Last week, my boyfriend Tim at the Daily Meal (we've actually never met) sent me an email (went to spam box first) about an Ultimate BBQ Road Trip. His greeting started with "Exciting news ... " about their "explicitly mouthwatering lineup of Barbecue restaurants across the southern United States..."
I pulled up the article, curious which local barbecue spot is on their omnivorous road trip.
Turns out, we're part of the road trip, but only in passing. The map takes barbecue junkies through the Dallas area, but doesn't suggest they actually stop anywhere to eat.
In brief, here's my email back to Tim:
Tim. There's a hole in your plan. You flew right through Dallas. It would have been a great article for my Dallas audience if you stopped here. But this BBQ road trip as it stands now is nothing but fightin' words.
Maybe Smoke or Pecan Lodge?
I'm sorry, Tim. We have to break up. Because your map hurts.
Thanks, though. It was real.
Sincerely, Lauren Drewes Daniels
With that email, I included a link to a review of Pecan Lodge penned by Daniel Vaughn, The BBQ Snob.
Go figure, Tim was devastated.
You broke my heart, Lauren. You just pulled it apart like pork.
I have forwarded to the editor and let her know that Dallas ain't happy.
Thanks for the suggested restaurants -- I'll make sure our regional correspondent is in the know.
By this time, I was colluding with Vaughn. I wrote to him about the slap in the face courtesy of The Daily Meal.
An email back to Tim.
Also, know that I have Daniel Vaughn on my side. Anthony Bourdain anointed him as "the barbecue Yoda." I don't know who you have in your corner, but I sense you brought a cute baby duck to a back alley chicken fight.
I sent him your list. He said overall it ain't bad, but the road trip has a five-hour haul between Davis, Oklahoma, and Taylor, Texas, with nary a stop for smoked brisket or ribs.
Vaughn says you need to add Pecan Lodge, and we agree (me and my fightin' chicken).
PE-CAN-LODGE! PE-CAN-LODGE! PE-CAN-LODGE!
I'll await your update...
Vaughn followed up with an email of his own to Tim.
Lauren speaks the truth. I love Taylor Cafe (not Taylor's) and Smokin' Joe's in Davis, but leaving off Dallas in between the two is a tragedy. I've been to all the Texas joints on your list and Pecan Lodge is right there with the best (and appx. 58 times better than the once-great-now-laughable Church of the Holy Smoke). I've attached a few photos of their meat to hasten your reconsideration.
Vaughn included this picture, because he's bad ass like that.
But, they just wouldn't listen.
Thank you both for all your enthusiastic feedback! [I hate exclamation points used disguise a letdown.] I'm sure it will leave an impact on our editors and contributors for every barbecue feature that lies ahead. [Whatevs.] I don't think a greater case for Pecan Lodge has ever been made. [It's not a "case," it's a "truth."] For now, the author of the piece has opted to leave her choices intact, but does send her sincere gratitude. [As sincere as her commitment to send people to Huntsville?] Daniel, we owe you a special thanks for those outstanding photos. It made our day.
Thanks again!! [I actually hate all exclamations points except to emphasize a curse word.]
I feel like a tool. We're never ever ever getting back together, Tim. The roadtrip hits the highlight reel in Central Texas, but there's some hot air and, unfortunately, it ain't smoke coming from Pecan Lodge.
But, honestly, isn't that the fun of any list? Arguing about what we think should and shouldn't be on it? The BBQ Snob and I gave it our best shot.