Barbecue Bros Book Club: The Texas Monthly 2021 Top 50 Issue

Not that we’re anywhere close to being qualified enough to evaluate books but more so as a public service announcement we will periodically discuss barbecue and barbecue-related books. And in this case, barbecue magazine issues.

Every four years, the most anticipated issue of Texas Monthly is awaited not only by Texas barbecue fans but also by just about all Texas barbecue restaurants as well. The Top 50 is the end product of “32 Texas Monthly editorial staffers and 3 freelancers [who] visited 411 barbecue joints over eight weeks during the spring and summer, driving many thousands of miles in the process.”

As for the issue itself, the Texas Monthly Top 50 and its related features takes up about 30 pages of the November issue of the magazine. That covers: the top 10 with extended write ups, shorter write-ups on the remaining 40 of the 50, a list of the 50 honorable mentioned joints, plus a couple of short articles. Beautiful photos are featured throughout.

I can’t help but be struck by the newness of the joints in the top 50 but also the youth of several of the top joints. The five pitmasters at #1 joint Goldee’s BBQ in Fort Worth are all under 27, the five listed pitmasters at #3 Truth Barbeque in Houston are all under 35, Evan LeRoy of #5 LeRoy and Lewis is 35, and four of the other joints in the top 10 have pitmasters under 40 (Franklin Barbeque, Evie Mae’s Pit Barbeque, Snow’s BBQ, and Panther City BBQ). And as noted in the lead-in, 29 of the top 50 are new to the list.

Goldee’s Barbecue in particular is one I hope to visit soon. Besides the youth of the pitmasters noted above, I love the multi-culturality. Black, white, Laotian; these are some of the new faces of always changing barbecue scene.

Also included in the issue is the updated Top 50 BBQ Joints Passport, a highly coveted item for all Texas BBQ hunters. As folks visit the various joints, they get a stamp in the hopes of completing the passport. Who knows if I’ll get the opportunity to get stamps of my own, but I urge folks to practice civility when visiting these joints in the coming weeks and months. I recall anecdotal evidence of impatience and ugliness after the last list drop in 2017.

The Texas Monthly Top 50 issue is available through the Texas Monthly Store online (now sold out) for those of us not in Texas but be warned that you will be paying about $15 for the single issue after shipping. It’s also available as part of “The Ultimate Texas BBQ Guide Bundle” which will run you $50 before shipping (also now sold out). Even with the increased price for those out of state, it’s worth having for any serious barbecue fan.

Friday Find: Tales from the Pits Reacts to the Texas Monthly Top 50

Listen on: Apple | TheBBQPodcast.com

Monk: The Tales from the Pit guys react to the release of the much-anticipated Texas Monthly Top 50 list last Monday with an instant reaction pod.

They start off by recounting the top 10 and comparing it to their predictions (they both got 8/10) before naming the rest of the top 50. Then they end by naming some of the ones that missed the cut but are favorites of them as well as some stats. Good discussion as always.

Description: The much anticipated 2021 Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ List has finally arrived! Hear our thoughts on the top ten, the list overall, and some fun facts and tidbits about the long awaited list that always has BBQ nerds talking.

Congratulations to all of the great spots that made the list, and make sure you go out and support all of your favorite local BBQ regardless of whether they’re on a list or not.

Linkdown: 10/26/21

Featured

Not to be outdone by the recent introduction of the BBQ Bowl between Campbell College and Gardner-Webb University in NC, The Battle of the Bones rivalry between Memphis and UAB and the spectacular ribs trophy you see below is coming back!

As a result of the latest rounds of conference alignment, the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) will be joining the University of Memphis in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) as a part of a massive expansion with 5 other schools that will expand the conference to 14 teams. Of course, this is just the latest domino to fall after Texas and Oklahoma announced its move to the SEC which led to Cincinnati, Central Florida, and Houston leaving the AAC to join the Big 12.

Regardless of all that, clearly the main takeaway here is that The Battle for the Bones is back, baby! Or kind of…there might be a chance that the original trophy (which reportedly weighs almost a 100 pounds) is lost somehow? That appears to be the rumor according to some tweets I’ve seen on the internet. Surely the internet wouldn’t lead me astray, would it?

Regardless, let’s either find that ribs trophy or create a near-facsimile and get this rivalry back on track. AAC fever, baby!

Native News

A lucky reporter is going to get to experience some Peachland Saturdays at Jon G’s

While Pik N Pig rebuilds its restaurant in Carthage damaged by fire, they were at the NC State Fair in Raleigh serving barbecue out of their log cabin booth as they have done since 2006

Potential new NC flag?

Non-Native News

Must read thread from Evan LeRoy in the wake of being named #5 in Texas Monthly’s Top 50

Bobby’s BBQ in Fountain Inn, SC celebrated 3 years open last weekend

Denver-based Smōk recently opened its 3rd location (and first outside of Denver) in Fort Collins, CO

Rusty’s Bar-B-Q in Leeds, AL was recently revisited by John Tanner

Pig Beach has opened a Queens location in Astoria

Linkdown: 10/20/21

Featured

The Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ joint list was published on Monday morning, and predictably it set the Barbecue Twitter world on fire. The list itself was quite a feat, with “32 Texas Monthly editorial staffers and 3 freelancers visited 411 barbecue joints over eight weeks during the spring and summer, driving many thousands of miles in the process.” This was the sixth quadrennial list published by the magazine, and according to Barbecue Editor Daniel Vaughn, the average age of the barbecue restaurants on the list dropped from 15 years to 10 years form the 2017 list. Number one on the list in particular may surprise many folks, but I won’t spoil it for you quite yet.

Here’s the full thread of content published in the magazine and online. Starting with the list:

Plus the 50 honorable mentions…

How the list was made in the words of the Texas Monthly Editor, Dan Goodgame…

Tales from the brave-but-lucky souls who went on the trail…

Corn was ever-present as a side…

Yes, sauce is no longer a four-letter word…

Non-Native News

Goldee’s BBQ in Fort Worth landed at #1 on the list

Here’s the first review of Goldee’s in Texas Monthly, from August 2020

Houston’s Truth BBQ landed at #3 on the list

Is Houston the state’s new barbecue capital?

Evan LeRoy was pumped that LeRoy and Lewis ended up at #5

The Smoking Ho has a helpful spreadsheet of the Top 50 and the hours of operation

The Texas Monthly BBQ Finder app has been updated, so get on the trail!