar names. There was no reason to think that the list’s top tier—the five restaurants judged to be the best in the state—would look much different than it had the last time a survey was published, in 2003. In recent years, Hollywood may have seen some advances in physical training and cosmetic surgery, but barbecue restaurants still tend to retain their lustre much longer than male heartthrobs do. In fact, I’ve heard it argued that, absent some slippage in management, a barbecue restaurant can only get better over time: many Texas barbecue fanatics have a strong belief in the beneficial properties of accumulated grease.

    In discussions of Texas barbecue, the equivalent of Matt Damon and George Clooney and Brad Pitt would be establishments like Kreuz Market and Smitty’s Market, in Lockhart; City Market, in Luling; and Louie Mueller Barbecue, in Taylor—places that reflect the barbecue tradition that developed during the nineteenth century out of German and Czech meat markets in the Hill Country of central Texas. (In fact, the title of Texas Monthly’s first article on barbecue—it was published in 1973, shortly after the magazine’s founding—was “The World’s Best Barbecue Is in Taylor, Texas. Or Is It Lockhart?”) Those restaurants, all of which had been in the top tier in 2003, were indeed there again in this summer’s survey. For the first time, though, a No. 1 had been named, and it was not one of the old familiars. “The best barbecue in Texas,” the article said, “is currently being served at Snow’s BBQ, in Lexington.”

    I had never heard of Snow’s. That surprised me. Although I grew up in Kansas City, which has a completely different style of barbecue, I have always kept more or less au courant of Texas barbecue, like a sports fan who is almost monomaniacally obsessed with basketball but glances over at the N.H.L. standings now and then just to see how things are going. Reading that the best barbecue in Texas was at Snow’s, in Lexington, I felt like a People subscriber who had picked up the “Sexiest Man Alive” issue and discovered that the sexiest man alive was Sheldon Ludnick, an insurance adjuster from Terre Haute, Indiana, with Clooney as the runner-up.
    cont....
    #2
    Twinwillow
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    RE: Best Texas Barbeque 2008/11/18 23:51:12 (permalink)
    I've heard they sell out by 9:30 AM. And, they're only open 2 days a week. I'll stick to my "favorite": Louis Mueller's BBQ in Taylor. Best damn BBQ I've ever had!
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    mayor al
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    RE: Best Texas Barbeque 2008/11/19 15:16:14 (permalink)

    Me Too, Michael. Muellers is on top of my list, with the Whole town of Lockhart following closely in the rest of the top 5 or whatever!! However I always have room to add more to my "Top List"!!
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    Twinwillow
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    RE: Best Texas Barbeque 2008/11/19 15:52:18 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Al-The Mayor-Bowen


    Me Too, Michael. Muellers is on top of my list, with the Whole town of Lockhart following closely in the rest of the top 5 or whatever!! However I always have room to add more to my "Top List"!!


    Gotcha, Al. And, before I forget, happy holidays to you and your wife and your family. Including the dogs.
    #5
    Greymo
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    RE: Best Texas Barbeque 2008/11/19 16:04:17 (permalink)
    The article was written by Calvin Trillin, a real "Roadfoodie" and not just some writer who does not know what he is talking about when it comes to food. I think a trip there to see would be well worth the time if in the area.
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    mayor al
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    RE: Best Texas Barbeque 2008/11/19 17:45:05 (permalink)
    Greymo...
    When it comes to 'Good' BBQ there is always room for additions to any "List"!!
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    MetroplexJim
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    RE: Best Texas Barbeque 2008/11/19 19:23:21 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Greymo

    I just finished reading an article in this week's New Yorker written by Calvin Trillin. He declares Snow's Barbeque as the best Texas Barbeque in the world. Anyone have any ideas on this?


    He said nothing of the sort.

    The raison d'etre for his story was that Texas Monthly (surprisingly) had tapped an unknown as having the best BBQ in Texas. His reporting was focused mostly on that process that led to that designation and some "local color" regarding the principals of the newly beknighted establishment.

    Here is his review of the product:

    "As we sat down at one of the outside tables, under a galvanized-tin covering, I told them that they could expect the sort of response that a proud young father I know has received during the past year or so whenever he e-mails me pictures of his firstborn: “A perfectly adequate child.” Still, what Burka had ordered was good enough to make me forget that we were eating a huge meal of barbecue at a time on Saturday morning when most people were starting to wonder what they might rustle up for breakfast once they bestirred themselves. I particularly liked the brisket, although I couldn’t attest that it was as soft and sweet as cookie dough. In Kansas City, it is not customary to eat cookie dough".

    In the penultimate sentence of his actual review of the product he, in stating his "like", also gently mocked Texas Monthly's effusive description of the brisket at hand.

    Calvin Trillin loves Bryant's burnt ends, Texas Monthly loves Snow's brisket, and I will gladly wax poetic over Wilber's and Scott's Barbecue Sauce.

    God Bless America!

    The "edit" is to assure everyone that the missing word is my attempt to do a white "Bless"! So I say again clearly:

    God Bless America!
    #8
    MetroplexJim
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    RE: Best Texas Barbeque 2008/11/19 19:27:43 (permalink)
    Here's the original thread on this topic:

    http://roadfood.com/Forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=28115
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    MetroplexJim
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    RE: Best Texas Barbeque 2008/11/19 19:30:52 (permalink)
    Check Texas Monthly's video about the selection process Trillin wrote about:

    http://www.texasmonthly.com/2008-06-01/multimedia3.php

    It gives faces to all the names he writes about.
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    Poverty Pete
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    RE: Best Texas Barbeque 2008/11/19 20:33:24 (permalink)
    I think Calvin Trillin is just too full of himself. He once proclaimed Arthur Bryant's not as the "best" bbq in Kansas City, but the "best" restaurant in the world. Can he really say with absolute certainty that there is no restaurant in, say, Swinford, Ireland, that can compete with AB in quality, or whatever the hell he's basing his judgment upon?
    #11
    Greymo
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    RE: Best Texas Barbeque 2008/11/19 21:02:03 (permalink)
    Sorry that I even brought this subject up.............heck, a woman should know that she does not know a thing about Texas barbeque and certainly does not know her food writers.............I will now repent[|)]
    #12
    signman
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    RE: Best Texas Barbeque 2008/11/20 01:29:48 (permalink)
    Poverty Pete.....Trillin is a humorist. And the Godfather of Roadfood.
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    MGWerks
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    RE: Best Texas Barbeque 2008/11/21 14:58:56 (permalink)
    [editorial]
    Texas Monthly often has an overblown authoritative opinion of itself, and seems to have more wealthy-targeted advertisement than copy. It is far from the authoritative touchstone on things Texan.
    [/editorial]

    All that aside, there is not necessarily a "best" BBQ in Texas. The best place for brisket may not be for spares, or pork butt, or sausage, etc. Even at that, quality can vary day to day at any one location. Add on top of that personal preference, and the water muddies even further. I'd really like to find the best cabrito in Texas! My goal is to try them all, regardless of how long it takes. When done, I'll be able to say I've eaten the best BBQ in Texas, I just won't be able to necessarily say where or when!
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    MetroplexJim
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    RE: Best Texas Barbeque 2008/11/21 18:39:51 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by MGWerks

    [editorial]
    Texas Monthly often has an overblown authoritative opinion of itself, and seems to have more wealthy-targeted advertisement than copy. It is far from the authoritative touchstone on things Texan.
    [/editorial]

    All that aside, there is not necessarily a "best" BBQ in Texas. The best place for brisket may not be for spares, or pork butt, or sausage, etc. Even at that, quality can vary day to day at any one location. Add on top of that personal preference, and the water muddies even further. I'd really like to find the best cabrito in Texas! My goal is to try them all, regardless of how long it takes. When done, I'll be able to say I've eaten the best BBQ in Texas, I just won't be able to necessarily say where or when!


    Amen, Brother.

    Now that Cartier has seemingly moved beyond the venerable Pasha, I'll trust Texas Monthly to tell me where I might obtain "their latest", but not necessarily where I might find a satisfying lunch!

    That said, the video I commended above pretty much captures both their ethos and the honest good food & good, decent folk of Snow's:

    http://www.texasmonthly.com/2008-06-01/multimedia3.php
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    Mosca
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    RE: Best Texas Barbeque 2008/12/06 11:34:52 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Poverty Pete

    I think Calvin Trillin is just too full of himself. He once proclaimed Arthur Bryant's not as the "best" bbq in Kansas City, but the "best" restaurant in the world. Can he really say with absolute certainty that there is no restaurant in, say, Swinford, Ireland, that can compete with AB in quality, or whatever the hell he's basing his judgment upon?


    Pete, I'd also add that he wrote that about Bryant's in 1979, almost 30 years ago, and it was about his many visits to Bryant's over the previous 10 years. At that time, he may have been right!
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    1bbqboy
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    RE: Best Texas Barbeque 2008/12/10 09:45:17 (permalink)
    http://blogs.houstonpress.com/eating/2008/12/the_best_barbecue_sandwich_in.php
    The Best Barbecue Sandwich in Texas
    Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 09:30:50 AM



    I'm saying the Bohemian Special at Mustang Creek B-B-Q on Highway 59 in Louise is the best barbecue sandwich in Texas. It excels by virtue of architecture alone--a mound of sliced brisket is topped with lengthwise slices of smoked Prasek's sausage and topped with thick raw onion slices and dill pickles and served on a hamburger roll to which a tiny smidgen of barbecue sauce has been applied. It is held together during the eating process with the aid of a sturdy white paper wrapper.

    Mustang Creek is a gas station barbecue joint with excellent culinary credentials--they sell bottles of homemade Czech-style sauerkraut and whole pickles by the cash register. They are also neighbors of Prasek's Smokehouse which is located in the little Czech community of Hillje three miles north of Louise on 59.

    I first learned about Mustang Creek several years ago when I got an e-mail from a reader and barbecue cook-off competitor named Steve Orsak, who wrote: "After 200+ (barbecue cook-off) trophies I still love to discover real old-style BBQ. Mustang Creek BBQ on Highway 59 between Louise and Ganado has the best brisket I've had in 10 years. The place has a dirt floor."

    Every time I drove down Highway 59 since I got Orsak's e-mail, I studied the roadside buildings between Louise and Ganado intently. But the dirt-floored barbecue joint wasn't there. Then, last weekend, on my way down to the Valley, I happened to catch a glimpse of a small sign that said "Mustang Creek BBQ" hanging on the front of a red and yellow gas station between Hillje and Louise.

    On my way back to Houston, I stopped in. The woman at the register said the barbecue joint used to be located in a tin-roofed shack a few miles down the road, but had moved to the gas station a couple of years ago. While we were talking, I noticed that the pit boss was slicing up the glistening deckle of an obscenely voluptuous blackened brisket.

    I started to order a sliced brisket sandwich, but changed my mind and went with the unique-sounding Bohemian special. And I adamantly insisted that I get the fatty pieces that had just hit the cutting board and not something that had been sliced earlier. I ate the sandwich in the parking lot leaning over forward to keep the grease flow away from my shirt. The hot smoked meat tasted like it was suspended in melted butter--or hot salty tallow. The Prasek's peppery coarse-ground beef and pork sausage added a spicy note and a little snap when I bit through the casing.

    So maybe it was only the best barbecue sandwich in Texas last Sunday at around eleven a.m. Maybe you wouldn't be nearly so impressed if you walked in at 2:30 in the afternoon and got a sandwich made out of steam table scraps. Does it still count as the best barbecue sandwich in Texas? I think so.

    Calvin Trillin recently wrote an article in the New Yorker about Texas Monthly's claim that a tiny place called Snow's Barbecue in Lexington serves the best barbecue in Texas. Snow's is only open for a couple of hours on Saturday morning and they reserve most of the meat for the locals, so the average barbecue fan has a snowcone's chance in hell of getting anything to eat there. The Texas Monthly editors had to personally drive Trillin out to Lexington in the early morning to get him something to eat.

    When it came time to say something about the meat, Trillin waffled. Duh. Having a Kansas City barbecue fan judge Texas barbecue is like asking an OU fan to critique Colt McCoy's passing game. Just the sort of move you expect from Texas Monthly, a magazine run by a vegetarian from Queens.

    Personally, I prefer barbecue joints that you can just drop by unannounced at lunchtime. Which isn't to say Texas Monthly got it wrong. I am sure the brisket at Snow's is great. If you want to try some yourself, just call 512-320-6900 and ask for Paul Burka or Evan Smith. I'm sure the senior editors of Texas Monthly will be delighted to drive you out to Lexington and introduce you to the owners.

    -- Robb Walsh
    #17
    Bushie
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    RE: Best Texas Barbeque 2008/12/10 22:51:27 (permalink)
    I have always put much stock in the opinion of Robb Walsh, so I would think his recommendation of Mustang Creek is valid.

    Another place on my list is Wenzel's in Hamilton, TX. Although I haven't eaten there, I've read from a few sources that on Fridays (only), they serve pork shoulder (Boston Butt, aka pulled pork) sandwiches. That's the only thing they serve on Fridays (if you want something else on Fridays, they say, "sorry"), and I hear those sandwiches are awesome.
    #18
    MGWerks
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    RE: Best Texas Barbeque 2008/12/11 15:13:54 (permalink)
    Way to go Robb! Not only a great report, but a dead-on characterization of Texas Monthly.

    "Having a Kansas City barbecue fan judge Texas barbecue is like asking an OU fan to critique Colt McCoy's passing game. Just the sort of move you expect from Texas Monthly, a magazine run by a vegetarian from Queens."
    #19
    Legran22
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    RE: Best Texas Barbeque 2008/12/11 16:14:11 (permalink)
    I've been eating at Texas barbecue joints as long as I can remember and I cook a world class 'cue myself, if I don't say so. The first restaurant of any kind I remember eating in was a barbecue joint named Johnny's in Midland just north of downtown in about 1954. It had sawdust floors. Its still operating in the same building with the same neon pig outside and the same hand made wooden booths, sans the sawdust floors. All the restaurants mentioned, Smitty's in Lockhart, Luling City Market in Luling and Louis Mueller's in Taylor are all excellent. But if I had to make a single choice it would be Louie Muellers in Taylor. In my opinion, its the best I've ever had. I love their coarse grind on the sausage, their wonderful brisket with the crispy edges and the sauces on the table are divine. All you need is a slice of onion and cheese and a Big Red and you're in heaven. I've not been to Snow's yet as I am seldom through that part of Texas on a Saturday morning early enough to get some before they run out. But I may make a special trip.
    #20
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