Ten Texas Pitmasters Welcome Media to Texas
Debates regarding the quality of smoked meat in Dallas will be temporarily settled tomorrow when 10 of the state's leading pit masters descend upon the House of Blues to cater the Super Bowl party for credentialed media.
Participating barbecue joints include Snow's, Franklin BBQ, Black's BBBQ and Meyer's Smokehouse.
Drew Thornley of Man Up Texas BBQ, who helped coordinate the event, says he hopes the many reporters and photographers who've never before sampled Texas barbecue will gain appreciation for the style's diversity.
"I hope they get the feel it's versatile," Thornley says. "It's not a one-trick pony: It's brisket, but it's also beef ribs, sausage, turkey and chicken."
Man Up Texas BBQ's involvement in the event was spurred by Thornley's business partner, Brad Istre, a Mesquite native. It fell to the bloggers and businessmen -- who also administer the discount "Q-Card" program -- to mediate negotiations between the barbecue joints and the party hosts.
"The barbecue joints are old school," Thornley says. "A lot of them don't have e-mail. Between them and the Super Bowl, it's two different worlds."
Man Up Texas BBQ gleaned its invitees from its 2008 and 2009 lists of "best of" winners; The 2010 list is now being finalized. For the first time in the blog's history, this year's list includes two "reader's choice" divisions. Today's the last day to vote in the "best brisket" and "best overall" categories.
Thornley issued just one invitation to a new joint that hasn't yet won "best of" honors. Blue Ribbon Barbecue of Austin is run by a third-generation Mileska, a defining name in Texas barbecue history.
"It's a Texas thing," Thornley says of the joint's inclusion.
The party's a private affair, but Thornley maintains there are plenty of valuable barbecue experiences on the opposite side of the House of Blue's cordon.
"Barbecue brings people together," he says. "Good barbecue or bad, it's just fun."