The original Bodacious BBQ opened fifty years ago in Longview, Texas. It was called Little Roland’s Bodacious Bar-B-Q. They dropped the “Little Roland” part and today it’s known as Mobberly (for the street it sits on), or simply The Original. I tried to visit a few times in 2013 and 2014, always finding it closed. When I first met Roland in 2015, I learned why. A battle with cancer had forced him to close it indefinitely. His son-in-law, Jordan Jackson, helped him reopen the place in June of that same year, and just two years later we named it the No. 4 barbecue joint in the state on the Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ list.
Each time I visited, it was a chat with Roland that I most hoped for. He shared stories of what barbecue was like in this area of Texas before briskets dominated the menu. He used to cook whole beef plates, weighing 100 pounds, mopping them with a sauce he dubbed “Arkansas gravy.” Roland witnessed the transformation of Texas barbecue, and the transformation of his own Bodacious brand, before he passed away in September.
Jackson learned most everything about cooking barbecue from Roland, and misses him every day. Roland’s advice still echoes in his head while he tends the pits at the Gladewater location. He just reopened the spot after the previous operator, Mel Garcia, retired. Jackson is looking to put this Bodacious on the map the same way he did the Mobberly location. He’s off to a good start; it has become the fourth in a string of great Bodacious options along Highway 80. Jackson’s excellent ribs, brisket, and housemade sausage were my final meal of the day after stops in Marshall for incredible spare ribs, in Hallsville for some of the state’s best brisket, and at the Mobberly location for a bit of everything. Roland left the Bodacious brand in good hands, and he’d be proud to know that it’s better than ever.