Snow’s has an outsized reputation (thanks, in part, to this magazine’s naming it the state’s best joint in 2008 and again in 2017), but it remains a no-frills operation: a homey kitchen with painted wooden signs; old picnic tables beneath a galvanized-metal roof, completely blackened with smoke; and an array of gloriously sooty pits, including a three-level monster the size and shape of a submarine.
On Saturdays Tootsie Tomanetz cooks barbecue the old-fashioned way for legions of loyal fans. She begins her vigil at two in the morning every Saturday; with the help of her son Hershe and Snow’s owner, Kerry Bexley. The result is brisket with a velvety mahogany crust and deeply flavorful meat so tender it almost melts. We prefer the fatty brisket, though the lean is plenty moist. Either one is capable of achieving transcendence, but if you ask Tootsie, she’ll tell you her specialty is the pork steak, which is cooked in the direct-heat pit. It’s a cut from the shoulder (where most pulled pork comes from as well), and Tootsie has its number. The meat comes out like no pork you’ve ever tasted—as full and luscious as a great beef steak, shot through with pockets of delectable fat.
Method: Post oak; indirect-heat pit (brisket); direct-heat (everything else)
Pitmaster: Tootsie Tomanetz
Pro-tip: Arrive no later than nine in the morning if you want to order from the full menu.
For some in the small town of Lexington (population roughly 1,200), Saturdays are as holy as Sundays. It’s hard to miss these devotees. They congregate at the end of Main Street, within view of some grain elevators dressed in a gingham rust—a line of farmhands, ranchers, well-off weekenders, and groggy young Austinites who woke up …
After driving three hours from Dallas to arrive in Lexington at nine in the morning, it’s hard not to suffer some validation bias no matter what you sink your teeth into. But it helps when it’s perfectly smoked and silky tender brisket. I invited a friend on a last-minute whirlwind trip through the finest that …
A small wood-frame restaurant, open only on Saturdays and only from eight in the morning until whenever the meat runs out, usually around noon, Snow’s is remarkable not only for the quality of its ’cue—“outlandishly tender brisket, fall-apart-delicious chicken”—but for the unlikeliness of its story. The genius behind this meat is a petite, energetic woman …