Last year The Daily Meal published an "Ultimate BBQ Road Trip" that were fightin' words here at the City of Ate. It included parts of Texas (Austin and Huntsville), but flew right through Dallas. Problem was they sent it to us, like "Hey, Mom! Look what we did." There was a pretty extensive amount of pavement between Austin and Davis, Oklahoma, yet they didn't even tap the brakes for the greatness of Pecan Lodge?
BBQ Snob Daniel Vaughn and I slapped their list-inclined hand in reprimand -- actually, Vaughn flipped them off. He's like that. Part of his allure is that he calls it like he sees it. Anyway, in sum, I broke up with The Daily Meal that day.
But we're talking again now. Actually, things are progressing well. We're considering going in on a bus together. It's the "next logical step."
The second stab at the ultimate barbecue road trip is pretty decent. From the Daily Meal, it "stretches from the deep South up into the Midwest to take us through what is traditionally beef brisket, sausage, and rib territory."
Are there other kinds of territories? No! Don't tell me. Don't want to hear about it.
The route starts at the Church of Holy Smoke in Huntsville, Texas, which gets mixed reviews as of late due to inconsistent meat and pitmaster changes. Then, it hits Luling City Market in Houston, followed by the real City Market in Luling (confusing?), Kreuz Market and Smitty's Market in Lockhart, then Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood. And Franklin. Naturally and of course, Franklin.
Then, barbecue road-trippers go a bit east for Taylor's Café in Taylor, Texas.
Finally, it's about a three-hour drive north to Pecan Lodge at the Dallas Farmers Market.
The second local spot recommended is Baker's Ribs for "Hickory smoked St. Louis-style pork ribs" and then Hard Eight in Coppell.
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The tour then heads up to Smokin' Joe's BBQ and RV Park in Davis, Oklahoma; then it's up the long lonely McDonald's-Interstate-entrapment (that actually should be illegal) to Kansas City.
At this point instead of sweat, your pores will be exhaling little puffs of smoke that smell like meat. There are four places in Kansas City (one place west of the river, the other three east): B.B.'s Lawnside BBQ, Smokin' Joe's, Jack Stacks and Arthur Bryant's.
The final leg is Pappy's Smokehouse in St. Louis, then 17th Street Bar and Grill in Murphysboro, Illinois.
The realities of such a trip, of actually loading up the wagon for almost 20 barbecue spots is, well ... suicidal? Or euphoric? Not sure. But I'm thinking there's a Kickstarter campaign waiting to happen for a barbecue tour bus.