Things have changed dramatically since Texas Monthly published its last list of the state’s top fifty barbecue joints, in 2008. Not only has there been an unprecedented flourishing of great new joints in the past five years (sixteen of the places on this year’s list were not even open in 2008, including two of the top four); and not only has there been a corresponding flourishing of new barbecue blogs, books, and TV shows; but there’s also been an equally dramatic shift in how barbecue, or any other subject, is covered. Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, tablet apps, mobile apps—the list of new media that were mostly non-existent five years ago goes on and on. There are more tools today for reaching readers than ever before, and, just as important, most if not all of those tools are now available to readers, meaning that they can cover a subject themselves if they think we’re doing a lousy job. In other words, the importance of barbecue as a subject, the potential for innovation, and the pressure to embrace change have never been greater. And the stakes are high.

In 2008, it was enough for us to publish our top fifty list, stick a video on our website, and move on. Not anymore.

Today, the June issue goes online and appears on newsstands around the state (actually, some hungry retailers have been putting it out already). And with it, we’re launching our new TMBBQ franchise. What is TMBBQ? Well, it’s many things—a website full of feature stories, reviews, news, interviews, and user-generated content; a series of barbecue events all over Texas and beyond; a mobile app that helps you find joints; social and print media; and more. Most of all TMBBQ will be a community of people who are as crazy about this stuff as we are. And the headquarters of all this activity (or madness, depending on your perspective) is the new redesigned website that you’re on right now. Welcome!

If you’ve spent any time on the previous incarnation of, you’ll notice a few differences right off the bat. Not only has the site been beautifully redesigned (by the talented folks at Guerilla Suit), but it now has much more content. Not just reviews of joints but news, interviews, feature stories, and more. It’s also a hub for info about our barbecue events. And the whole thing is built to be responsive to whatever screen your using, from a laptop to a smartphone. We know that a site dedicated to chronicling the great barbecue experiences that are out there around Texas needs to have a friendly mobile experience.

We’ll be adding to the site (and refining it—so please send your feedback to [email protected] or tweet it to @tmbbq) in the weeks and months ahead. Currently you’ll find around eighty reviews of barbecue joints on here. We have hundreds more in store for you, and we’ll be adding new reviews (and features, and interviews, and news) all the time.

There’s a lot here. And there’s a lot more coming. Our philosophy is simple: Barbecue is not just one of the greatest foods on earth, it’s one of the greatest subjects as well. And we intend to cover it that way.