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The Oldest BBQ in Texas

Cat Springs Agricultural Society has been holding a community barbecue out back behind the German dance hall for over 150 years.
This is the oldest barbecue tradition in Texas.

Here’s a message from Marilyn at Cat Springs Dance Hall for those who may want to come and take photos before the festivities begin:

C.H. Shayne Carter

C.H. Shayne Carter

“Actually the guys will be BBQing out back early in the day and the helicopter will be there in the afternoon and some drinks will be available about 2:00, but the actual meal will not begin until 5:00 p.m. The auction starts at 6:30. In the auction we will have some homemade quilts and baked goods and there are always some interesting things. The cake walk will begin as soon as there are enough people through eating to play.

The free dance is from 8:30 until 12:30 in the evening. The band is called The Hit Men and they play a mix of some polka, country and a little bit of everything if you ask for it. Bring a crowd with you. There will be booths to browse through and some childrens games with a bounce house at no charge.

So come on out if you can. We’d love to have you.”

Cat Springs Dance Hall BBQ
1st Sunday in June
Cat Springs Agricultural Society Hall
13035 Hall Rd. Cat Spring
BBQ Beef, Mutton, Pork
Information: 979 865 2540

2014 Community BBQ Season Getting Underway

A three meat plate at the Millheim Father's Day BBQ comes with veal, pork and mutton.

A three meat plate at the Millheim Father’s Day BBQ comes with veal, pork and mutton.

There are several community barbecues that take place in April and a few more in May. The Father’s Day BBQ in Millheim is my favorite–although I have many more to check out!

Stirring BBQ Gravy in a Cast Iron Washtub

The oldest barbecue tradition in America, the community barbecue, continues largely unnoticed in churches, clubs and lodge halls. Many of the pits are ancient, the cooking methods are traditional and the barbecue is generally excellent. Check out a community barbecue near you, it’s worth the trip! If you love to barbecue, why not volunteer to help keep this tradition alive?

Please post additional listings and information about community barbecues in the comments section of this website so we can update the calendar.


Cat Springs Volunteer Fire Department BBQ
3rd Saturday of April
(more info requested)

Annual Frydek Grotto Celebration
Last Sunday of April
St. Mary’s Catholic Church Grounds, FM 1458
124 Zaruba Road, Sealy
Mass 9:30am
BBQ 11:00am Brisket, chicken and homemade Czech sausage
Music, Auction, Cake Walk, Kids Activities
Get there early if you want to buy homemade kolaches–they sell out fast!

Southern style open pit tradition goes back more than a hundred years in the Old Austin Colony region.

Southern style open pit tradition goes back more than a hundred years in the Old Austin Colony region.

10th Annual Fruehling Saengerfest
Fourth Sunday of April
Concordia Hall, 952 S. Tesch, Bellville
For more information please contact Robert Herridge 979-865-0935
Sponsored by Bellville Lions Club & Bluebonnet Chapter of the Texas German Society.
BBQ 11:00am Chicken & Sausage Dinner $9.00 per plate.

St. John’s BBQ
1st Sunday of May
St. John’s Lutheran Church, Bellville

Peters Mother’s Day BBQ
Peters-Hacienda Community Hall
756 Trenckmann Rd., Sealy
BBQ 11:30am Beef, Pork
Cake Walk, live auction, beanbag tournament at 2 pm
Information: 281 898 1346

Cat Springs Dance Hall BBQ
1st Sunday in June
Cat Springs Agricultural Society Hall
13035 Hall Rd. Cat Spring
BBQ 11am Beef, Mutton, Pork
The oldest community barbecue in Texas, this one goes back 150 years.
Information: 979 865 2540

Dumas Dogie Days
2nd Saturday of June
McDade Park, Dumas, Texas
BBQ 11:00 am tickets are $8.00 until day of BBQ, then go
up to $9.00 the day of BBQ.

7600 pounds of meat cooked in a covered pit with 15 cords of wood for 24 hrs.
40 gallons of barbecue sauce, 800 pounds of beans 200 pounds of onions, 228 gallon cans of peaches
300 loaves of bread. Also 14.500 hamburgers are served at the hamburger stand.
Approximately 5,000 to 6,000 people are fed at the barbecue every year.
First Dogie Days was held in 1946.

Millheim Harmonie Verein’s Annual Father’s Day Barbecue
Father’s Day
Millheim Harmonie Verein’s Dance Hall
3384 FM 949 Road (15 miles east of Cat Springs)
Sealy, Texas
BBQ 11:00 am Beef, Mutton, and Pork.
Cake Wheel, Silent Auction, Music
One of the last of the old-fashioned open pits!
Don’t miss this one!
Information: 979-877-4408




Kenney 4th of July BBQ
Kenney Agricultural Society Hall, Keeney, Texas
(Off 36 north of Bellville)
July 4th
BBQ 11:00 am Beef, Mutton and Pork
Plates, $10 with sides and desserts

(Meats also available by the pound)
Cake Wheel, Silent Auction, Live Music
This barbecue is over 100 years old.
For info: call Keeney Post Office (979) 865-0329

Bellville Volunteer Fire Department BBQ
3rd Friday in August
(more info requested)

Mentz BBQ
1st Sunday in October
St. Roch Catholic Church
1600 Frelsburg Road
Alleyton (former town of Mentz)
(979) 732-3460
(info requested)

Sons of Hermann Washington Lodge BBQ
Third Sunday in October
Sons of Hermann Lodge
9499 Fm 1370 Washington, Texas
BBQ 11 am Brisket and Pork Butt, homemade dessert table
Cake auction, raffle
Come early and see the wonderful old BBQ pit in action!

HouBBQ Fest 2014


A new movie from the Southern Foodways Alliance about a barbecue joint in Alabama that Rufus and I visited in Barbecue Crossroads:

Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland

I went to Ronnie Killen’s place yesterday.

Ronnie Killen

Ronnie Killen

Got a 4-meat plate with brisket, beef ribs, pork ribs and sausage with creamed corn and baked beans on the side.

Killen's 4 meat plate

Killen’s 4 meat plate

If you ask for slices from the fatty end of the brisket, you might get some very moist stuff with lots of bark.

Killen's fatty end cut

Killen’s fatty end cut

Be careful if you are trying to navigate to Killen’s with Mapquest or Googlemaps. If you enter the Broadway address without the “E.” in front, you will be routed to Broadway off of I-45 near Park Place and College.

Nickel BBQ

Just Good Food

Just Good Food

IMG_2953 “Just Good Food” is the name of the new BBQ trailer that’s parked in a vacant lot at the corner of Lyons and St. Elmo in the Fifth Ward. The trailer is open from 11 to 6, closed Sundays. Call 832 322 8428 for details.

Political candidate and community organizer, James “Joe” Joseph, is keeping it all in the “Nickel” as the Fifth Ward is fondly known–he is cooking ribs from Davis Meat Market on Lockwood and links from Bert’s Meat Market on Lyons.

I plan to go by soon and sample some. If you beat me to it, please let us how the barbecue tastes.

Before desegregation in the 1970s, the Nickel was Houston’s premier destination for barbecue. Let’s hope for a revival.

Beef Ribs Are Hot

NAMP 130 beef chuck ribs

NAMP 130 beef chuck ribs

Beef ribs are in the spotlight lately. It’s all about the flavor: a well-cooked beef rib is just as succulent as a perfectly cooked brisket, but with a softer, silkier texture. Louis Mueller’s in Taylor has been cooking beef ribs since they opened. And Pecan Lodge in Dallas has gotten a lot of noteriety for theirs lately too. Ronnie Killen plans to serve them when his new barbecue joint opens in Pearland a few months from now.

Ronnie Killen with a NAMP 123A beef plate rib

Ronnie Killen with a NAMP 123A beef plate rib

“I think they have become popular because they have so much meat on them. Before the barbecued beef ribs were always dry and chewy,” says Ronnie Killen. “Now, cooked right, they are like the fatty end of the brisket but without all the fat.” Killen’s is cooking two varieties of ribs—the shorter ones are served on barbecue plates, and the big ones are sold by the pound. Since the big ones run from a pound and a half to two pounds, they are best eaten family style—one rib serves two or three people.The two big problems with beef ribs are the inconvenient serving size and the confusing nomenclature. The subject of beef short ribs is a rabbit hole that we won’t venture into here. The ribs can come from three different parts of the animal and are cut in an endless variety of shapes and sizes. The short ribs in the meat case at the grocery store might be any one of these.

Ronnie Killen has resorted to using the numbers from the North American Meat Packers meat buyers’ guide to specify which ones he is talking about. The smaller ones are called chuck short ribs (NAMP 130), and they are easily carved into just the right size for a single serving. The giant ones are called plate short ribs (NAMP 123A), and Killen’s sells these by the pound. The 123A Ronnie Killen is holding in the photo weighs a pound and half—at $12 a pound, that’s an $18 beef rib.

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