Health food may be good for the conscience but Oreos taste a hell of a lot better.

— Robert Redford

2013

  • Lockhart Front DoorA few DFW locals, including XO, Smoke Daddy, and Phil Chelf hit four barbecue joints in the area to keep our instincts honed and ready for the next full tour.  I have written a couple of blog posts related to the barbecue and craft brewing renaissance happening in the DFW area.  

    Making a couple of 1/2-day excursions, we managed to piece together a mini-tour covering a few joints (and yes, you might see pictures of some "Mini-Me's" on these outings).  This may become a more normal mode of operation for us in the future, as large blocks of time for full tours seem to be few and far between these days.

    The Joints:

2011

  • T-Bos CrewThis year, the tour made day-trips from Waco, TX and found that there are still some old-fashioned meat markets operating in the area.  We also found bbq ranging from the very low end of the spectrum, to nearly reaching the height of some of the most acclaimed joints in all of Texas.  We covered 640 miles in our 3-day tour, and ended up (once again) floating in the water with an old friend.  Special mention must be given to Jeanette - who gathered most of our advance intelligence on BBQ joints (and offered her home for the Crew at the end of the BBQ trail).

    The Joints:

2010

  • BBQ Crew inside Lufkin BBQOur Piney Woods tour covered nearly 600 miles (plus the 225 back to Richardson when it was over).  We drove through three national forests: The Sabine and Angeline National Forests on Day 2; and The Davey Crockett National Forest on Day 3.  We found all manners of potato products: baked, smoked, twice-baked, mustard-based potato salad, mayo-based potato salad, tangy potato salad, sweet potato salad, etc... most of which were homeade.  Ribs were above average in this area, although sometimes at the expense of the brisket and sausage offerings.

    Our visit to Lufkin Lanes during Rap DJ Night was quite fun, and bowling may become a staple of the Barbecue Tour on Friday nights form this point forward!

    And when we reached the end of the Barbecue Trail, we headed over to a private lakehouse and proceeded to cool off in the lake and catch up with old friends!  It was THE BEST! 

    Joints:

  • Doug, David, and SteveOn a visit to see Double-Boner in DC, he and Blair surprised me with a 1-day mini-tour in Raleigh, Virginia.  We had a nice time road-tripping, eating Q, and visiting with old friends.

    The last stop of the tour blew my mind. It was the first time that I have ever been impressed with a chef-led, franchise-ready, strip-center barbecue restaurant.  Tuffy Stone's Q Barbeque was up to the task, and changed the way I think about strip-center bbq.

     

    The Joints:

2009

  • 2009 BBQ CrewWe return to Texas for our 11th annual Barbecue Tour.  This time we traversed Highway 82 from Clarksville to Wiichita Falls, with one excursion across the border for a bit of Casino-style action on an Indian Reservation.  We covered nearly 650 miles and tried the offerings of 15 barbecue joints.

    Red River Tour Photo Gallery

    Red River Joints:

2008

  • Tyler's Tap RoomOur 10th tour visited the birthplace of American Barbecue: North Carolina.  During our three-day tour, We hit 16 barbecue joints, and each night we found a minor league baseball game and tap room for relaxation. 

     

     Because our crew was small, we were able to cover a majority of the state, logging around 700 miles during the tour.  The barbecue was fantastic, and 4 joints placed into our all-time top ten list!  Yum.

    Joints:

2007

  • We returned to Central Texas in 2007, after a seven year absence.  The Barbecue Crew had grown, and many had not experienced a comprehensive sweep of these fertile BBQ grounds.  We were again fortunate to visit some old favorites, while discovering a few new ones.  We hit 21 joints over the three days and ~ 600 miles.  It's good to be home again!
    Joints:

2006

  • Big Os BBQ Crew2006 - Our 8th annual barbecue tour.  We operated on a 'skeleton' BBQ crew, which allowed us to cover a great deal of territory (Weatherford to Sweetwater to San Angelo to Stephenville). We drove more miles (790) and visited more joints (20 1/2) than ever before.

     

    Here are some tour highlights, by the numbers:

2005

  • BBQ Crew at SneadsThe 2005 Kansas City tour was our 7th, and our first out-of-state tour.  We chose Kansas City because of its reputation, and the high concentration of barbecue establishements.  Over the course of our three-day tour, we were able to experience the offerings of 20 local restaurants, along with several bars, pubs, and brewpubs -- while keeping auto travel  around 300 miles!

     

     

    Joints:

2004

  • A time-shortened tour for a harried life.  This tour allowed us to revisit some old favorites and find some new ones... We hit 11 BBQ joints, plus the Fort Worth Stockyards in just two days of touring. 

    Joints:

2003

  • 2003 Barbecue CrewThis tour took us in a wide circle out and around San Antonio.  We visited 18 BBQ joints, 2 brewpubs, 2 private residences, 1 brewery, 1 bar, and 1 low water crossing in 58.5 hours while covering over 650 miles.

    The Barbecue Crew celebrated the end of the BBQ trail at a private residence directly on the Comal river.  And for the grand finale the "Fab4" bought 3 suitcases of beer, donned 2 mullets, rafted the Guadalupe, and then visited several other miscellaneous bars (including the brewpub inside our hotel).  We encountered primarily oak and
    mesquite-smoked barbecue cooked using indirect heat.  This year we found several places using gas-fired ovens,
    electric smokers, and even one place that cooked directly over charcoal.

    Joints:

2002

  • Pizzatolas CrewThis tour was run around Houston and surrounding coastal areas, down to nearly Victoria.  We hit 17 BBQ joints, 1 pub, 1 mexican restaurant, 1 ball park, and the seawall in 57 hours -- while covering over 650 miles.

    We encountered two distinctive styles of barbecue this year. 1) Pecan-smoked barbecue was predominant
    around the Houston area; and 2) East Texas barbecue smoked over indirect heat, using hickory.  We also found a
    number of places using oak, while quite a few places using different mixes of oak, hickory, pecan, and or mesquite.

    The BBQ crew compiled 844 individual scores which were tabulated to generate the ranking shown below. A few
    interesting facts from the data:

    • It was a strong year for sausage with 14 of 17 sausage/hot link scores above 6.40
    • The top overall scores were lower this year, with no joint scoring above 7.50.  (Last year there were four, however they were in a fairly narrow score band)
    • The lowest overall score was above 4.00; last year it was 2.80
    • Only two joints scored lower than 5.50; last year there were four

    Joints:

2001

  • 2001 BBQ CrewOur 3rd annual tour covered North Texas from Glen Rose all the way to Shreveport, LA.  We hit 18 BBQ joints, 1 casino, and 1 pub in 59 hours -- while covering approximately 650 miles.

    We encountered three styles of barbecue this year, roughly delineated by DFW.  East Texas barbecue was smoked over indirect heat using hickory.  We encountered sweet rubs, sweet sauce, sweet beans, sweet slaw, sweet tea, and donuts all throughout East Texas (Ask us about our sugar theory).  A majority of the DFW metroplex is split between oak and hickory with a variety of styles and methods represented.  We also encountered some pecan-smoked barbecue southwest of Fort Worth.  What we've learned over the past few years is that Texas is full of its own regional variations, and comparing these different styles of barbecue is tough.  People generally have a preference, and many times it is rooted in memories of their youth.  

    Joints:

2000

  • Sams CrewThis was our first full three-day tour.  It gave broad coverage of the hill country -- we hit 14 bbq joints and 2 breweries in just 54 short hours!  This was a tremendous effort by a great crew of people thanks to all involved (well, except for the monkey doctor, but that s another story).

    We encountered two distinct styles of barbecue this year, basically delineated by the city of Austin.  Most of Central Texas smokes over indirect heat using some sort of oak.  The region west of Austin uses direct heat and mesquite to smoke
    their meats... and electric knives to slice.  Both styles have their merits and some people just prefer the flavors of one method over the other.  To each their own!

    Joints:

1999

  • Flames licking our toes at Old KreuzThis was a short 2-day tour to test the barbecue road trip theory.  It was timed to ensure that we got to sample Kruez market before Rick moved it up the street due to the Schmidt family feud.  This tour was based around Austin because it had the highest concentration of joints from the 1997 Texas Monthly s top 50 barbecue list.  Our goal was to hit as many as possible in two days.  

    The tour was an unqualified success... 9 BBQ joints and a couple of beer joints in less than 48 hours!  Barrow's feedback: "Awesome.  But, I think it needs to be a 3-day tour."

    Joints: