Review to follow, but here are the first photos:
I got a chance to briefly meet Kevin Gillespie, one of the finalists for Bravo’s Top Chef’s sixth season, when I was working in Texas, but have always been a fan from a distance. I dig the fact that he uses sustainable (and organic) ingredients at Woodfire Grill where he is executive chef and I’m definitely interested to see what happens when he eventually opens his Atlanta BBQ Joint (plans on hold per this piece).
Here are Kevin Gillespie’s favorite BBQ Joints in his words:
LC’s BBQ – Kansas City, MO
The burnt ends are the best I’ve ever had in my life. They fry their French fries in lard.
Photo of LC’s BBQ courtesy of Concierge.com
Arthur Bryant’s – Kansas City, MO
Because the sauce is so distinctive. It’s like nothing I’ve ever had. Very thick, vinegary, spicy. Very different.
Photo of Arthur Bryant’s courtesy of Full Custom Gospel BBQ
Fresh Air BBQ – Jackson, GA
I grew up eating here so it’s nostalgic. They only do a couple of things and they do them very well.
Over the years I’ve written about real deal (or as close to real deal) BBQ Joints in countries outside of the United States and Canada. I’ve featured BBQ spots in Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, and China.
Well now we can add Italy to the list. I share with you Dad’s Bar B Q which is nestled in the Mugello Valley of Tuscany.
There’s a great piece on Dad’s Bar B Q by Diane de Filipi from the Napa Valley Register.
Per the article, “The decor is a little Texas and a little New Orleans, with a touch of Memphis. The beef is local and organic, as is their pork from the farms of the winemaking Frescobaldi family. The sampler plate had a beef rib abundant with succulent meat that just fell off the bone; roasted pork butt, sliced thinly, incredibly tender with great juices; and a pulled pork that melted in your mouth with delicious charred crunchy bits. Homemade bread, pulled pork, a dollop of Carolina coleslaw and squirts of the table-side sauce, and I had the perfect pulled pork slider.
Diane continues, “Southern-style potato salad is on the menu, as are Texas-style onion rings — local sweet onions in the lightest-ever batter. One word: addictive. There are a few wood oven pizzas with names like Bourbon Street and a few pastas for those just transitioning to barbecue. The final test of authenticity was homemade hot apple pie. With a delicate flaky crust, thinly sliced apples and just the right amount of cinnamon, it’s served a la mode. Vanilla gelato? Nope, Ben & Jerry’s. Remember, this is an American experience. Dad’s will even rent a mechanical bull for parties.”
They are using a J & R Manufacturing smoker.
I’d love to know if you’ve been here and what you thought about it. Please send me a photo or two of your food and I’ll definitely post them.
Check out these reviews on TripAdvisor.com
You can visit yourself here:
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For the first stop on my (6) BBQ Joints in one day Los Angeles BBQ journey a few weekends ago I headed east on the 10 Freeway from the 405 towards Downtown. If you exit Crenshaw Blvd. and head south less than a 1/2 a mile you hit Phillips Barbecue, a spot that landed in the top 5 BBQ joints in Los Angeles according the LA Weekly.
Here are the photos from the visit (review to follow):
Phillips is located here:
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I’m really excited about this week’s contributor to “My Favorite BBQ Joints”. Chris Wilkins is the deputy director of photography at the Dallas Morning News, specializing in sports and special projects. He previously worked as a photo editor at the Chicago Tribune and a photojournalist for the international wire service Agence France Presse. That’s an impressive resume, but what makes me most interested in his BBQ knowledge is the fact that he and Gary Jacobson co-founded the Texas BBQ Posse in 2009.
What is the Texas BBQ Posse? They are a group dedicated to the pursuit of great BBQ in the great state of Texas whose mission is to tell stories of the the kinship & history of barbecue, both in words and picture. The Texas BBQ Posse is a group of writers, photographers & BBQ hardcores. We love to travel and discover new places to eat the best in Texas barbecue. Follow the blue highways and keep an eye out for the smoke.
I really do appreciate Chris letting me share this list. Here are Chris Wilkin’s favorites in no particular order of ranking. Per Chris, “Being that we’re the Texas BBQ Posse, they’re all in Texas, of course!”
Baby J’s Barbecue & Fish – Palestine
Owner and pitmaster the Rev. Jeremiah “Baby J” McKenzie will make you feel like family. He might even give you samples right off the pit. It’s worth the drive just to see his 20-foot-tall smoker, the one he calls “Big Baby.” Don’t forget to try the fish.
Photo of Baby J’s Barbecue & Fish courtesy of Full Custom Gospel BBQ
City Market – Luling
Just 15 miles from the BBQ mecca of Lockhart, some folks call this joint the best in Texas. The twin swinging doors that lead in and out the smoker room and serving counter add to the mystique. These may be some of the best pork ribs you’ll ever eat.
Photo of City Market courtesy of Donna Cooks
Fargo’s Pit Barbeque – Bryan
In two trips to Fargo’s, every single thing we’ve ordered was outstanding. That’s rare even at the best places, but consistency makes kings in the BBQ business. This little blue BBQ shack may just be the best BBQ in Texas.
Last month Guy Fieri and the crew from Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives featured Pecan Lodge on it’s BBQ Road Show episode. Independently owned and operated by Justin & Diane Fourton, Pecan Lodge specializes in authentic BBQ and southern comfort food with an emphasis on scratch-made recipes enhanced by fresh, local ingredients. Cult favorites include Burnt Ends (off menu, when available), The Hot Mess, Southern Fried Chicken, and Aunt Polly’s Banana Pudding.
As I’m curious about the “Triple D” effect on restaurants (especially BBQ Joints), I thought I’d do a quick interview with Diane to get her insight into actually having their restaurant featured on this Food Network juggernaut.
Q. What was it like to find out that DDD wanted to feature you on their show?
A. Well at first we thought it was a prank. Then, when it started to sink in, it felt sort of dreamy and surreal. We looked at each other and thought: “How in the world did they even find us??”
Q. When was the episode actually filmed?
A. Early December, 2011
Q. What was it like having the crew there? Any funny moments?
A. The crew (Citizen Pictures and MatchCut Productions) was stellar. They spent 3 days with us and made everything feel so relaxed and fun. I don’t ever recall feeling nervous at all. It was such a great experience. Guy is much like you might expect- energetic and funny. But he definately knows his stuff and he’s very passionate (very serious, actually) about BBQ. He has nicknames for each of his crew members. He gave us nicknames as well. Guy calls Justin “Marlboro Man”. I told him he could just call me “Boss Lady”. Everyone else does.
Q. What was the next day (after the air date) like? Did you do anything special to prepare?
A. We weren’t sure exactly what the impact would look like, but conservatively, we figured we’d get a little bump at least that first week after the show aired. So in preparation, we leveraged our background in management consulting to forecast incremental purchase/cost estimates and staffing plans. We needed a game plan that would afford us the flexibility to scale up and back as needed, to meet demand without over-shooting, to really make the most of the opportunity. In hindsight, I’m so thankful we took the time to create that plan of action because we had NO IDEA how crazy things were about to get! Nothing could’ve truly prepared us. Turns out, a lot of people watch that show. A WHOLE LOT o’ people, y’all.
Q. What has life at the Pecan Lodge been like since? Still swamped?
A. It has been freakin’ awesome. And terrifying. Such a tremendous blessing. The best thing that’s ever happened to our business. You know, about this time last year, we were weeks (if not days) away from closing our doors at one point? But we hung in there somehow, and by the grace of God, we kept this place going. Dallas kept this place going. I don’t have words to express the depth of our gratitude at this moment.
Q. Any future plans for the Pecan Lodge? Wondering if you plan on expanding due to this?
A. Lots of folks are asking that question. At some point, we might consider a full service location, where folks could stop by for dinner. For now though, we’re focused on making sure Pecan Lodge at the Dallas Farmers Market meets its full potential. And ensuring, on a daily basis, for ourselves, our staff and our customers, that it was worth the wait.
Q. Any message for future DDD featured restaurants or those that are coming up in very near future episodes?
A. Get a good night’s sleep. Get your game face on. Embrace the crazy. That’s my message.
Close-up of The Hot Mess
Have you been to Pecan Lodge (before or after the airing of their episode)? What are your thoughts?
You can find Pecan Lodge here:
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When I visited Smitty’s Market in Lockhart, Texas in November John Fullilove had indicated that something was in the works for a joint effort between ‘feuding’ family members from both Smitty’s Market and Kreuz Market. He didn’t say where, but it appears, per Addie Broyles from the Austin American Statesman that the new joint is going to be located in Bee Cave.
It’s going to be called Schmidt Family Barbecue and they already have a static website HERE
Per Addie’s article, “Although most of the meats — brisket, shoulder clod, prime rib, smoked turkey, pork chops — will be prepared just like those at the Lockhart restaurants, Chad Franks says that they’ll buy sausage from both Kreuz and Smitty’s to serve at Schmidt Family Barbecue. The family is adding a bar so customers can order beer and wine to go with their barbecue, but don’t bother asking for a fork. The restaurant will be a spoons-only establishment, just like the motherships in Lockhart.”
Additionally, “They finally secured property across from Falconhead West subdivision, in a part of Central Texas that is booming with construction. They’ll break ground on their building, which is like a smaller version of the Kreuz layout, Chad Franks says, in coming months, but one major addition is a playground that will surely draw plenty of families with kids. Keith Schmidt says they hope to open in the first half of next year, before the “summer barbecue crowds” start coming in.”
Should be an interesting addition to the Austin BBQ scene. What are your thoughts?
Check out the entire piece HERE.
To stay ahead of the game when it comes to food in Austin follow Addie Broyles HERE
I don’t have the physical address yet, but here’s the rough location:
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