Every four years, Texas Monthly publishes their list of the Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas. I don’t envy my friend Daniel Vaughn, the Texas Monthly barbecue editor, in the period following the big reveal. The announcement is inevitably followed by mean-spirited second guessing and accusations of bribery and bias. (Just read the comments section at the end of the post!)
Here at ZenBBQ, we don’t take rankings, ratings or Top BBQ lists seriously. We are more interested in the history and culture of barbecue and its role in the world’s culinary scene. But we are apt to join in the hullabaloo following the big Texas Monthly list announcement, because, after all, arguing about barbecue is part of the culture too.
The number one bbq restaurant in Texas, according to the Texas Monthly list this year, is Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, a lovely little joint that serves barbecue for a few hours on Saturday mornings. This is the second time Snow’s has made the top spot on the list.
Last October, in a profile of Snow’s lovable pitmaster, Tootsie Tomanetz, Daniel Vaughn, the barbecue editor of Texas Monthly quoted me making disparaging comments about the last time Snow’s was named number one.
Galveston-based food writer Robb Walsh wasn’t as enamored of Snow’s as most. He criticized the pick because of the short hours. “The average barbecue fan has a snow cone’s chance in hell of getting anything to eat there,” he wrote. He later elicited a quote from Kreuz Market’s Rick Schmidt, who scoffed, “Anybody can make great barbecue for a few hours on Saturday morning.”
Note that I never questioned the quality of Tootsie’s brisket or ribs. It’s the idea of leaving my home in Galveston at 3 in the morning and driving 5 hours to get to get to Snow’s by 8 am to take a chance on maybe getting something to eat that makes me think of this number one ranking as cruel and unusual. And I suspect that a whole lot of barbecue fans who attempt to visit Snow’s on Saturday mornings for the next few months will agree as they drive away hungry.
And as for Rick Schmidt’s observation, let’s consider another question. If a barbecue joint that is only open one day a week is eligible, how about a place that is only open one day a year? I am thinking about the annual community barbecues that are held across the state, of course.
If you have never been to one, check out the Community Barbecue tab on this website. The Fourth of July BBQ in Kenney is amazing and so is the Millheim Father’s Day Barbecue. Are these wonderful historical gatherings being considered in the media’s “Best Barbecue” ratings?
If not, why not?
Millheim Harmonie Verein’s Annual Father’s Day Barbecue
Father’s Day, June 18th
Millheim Harmonie Verein’s Dance Hall
3384 FM 949 Road (15 miles east of Cat Springs)
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!
Kenney 4th of July BBQ
Kenney Agricultural Society Hall, Keeney, Texas
(Off 36 north of Bellville)
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