Reviews

Big O’s BBQ

“What are butter fires?” I asked the server. There was a big table waiting to order behind me, and she responded succinctly: “They’re fries with melted butter poured on top.” Thus began my more-decadent-than-usual meal at Big O’s BBQ in Valera. Big O’s is the only establishment in tiny Valera, a town with a population too small to print on the city limit sign. The place isn’t too big, either. The single restroom is labeled as “transgender” with…

Dylan’s Barbeque Saloon

Bryan Mahoney was a catering veteran with a barbecue itch. When Dylan Johnson, the co-owner of Milo’s Bar in Arlington, called about a potential partnership for a bar and barbecue joint in Dallas, Mahoney was in. They opened the doors to Dylan’s Barbeque Saloon nearly a year ago, with Johnson running the bar and Mahoney manning their new custom-built smoker. Dylan’s Barbeque Saloon sits along the busy Northwest Highway, west of I-35, just before the turn-in…

Stringer’s Lufkin Bar-B-Que

A couple of years back I compiled a list of Texas barbecue treasures, or joints that had been open for at least fifty years. But it wasn’t until recently that I noticed that Stringer’s Lufkin Bar-B-Que was the oldest on the list without a mention on TMBBQ. They celebrated 65 years in deep East Texas just last year, and there’s more to the place than the fried rolls they’re so famous for. Lufkin Bar-B-Que was a shack when it…

Caroline’s Quality and Quantity Bar-B-Que

Twenty years ago, Arthur Yarbough’s family was trying to develop a recipe for beef links. Arthur doesn’t sugarcoat his recollections of his older sisters’ attempts: “They wasn’t worth nothing.” So he gave it a try. It took some time and effort, but now Arthur’s beef links are a weekend staple in the small town of Kountze, about thirty minutes north of Beaumont. Arthur and his wife, Caroline, opened the joint in a small building just off the…

Red Wagon BBQ

Just north of Waco, out on Gholson Road, you’ll find the Red Wagon BBQ trailer. It sits at the back of a gravel lot in between Brazos Valley Cheese and the Homestead General Store at the entrance of Homestead Heritage. Homestead Heritage describes itself as “an agrarian and craft-based intentional Christian community.” As a member of the group, Joe Slack lives on the property and serves as the pitmaster to Red Wagon BBQ. Slack sat down with me…

The Grove Smoke Shack

At the Grove, a new development on the south side of Tyler, a small wooden building is sandwiched between crisp white structures. I could see the smoke rising above the shiny metal roof from the parking lot, so I assumed it was the barbecue joint. It was called the Smoke Shack, after all. It’s part of a larger collection of venues at the Grove, which also includes the main restaurant, a bar, a takeout market, and an event space….

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