Responding to your Barbecusations
Fri May 17, 2013 1:47 pm

We have tweeted and you have spoken. Since Texas Monthly released the new 2013 Top 50 BBQ list two days ago via Twitter, we have gotten a mountain of feedback. A dedicated group of passionate barbecue eaters was assembled to create this list, so we’re happy to see that passion matched by the readers.

There’s been a stream of reactions on social media and more than two hundred comments on the story, and following all of this feedback is turning into a full time job (good thing Texas Monthly just hired that barbecue editor).

Here are some of the common questions/comments/barbecusations we’ve received, with our brief explanations that won’t possibly quiet all of the fervent smoked meat fans out there.

Q: “Is no Smittys an error!?! I understand not top 5 any longer, but no longer top 50????” – Jacob Reach

Smitty’s did not make the 2013 Top 50 list because their brisket ranged from barely passable to awful on three visits, which were all done at different times of the day and different days of the week. The most weight for every score was given to brisket, and when a knife is required to cut it then it’s hard to recommend a visit to our readers.

Q: “No Micklethwait's in Austin? Injustice!!!” – Mike McKinnon

This was our hardest decision. During our visit to the trailer it was just getting started. The barbecue was great, but only lasted a few hours with the pit holding only two briskets per day. It felt like more of a pop-up which seemed to be confirmed when they shut down for the entire week after our visit. This was right at the point where the list was being finalized, and making sure we had a viable business on the list that would be open when it was finally printed was the main concern. I’d happily be a regular at Micklethwait based on their quality of meat, and I’m happy they now have consistent hours and supply.

Q: “As always, the VERY best don't even make this list. Most real Texans know of some small place that hardly anyone ever heard of that is better than any of these more well publicized places. I won't get into names, etc. But all real Texans know what I am talking about.” – Michael Hardie

These”VERY best” places are so under the radar that this commenter couldn’t provide a single example. We’ll try to find them next time.

Q: “Hmm. NO Salt Lick?! #listfail” – Patrick Trotter

Hmm. They weren’t on the previous list in 2008. The barbecue certainly isn’t bad at the Salt Lick, but it hasn’t gotten any better since 2008 either.

Q: “Really???...Hays Co. Bar-B-Que in San Marcos?? I live in San Marcos and don't even eat there...” – Debbie R.

Maybe you should try it.

Q: “What! No Dickey's BBQ?”

We assume this is satire.

Q: “Sorry, Lockhart Barbeque in Dallas is not in the top 100!!! When you enter the place a sign says "No sauce, no forks, no kiddin". Ya gotta have a great sauce to be in the top 200!” – Walker Bateman

It’s called Lockhart Smokehouse, they do serve sauce, and your statement is false.

Q: “Yes, that's only 4. I'm told ‪@TMBBQ had planned to announce five, but ran out early…” - @EatsBeat

There wasn’t a predetermined number of top tier barbecue joints. If two or seven had elevated themselves above the rest, then there would have been a Top 2 or Top 7.

Q: “Why isn’t La Barbecue or John Mueller Meat Co. in the Top 4?” – various commenters

To be considered for the top tier a joint needed to be continuously operating for at least a year. This list lasts a long time, and we wanted to be sure that all of the top tier would still be around for the next list.

Others asked about various old favorites like New Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Dozier’s, Stubb’s, Cooper’s in Mason, and Baby J’s. The simple answer is that we visited them all, and they just weren’t that good this time around.

The full issue will be arriving in mailboxes today and will be on newsstands May 23. We can’t wait to field the continuing barrage of questions and comments.

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