BBQ Tour

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Andrew Kotowski
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BBQ Tour

#1 Post by Andrew Kotowski » September 4th, 2019, 1:25 pm

I'm scheduling a sabbatical and, aside from spending a bunch of time with family, plan on doing a three to four week driving tour of BBQ spots, crashing with friends, etc. along the way. Most logical time for me is the month of June 2020, which means my AC better work.

Initial thought is to fly into Dallas and spend a couple of days, head south to Austin for a couple of days, then to San Antonio for a couple of days. I'd also consider OKC, as I have a wine buddy up there that's a blast to grill with. I'd likely do a long drive day from SA to New Orleans, which clearly isn't a BBQ destination, but definitely an awesome stop for a foodie. A plug in the middle would be great, as it would break up the drive.

Will definitely stop in Decatur, Alabama to hit up Big Bob Gibson and say hi to Chris Lily, but kinda go off a cliff from there.

Parameters that may help the decision:
* I enjoy driving, but would love to keep days broken down into 3-4 hour trips
* I spent 2 years in NC, so Carolina BBQ isn't a "must do."
* Don't really care about hotels. I can dump Marriott points, if needed, but 3 star hotel is fine.
* I like to drink with dinner. If it's got a wine, beer or bourbon list, I'm going to hit it, which means... I'd like to be able to taxi or Uber there. Mentioning this, as some places are way out in the sticks. I'll still stop at a fantastic spot, but I'm going to use it as a lunch stop, rather than dinner.
* I love TN. Have wine friends outside of Memphis and will likely drop Commissary BBQ on the itinerary, as we had a blast there last time. I love Nashville, as well.

Ask: Any amazing places you'd recommend? I'll map it out at some point and do the math, but am pretty excited about the idea.

Commitment to you - I'll post along the way, similar to my "Adventures in Paris" thread, with shout-outs if I hit your recommendation.
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Joe Dulworth
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Re: BBQ Tour

#2 Post by Joe Dulworth » September 4th, 2019, 2:20 pm

Andrew,

So much here to consider. Kind of overwhelming. I think you could literally do a 3-4 week tour of Texas alone. Especially when you start factoring in environmental factors for lack of a better term. For instance, let's take Franklin's and Snow's. One in Austin, one not far from Austin. Both have lines that'll take you half a day to navigate just to get some queue before they sell out for lunch. That's practically two dead days right there with just two spots. Add in the factor that Snow's is only open on Saturdays and now you have to be in Lexington on Saturday morning and plan around that with other places. You could skip either to make your schedule but then you'd be skipping two of the best if not the best in the state, possibly the country.

We're still in Texas. I haven't even broached the subject of Tennessee and other southern destinations.

Lot to chew on here.
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Andrew Kotowski
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Re: BBQ Tour

#3 Post by Andrew Kotowski » September 4th, 2019, 2:50 pm

I know! That's why I'm hoping to get a list and then figure out the logistics behind it. My gut is a week to week in a half in TX, primarily because I've never been to Austin or SA and have good friends in both. I wanted to add some variety to things by hitting Decatur and probably TN (given close proximity to Decatur). You know my stop in OKC if I go that route; I don't know if I could do the Mantle again :D

Apologies if it sounds too big to tackle; I'll likely look up some BBQ blogs, etc. I've just gotten in the habit of checking WB, as the forum here has been invaluable so many times (I could rattle off a 50 bullet point list of places I've gone because of board recs, from Europe to Asia to my recent Cabo trip!)
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Re: BBQ Tour

#4 Post by Mike Davila » September 4th, 2019, 6:19 pm

Great Idea, I’m thinking bucket list.

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Re: BBQ Tour

#5 Post by TimF » September 4th, 2019, 7:22 pm

I did a week in Texas with my family in March with the main purpose to eat BBQ. There’s a thread somewhere around here with lots of info. After a week I was ready for detox so maybe keep that in mind. I’d say the must-visit places for me would be 1) Snows (best ribs in my life) 2) Franklin (best brisket in my life) 3) Kruez (seemed to me what Texas BBQ was all about and really great BBQ).

San Antonio didn’t seem like much of a BBQ town but YMMV.
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Re: BBQ Tour

#6 Post by JDavisRoby » September 4th, 2019, 7:31 pm

If you get north of the Red River I would highly recommend driving 90 miles past OKC for Burnco BBQ. Best ribs I’ve ever had. Everything is made over open flame on Hasty Bakes. The founders were employees of Hasty Bake that went out on their own to start the restaurant.

Curious where you’d go in OKC. Leo’s?
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Re: BBQ Tour

#7 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f » September 4th, 2019, 8:05 pm

If your tour is 3-4 weeks you can certainly expand it beyond just TX, unless you just really like cow. You could, for example, fly into KC, hit a few spots there (at least Joe's, but plenty of others to consider), drive to STL, hit Pappy's and, again, plenty of others if you want to take the time (bonus - I would come drink - and eat - with you if I'm in town), then drive to Memphis (Central BBQ, you mentioned Commissary), then on to NOLA, Houston, Austin, Dallas, and OKC, flying home from there.

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Re: BBQ Tour

#8 Post by Joe Dulworth » September 5th, 2019, 7:23 am

JDavisRoby wrote:
September 4th, 2019, 7:31 pm
Curious where you’d go in OKC. Leo’s?
Andrew and I have a friend that lives there who smokes regularly. Thinking of hitting his place just for a visit.
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Re: BBQ Tour

#9 Post by Joe Dulworth » September 5th, 2019, 7:27 am

D@ve D y r 0 f f wrote:
September 4th, 2019, 8:05 pm
If your tour is 3-4 weeks you can certainly expand it beyond just TX, unless you just really like cow. You could, for example, fly into KC, hit a few spots there (at least Joe's, but plenty of others to consider), drive to STL, hit Pappy's and, again, plenty of others if you want to take the time (bonus - I would come drink - and eat - with you if I'm in town), then drive to Memphis (Central BBQ, you mentioned Commissary), then on to NOLA, Houston, Austin, Dallas, and OKC, flying home from there.
I actually like the sound of this one better. Start in KC and generally wind your way down through KS/MO/TN/ETC... to Austin/Lockhart and then once you have that in the books figure out approximately how much time you have left to take in other areas of the country like you were thinking like NOLA/Big Bob if you have time to make it that far over. Might be a separate trip. Hell, from a food POV, NOLA is a destination all by itself.
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Re: BBQ Tour

#10 Post by Andrew Kotowski » September 5th, 2019, 9:54 am

D@ve D y r 0 f f wrote:
September 4th, 2019, 8:05 pm
If your tour is 3-4 weeks you can certainly expand it beyond just TX, unless you just really like cow. You could, for example, fly into KC, hit a few spots there (at least Joe's, but plenty of others to consider), drive to STL, hit Pappy's and, again, plenty of others if you want to take the time (bonus - I would come drink - and eat - with you if I'm in town), then drive to Memphis (Central BBQ, you mentioned Commissary), then on to NOLA, Houston, Austin, Dallas, and OKC, flying home from there.
@Dave - the approach you’re taking is exactly what I had in mind. I’ve driven cross country ~15 times, so have no problems going to a different state for dinner :) Might make sense to start in SA and go north, cut across to TN and fly back out of AL/GA, skipping NOLA altogether. Am actually trying to squeeze in a Pelicans game to see Zion and JJ play earlier in the year, so could be a better route.

I’ll do some more online research and post back in a week or two. Half the fun of this is the planning!
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Re: BBQ Tour

#11 Post by Robert Dentice » September 5th, 2019, 7:02 pm

Joe Dulworth wrote:
September 4th, 2019, 2:20 pm
Andrew,

So much here to consider. Kind of overwhelming. I think you could literally do a 3-4 week tour of Texas alone. Especially when you start factoring in environmental factors for lack of a better term. For instance, let's take Franklin's and Snow's. One in Austin, one not far from Austin. Both have lines that'll take you half a day to navigate just to get some queue before they sell out for lunch. That's practically two dead days right there with just two spots. Add in the factor that Snow's is only open on Saturdays and now you have to be in Lexington on Saturday morning and plan around that with other places. You could skip either to make your schedule but then you'd be skipping two of the best if not the best in the state, possibly the country.

We're still in Texas. I haven't even broached the subject of Tennessee and other southern destinations.

Lot to chew on here.
Just curious why is Snow's only open on Saturday?

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Re: BBQ Tour

#12 Post by Mark Y » September 5th, 2019, 7:05 pm

Man.. what an awesome trip. I need a sabbatical!
Y.e.

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Re: BBQ Tour

#13 Post by Paul Miller » September 5th, 2019, 7:27 pm

Driving to Memphis? Stop along the way in DeValls Bluff, Ark, and eat at Craig’s.

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Re: BBQ Tour

#14 Post by Andrew Kotowski » September 5th, 2019, 8:27 pm

Mark Y wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 7:05 pm
Man.. what an awesome trip. I need a sabbatical!
You’re welcome to tag along; just make sure you’re packing IPA instead of Burgundy ;). Welcome back, btw!
You can find me at the grill! Https://www.facebook.com/akgrill

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Re: BBQ Tour

#15 Post by TimF » September 5th, 2019, 8:44 pm

Robert Dentice wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 7:02 pm
Joe Dulworth wrote:
September 4th, 2019, 2:20 pm
Andrew,

So much here to consider. Kind of overwhelming. I think you could literally do a 3-4 week tour of Texas alone. Especially when you start factoring in environmental factors for lack of a better term. For instance, let's take Franklin's and Snow's. One in Austin, one not far from Austin. Both have lines that'll take you half a day to navigate just to get some queue before they sell out for lunch. That's practically two dead days right there with just two spots. Add in the factor that Snow's is only open on Saturdays and now you have to be in Lexington on Saturday morning and plan around that with other places. You could skip either to make your schedule but then you'd be skipping two of the best if not the best in the state, possibly the country.

We're still in Texas. I haven't even broached the subject of Tennessee and other southern destinations.

Lot to chew on here.
Just curious why is Snow's only open on Saturday?
The lady who runs it explained when she was on Aaron Franklin’s PBS show. It’s a throwback to when ranchers would go into town on Saturday. They’d bring BBQ back for the family to enjoy as a reward for their hard work all week.

The place absolutely oozes charm and should be considered “must visit”. I’m so glad I went.
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Re: BBQ Tour

#16 Post by Joe Dulworth » September 6th, 2019, 5:58 am

What he said
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Re: BBQ Tour

#17 Post by Mark Y » September 6th, 2019, 9:15 am

Andrew Kotowski wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 8:27 pm
Mark Y wrote:
September 5th, 2019, 7:05 pm
Man.. what an awesome trip. I need a sabbatical!
You’re welcome to tag along; just make sure you’re packing IPA instead of Burgundy ;). Welcome back, btw!
Thank you sir. #Lambic4Life
;)
Y.e.

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Re: BBQ Tour

#18 Post by Bryce K » September 6th, 2019, 9:39 am

Smitty's in Lockhart still has the best sausage that I have ever tried (the sausage grind is perfect). Their brisket is also great, and you get to walk right through the scorching-hot smokeroom to order (prepare to get sweaty). Black's in Lockhart was also good; Kreuz is worth a visit, since it's right there, but I would rank it #3 in Lockhart after Smitty's and Black's.

Killen's in Pearland may require a bit of a detour (it's south of Houston), but their brisket is fantastic and you can't pass up the smoked whole beef rib.

Franklin's in Austin has a limited number of pre-orders, so that you can skip the line and pick up early. Of course, the line is fun if you have a cooler of beer and camp chairs.

I liked Pecan Lodge in Dallas, although was underwhelmed by their sides. It's also conveniently in a fun neighborhood to walk around in.

+1 on Snow's - it was a fun drive out there and brisket was excellent.

The Pit Room in Houston is good, and you can pre-order a bulk to-go order (the Feast for 5 is solid). I haven't been to the new Gatlin's in Houston, but their food was excellent in the old spot.

This list is on our fridge and occasionally inspires early Sunday morning drives out to central Texas:

https://www.texasmonthly.com/food/the-l ... -in-texas/
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Re: BBQ Tour

#19 Post by Dave Sankaran » September 9th, 2019, 9:14 am

I've done the Austin area (and out about 100 miles) BBQ tour a couple of times. I'll dig up some notes and post here in a minute...

Edit - found my notes from the first trip:

First, a big Texas-sized "THANK YOU" to all that helped with advice in this thread.

I'll start with some overall observations and questions from my four days in Austin and driving to/from Houston and touring around the Austin area:

- While I'm sure many things are bigger in Texas, the undisputed "biggest" is the 50 pump gas stations! Do 50 people really all need gas at the same moment in time at the same exact place?
- After driving the hill country and seeing all the large and fancy ranch gates along the highway, is the new version of "all hat and no cattle", "all entrance gate and no cattle"?
- Is road construction the largest employer in Texas? Seemed so with road work virtually everywhere.
- So many BBQ shacks. But even more taco shacks and trucks and campers. Infinite numbers...sounds like another trip idea!


Day 1 - Tried to go to Franklin, bailed on the 3-hour wait, and got out of Austin:

- Started at Franklin BBQ at 9:45. Opens at 11:00. Lady came and said I was 3 hours from ordering where I stood. So I said see ya and went to:

- Louie Mueller (Taylor) - wow. Texture is perfect. No strings, no mush. No excess water. Flavor is mild but good. Not chewy at all. Reminds me of pork belly in texture. The beef rib is something. Too big for words (or eating) and too big for wallet ($38 for one rib). Good smoke and very beefy taste and chew. I'd call it a combination of braised beef with smoke and more salt.

- Southside Market (Elgin); Brisket was yucky; mushy and bland. Like it was injected with water. Sausage was only ok. Very greasy. Surprisingly bland.

- Opie's (Spicewood) - dark bark. But stringy and a bit chewy. Strongest smoke flavor. Sausage was ok, needed more seasoning, had a bit of heat. Beans get special mention. I kept going back to them.

- Coope's (Llano) - deep smoky flavor. Hard to cut and a bit stringing. Chewy, but not too chewy. Good sausage. Good seasoning, pop in the skin.


Day 2 - Austin City Limits BBQ Royalty

- La Barbeque - great brisket, finally the right texture again. Hot sausage...by far hottest of the trip. Very nice people.

- Micklethwait - good brisket, decent sausage (very spicy). Solid. Great homemade pickles. Very nice people.

- Kerlin - good brisket, meh sausage. First pork rib of the trip was very good. Even better homemade pickles. Very good sauce. Nicest people of the trip (gave me a free pork rib when I didn't order one, insisting I try it, I'm glad they did).

- Franklin - So the day before the lady said around 1pm the wait should only be 30 minutes and we likely run out of things at 3pm. So, I showed up at 12:30 and waited about 45 minutes. I'm very glad I did. Good brisket, best lean cut yet. Sausage not good. Pork Rib was solid. They gave me a pile of free pulled pork because they wanted me to try it even though I didn't order it. Was okay. Sauces are excellent (really excellent, perhaps the best BBQ sauce I've ever had).


Day 3 - I can't eat anymore BBQ! Ugh, beef coma. Can't do another day. So, I take the day off to see Star Wars Rouge 1 in IMAX 3D.


Day 4 - To the Temple's in Lockhart

- Kreuz - decent cheddar jalapeño sausage. Lean Brisket was very dry. Moist was a bit stringy.

- Blacks - same as Kreuz.

- Smittys - had to stand in a very hot very smoky room on a mid-80s day. I don't know if they just started the fires or what, but it was filled with smoke. I left and came back and it had cleared a fair bit. Then I waited in line. Meh brisket and sausage, decent pork rib. Tried my first side of the trip, above average potato salad.


Overall BBQ Impressions:

- There is good brisket in Texas! (I've never had what I would call good brisket anywhere prior to this trip).

- But there is awful brisket in Texas too. Texture is the hardest gate to pass. Needs to be tender but firm. Not Watery nor mealy. Not stringy. Fat must be rendered and melted, not hard or gloppy.

- The sausages were universally bland and all way, way, way too greasy. Somehow all of the sausage making knowledge did not leave Europe with the immigrants (there is better sausage on pretty much every corner of central and Eastern European cities).

- I focused. I only ordered a slice of Moist and slice of Lean brisket and a sausage at each place. I avoided turkey and chicken. I also avoided sides except for pickles, bread and sauce (I did finally try the potato salad at my very last stop).

- Turns out sauce can be a good thing. Especially with the dry and somehow bland lean cuts of brisket. Some sauces weren't worth the squeeze. But a few were; franklin's 3 sauces were among the best I've ever tried. There were a couple of others worth squeezing, notably Kerlin.

- Now I get it! Plain old white bread does go with BBQ! At first I said no. But then I learned the genius of making a brisket, sauce and dill pickle sandwich. It can save bad brisket (or mediocre brisket anyways).

- Beef ribs - try it. Once. Then order pork ribs (with sauce). I had to try 1 beef rib on the trip and that, of course, had to be at Louie Muellers.


The winners:

- Best brisket: Louie Mueller, Franklin, La Barbeque
- Best sausage - La Barbeque (very spicy), kreuz jalapeño cheddar
- Best side - Homemade pickles at Kerlin and Micklethwait
- Best sauce - Franklin (the "middle one") and Kerlin


Grand Award Winners (aka "places I'd go back"):

- La Barbeque
- Louie Muellers
- Franklin (only if the line is short)

______________________________

Here are the notes from trip 2:

BBQ Tour part II is in the books...

Day 1 was with a group of college buds. We hit five spots:

Louie Mueller
La Barbecue
Lockhart (kreutz, smittys, blacks)

Best of the day was La Barbeque by some margin. Mueller was not as good as my last time there, but the beef rib was loved by all. Blacks was second place.

Day 2 I had the good fortune to be joined by one of our own - Tomc - who made the drive down to Austin. Was great to meet him and share some cue. We also hit five places:

John Mueller Black Box BBQ
Micklewaith
La Barbeque
Kerlin
Stiles Switch

John Mueller’s newest place is something worth visiting...good bbq too. The man himself was there, which I discovered when a bearded guy yelled over to us “you gonna take photos of it or eat it? Stop taking pictures and eat” :)

La Barbeque was not as strong as two days earlier. All of the places showed “ok” or better to my palate.

Lesson learned from revisiting many of these places...consistency is hard. The cue can vary from cow to cow and cook to cook.

My other takeaway from this second trip is that I really enjoyed the sausage this time. On the first trip I was disappointed by the links everywhere. This trip was the opposite, I had good spicy links virtually everywhere. Not sure why my palate changed on that.

____________________

Finally, here is a summary advice post I made when someone asked me for help with their trip:

For your trip in October, now that I can reflect on my two trips (I have done 5 days total and 20+ stops), I think I'd recommend the following:

1) Lockhart 3 - must do. Smitty's, Kreuz and Blacks (and its easy as they are all within a few hundred yards of each other and the town is pretty cool looking)
2) Snow's on Saturday (I say this despite never having been there. Reputation suggest its gotta be great and a unique Texas experience)
3) John Mueller Black Box - must do (a bit north of Austin). The secret is not out yet...can't believe there are no lines...yet...
4) Louie Mueller in Taylor - must do (a bit east of Austin) (I think a saturday of Snow's, L. Mueller and J Mueller would be amazing if logistically possible.)
5) Austin. La BBQ and Franklin (if you order ahead at both places, which you need to do NOW) are must do*. But the secret has been out on Franklin for years and now the same is happening at La BBQ with resultant long lines there too. Kerlin and Micklewaith also worth hitting and all four are within a mile of one another
6) Western Hill Country Drive (time permitting its a fun drive to get into the hills. Hit up Opie's in Spicewood, Coopers out in Llano, perhaps a couple more with research. Opie's still sticks out in my mind for being very authentic and real people spot. I'd go again.)

Ordering - get enough moist brisket, lean brisket and sausage for everyone in your group to try it. I'd get a beef rib at Louie Mueller for sure, and perhaps at Black's too. I've started getting a pork rib or two here and there and have had some good ones in Texas. I avoid sides and bread. I get lots of the pickles (especially the homemade ones at a few places). I also try turkey or chicken a few times. You can bring along a cooler and take it home/to the hotel if anyone wants late supper.

* The lines at Franklin and La BBQ are too long to work either place into a BBQ Tour day unless you pre-order on their website. Pro tip - you have to order 1lb min of each meat on La BBQ's website, but they don't charge you in advance and you can then adjust the order simply by telling them when you arrive that you are "touring" and need less. Btw - the pre-order secret door is in the "back" of the place, so just walk by the large line. Franklin has a 5lb min iirc, but you can spread it around 5 meats. Btw - their sauces are the best I've ever had (I'm not religious about sauce). If you can get a pre-order at Franklins, do it. Don't let the Texan's tell you it sucks and is for visiting Californians. There is real dislike of Aaron and his "whole thing" and the crowds it attracts with its "yuppie Q". Like many things, some people don't like change and don't like different. What matters is the food. And his is fantastic. Also, keep in mind my comments on consistency, no restaurant has perfect consistency and you can have bad or disappointing brisket at any place one day to another. So I'm sure some have been disappointed by the food at Franklin. But, many, many have had fantastic BBQ there. Go and find out for yourself vs. being told you are an idiot if you go there
Last edited by Dave Sankaran on September 9th, 2019, 9:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: BBQ Tour

#20 Post by Mike Cohen » September 9th, 2019, 9:23 am

Bryce K wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 9:39 am

Franklin's in Austin has a limited number of pre-orders, so that you can skip the line and pick up early. Of course, the line is fun if you have a cooler of beer and camp chairs.
I did the pre-order (take out) thing with friends this past May. I just picked it up, I wasn't involved in the ordering, but my understanding is that it's done a week or so in advance and there is a minimum...we ordered 10-12 pounds of mixed BBQ. I thought the brisket was out of this world. The rest of it (ribs, pulled pork, sausage) didn't really do it for me.

As an aside, I loved Veracruz All Natural for tacos and Bufalina for pizza and a fantastic wine list.

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Re: BBQ Tour

#21 Post by Andrew Kotowski » September 9th, 2019, 11:24 am

Fantastic. I’ve got some friends in Austin that could help me power through 5 lbs of Franklin, especially if it saves 3 hrs!!!
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Re: BBQ Tour

#22 Post by Jason T » September 9th, 2019, 11:45 am

D@ve D y r 0 f f wrote:
September 4th, 2019, 8:05 pm
If your tour is 3-4 weeks you can certainly expand it beyond just TX, unless you just really like cow. You could, for example, fly into KC, hit a few spots there (at least Joe's, but plenty of others to consider), drive to STL, hit Pappy's and, again, plenty of others if you want to take the time (bonus - I would come drink - and eat - with you if I'm in town), then drive to Memphis (Central BBQ, you mentioned Commissary), then on to NOLA, Houston, Austin, Dallas, and OKC, flying home from there.
In Memphis I highly recommend the original Centeal, and think it’s several notches above Commissary, which I just did not get at all.
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Re: BBQ Tour

#23 Post by Jason T » September 9th, 2019, 11:46 am

Huge +1 for KC and NOLA.
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Re: BBQ Tour

#24 Post by Andrew Kotowski » September 9th, 2019, 2:09 pm

Jason T wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 11:45 am
D@ve D y r 0 f f wrote:
September 4th, 2019, 8:05 pm
If your tour is 3-4 weeks you can certainly expand it beyond just TX, unless you just really like cow. You could, for example, fly into KC, hit a few spots there (at least Joe's, but plenty of others to consider), drive to STL, hit Pappy's and, again, plenty of others if you want to take the time (bonus - I would come drink - and eat - with you if I'm in town), then drive to Memphis (Central BBQ, you mentioned Commissary), then on to NOLA, Houston, Austin, Dallas, and OKC, flying home from there.
In Memphis I highly recommend the original Centeal, and think it’s several notches above Commissary, which I just did not get at all.
Personal context re: Commissary - my father was driving through with me and is a big steam locomotive / train artist and historian. Commissary was a great stop for us given its location on the train tracks. Was even cooler because they had a pic of a Southern Railways engine next to the bathroom... and he had fired the engine before (iirc).

Dad: How are you going to know the guys we're meeting?
Me: Uh, see the two dudes with three cases of stemware and a travel cooler? I'm guessing that's them.
You can find me at the grill! Https://www.facebook.com/akgrill

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Jason T
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Location: London

Re: BBQ Tour

#25 Post by Jason T » September 9th, 2019, 3:17 pm

Andrew Kotowski wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 2:09 pm
Jason T wrote:
September 9th, 2019, 11:45 am
D@ve D y r 0 f f wrote:
September 4th, 2019, 8:05 pm
If your tour is 3-4 weeks you can certainly expand it beyond just TX, unless you just really like cow. You could, for example, fly into KC, hit a few spots there (at least Joe's, but plenty of others to consider), drive to STL, hit Pappy's and, again, plenty of others if you want to take the time (bonus - I would come drink - and eat - with you if I'm in town), then drive to Memphis (Central BBQ, you mentioned Commissary), then on to NOLA, Houston, Austin, Dallas, and OKC, flying home from there.
In Memphis I highly recommend the original Centeal, and think it’s several notches above Commissary, which I just did not get at all.
Personal context re: Commissary - my father was driving through with me and is a big steam locomotive / train artist and historian. Commissary was a great stop for us given its location on the train tracks. Was even cooler because they had a pic of a Southern Railways engine next to the bathroom... and he had fired the engine before (iirc).

Dad: How are you going to know the guys we're meeting?
Me: Uh, see the two dudes with three cases of stemware and a travel cooler? I'm guessing that's them.
That’s awesome!
J@son Tr@ughber

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