Texas BBQ Stops

These were our thoughts immediately following different shooting locations during production:

Dallas, Texas
It's not too often one gets the opportunity to interview someone who's interviewed presidents and kings, but that's exactly what our crew did. We asked Dan Rather some questions about Texas, and how Texans feel toward barbecue, and we got several wonderful stories that show even though Mr. Rather has traveled all over the world, he has kept Texas, and a love for barbecue, in his heart.

Elgin, Texas
Our return visit to Elgin in October allowed us to behold it's annual Hogeye Festival. Essentially, it's one big party for sausage. We caught up with the Sowpremes as they rode in on Harleys and performed a couple songs on stage, and we had the honor of meeting the new Sausage King. We also came across one of the most interesting images of our journey, an old washing machine converted into a barbecue pit. Very Cool.

Lampasas, Texas
No Texas drive is complete without a stop at the Dairy Queen. In Lampasas we got way more than we expected. Sarah began by greeting us with a smile, and ended by being completely out of the drive-through window and outside the building with us doing a chicken dance (and several other hilarious bits). Yes, we got it all on tape, although some it may be a bit shaky since Chris was laughing so hard. The other DQ employees could only stand inside and watch with wonder and awe at the spectacle until Sarah's manager stuck her head out of the drive-through window and reminded her that she was "still on the clock." If we were passing out trophies for the most colorful characters we've met while shooting this film, Sarah would surely receive one.  

Albany, Texas
The drive to Albany led us to chuck wagon cook Bill Cauble. He and his partner Cliff Teinert wrote a book called Barbecue, Biscuits and Beans with some amazing photos and recipes. Bill cooked for us and many others at Watt Matthews Cowboy Days in downtown Albany where they celebrate the cowboy spirit that is so much a part of barbecue. Besides the incredible rib-eye barbecue that Bill provided, there was live music, some loud (but non-lethal) shoot-outs, and yes even the 4th Annual Texas National Chicken Roping Competition . . . truly Texan indeed. 

Driftwood, Texas
Staying closer to home on this particular weekend netted us a great interview with Art Alexakis, frontman for the band Everclear. Even though Art lives in Portland, Oregon, he is very knowledgeable and passionate about barbecue. He was kind enough to make the long drive to Driftwood to talk with us at The Salt Lick, and of course nosh on their tasty ribs and brisket. He couldn't stay too long after eating because he needed to get back up to Austin to do his sound check for that evening's show at Stubb's. We caught him there later, eating more barbecue! Even though he lives outside of the state, Art embodies the passion for good 'cue that we have discovered in so many Texans. 

La Feria, Texas
We couldn't resist checking out a place called "Wild Bill's BBQ" so we stopped in to see what this place was all about. Located in La Feria, 24 miles northwest of Brownsville, the restaurant truly represents the frontier spirit with it's great Teaxas decor, and Bill plays his part to the hilt, complete with a very impressive handlebar moustache, and well-used hunting knife hanging from his belt. Seeing as how we showed up on Sunday, and around mid-day, Bill wasn't acting terribly "wild", but was very gracious and gave us a tour and an interview. As we were unloading our gear however, we met a truckload of goats and kids (the human kind) that are involved in the local 4H program. It was quite impressive seeing how dedicated and excited these youngsters are about taking care of animals, and how much their experiences parallel the agricultural roots of Texas. 

San Benito, Texas
We headed down to the Valley to get the scoop on border barbecue and found ourselves enjoying a great time at Bill Turner's place in San Benito. Bill is a very friendly guy who loves to talk about, cook, and eat barbecue. The Longhorn Cattle Company isn't just a good name for a barbecue joint either . . . Bill is more than happy to take you out back and show you the beautiful mother-daughter pair of longhorns he's got right behind the restaurant. We interviewed him in the same corral as his two friendly old horses, along with Miss Bria, the younger of the two longhorns. While on of his horses named Gal was very comfortable being a part of the interview (like planting herself solidly between Bill and the camera), Miss Bria would simply have no part of it and stayed a respectable distance from us at all times. How could she know we were working on a barbecue film!?

Austin, Texas
After reading the article he wrote about the UT BBQ Club and it's woes with the university, we decided that John Kelso was just the guy to talk to about Texas barbecue. Even though John is from Maine, he considers himself not only a Texan, but one that possesses knowledge and love for that sacred institution we call barbecue. John showed up for our interview at John Mueller's BBQ on Manor Road (his favorite) wearing a well-worn UT BBQ Club T-Shirt emblazoned with the motto "For barbecue I will" on it along with the somewhat controversial club seal.

Austin, Texas
We couldn't cover barbecue in Austin without mentioning the local music scene, and we surely couldn't discuss those two venerable subjects without talking to Clifford J. Antone. It's a documented fact that many musicians either got their start at Antone's nightclub or, if already well-known, simply loved playing there, which is still the case today. People like B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Bonnie Raitt have all graced Antone's stage. In the early "lean years", many musicians simply showed up at local barbecue joints knowing that they could eat for free. Blues and barbecue go together so well that Christopher B. Stubblefield (aka Stubb) moved to Austin from Lubbock by making and selling his barbecue right in Antone's club. We not only got to spend time with Clifford, but we were fortunate enough to try some of Charlotte's tasty Ironworks BBQ.

Luling, Texas
When the official magazine of Texas devotes the cover and feature story of an issue to barbecue, you begin to realize the significance to the people of the Lone Star State. We met with Pat Sharpe, John Morthland, and Joe Nick Patoski, three of the writers whose enviable job it was to travel around the state, eating and writing about barbecue. As if that wasn't enough, they even got paid to do it! We sat down with them at the Luling City Market and got some great stories about their experiences as part of that choice assignment. These three brave souls, along with seven others, drove over 21,000 total miles to discover great barbecue all round the state and report back to over 2 million Texans (and 239,000 out-of-staters) that read the magazine. 

Austin, Texas
Our film crew was fortunate to sit down and chat with the always shy and demure (yeah, right) Kinky Freidman at The Pit Barbecue on Dry Creek Drive in Austin. Besides writing books and giving lectures, Kinky is running for Governor of Texas and taking care of critters at his Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch. We had big fun talking with him and eating the exceptional barbecue at The Pit. Kinky is always more than happy to share his unique views on just about ay subject matter people would like to bring up. You can find out more on the "Kinkster" by logging onto www.kinkyfriedman.com.

Webberville, Texas
We've seen time and time again how barbecue brings people together as the key element of any gathering, especially family gatherings, but we were simply not prepared for what we witnessed outside of Austin one weekend in September. The Limon Family holds an annual reunion in which they treat about 3,000 family members to incredible barbecue. We're not kidding. There are so many people, they have their own mass on Sunday! We also learned about the new and improved (well, improvised) RVs for the reunion, converted U-Haul trucks with beds and couches in the back. As one family member puts it, "If you want air conditioning, just open the back door." We were amazed by these people and how they welcomed us to their immeasurable event. It's truly a representation of BBQ and Family. 

Terlingua, Texas
The last stop on our West Texas tour did not disappoint. Behind a man-made cave we found what promises to be one of the most productive pits in West Texas. Glenn Felts, proprietor of La Kiva, left his microchip engineer job in Dallas to run this unique bar and restaurant located in the Big Bend RV Trailer Park. Terlingua has become quite the destination for barbecue competitions, and Glenn is proud to have placed at all of the ones he has entered. If you make it to West Texas, La Kiva is a definite destination anytime after 5p.m. We promise that you'll be surprised by what you find in the middle of the desert. Good 'cue is only the begining. 915-371-2250

Lajitas, Texas
Everyone knows that barbecue isn't really complete without a Lone Star beer. We thought we would ask the mayor for his comments on the subject. Clay Henry, Mayor of Lajitas, Texas, decided he would rather guzzle his Lone Star than actually comment on camera. So after surrendering several bottles of the national beer of Texas to his insatiable appetite, we decided to pack it up and hit the road for Terlingua. Lucky for Clay Henry, the cabrito festival had already wrapped up.

Marfa, Texas
Okay, so there's not really any barbecue in Marfa, but how can you go to West Texas and not make the pilgrimage to the Marfa Mystery Lights? If you haven't been lately, they have a great new public viewing area, complete with information that ironically enough is only readable during the day. There are also the much-desired public restrooms (with innovative septic systems that don't quite make total sense to us, but see for yourself). Anyway, it was a fun stop on our Texas tour and we just had to mention it. If you have any barbecue-based theories that explain the Marfa lights, please submit them to info@bbqfilm.com

Alpine, Texas
In the home of Sul Ross State University, you'll find The Shotgun Grill. It was there that we ran into a number of Sul Ross students taking a break over some barbecue. One of them even did a BBQ cheer for us. Behind The Shotgun Grill we were treated to a very special private performance from Two Tons of Steel, including an original barbecue song. The guys have had plenty of time to become Texas barbecue experts while on the road. They recently released their new CD entitled "Transparent." Find out more about this awesome Texas band at www.twotons.com

Fort Stockton, Texas
An hour north of Marathon, you'll find one of the larger cities in the region. Fort Stockton is home to Camp House Bar-b-que, owned and operated by John Jackson. John is a former rancher himself who decided to leave the ranch for end product. He has one of the few joints that offers barbecue sirloin. It was excellent. 

Marathon, Texas
Pop Quiz . . . how do you pronounce "Marathon?" If your version sounds like a really long race, the locals know you're a foreigner. In the place that's pronounced "Mar-uh-thun," we visited the 2nd Annual West Fest and a number of it's cabrito cook-off participants. If you're wondering, cabrito is essentially barbecue goat and it cooks up real good. An interesting fact we learned about cabrito is that it can be cooked for a really long time without overcooking, making for a long day toss in some Lone Star Beer and you have a huge West Texas party, complete with showmanship competitions and music. That night, the town was treated to the music of Two Tons of Steel as they played on the back of two flatbed pickup trucks.

Alpine, Texas
Our first stop in far West Texas was the expansive Leoncita Ranch between Alpine and Fort Stockton. It was there that we met cattle rancher and real cowboy Tom Beard. He's a law school graduate who's made ranching his occupation for the last 30 years. It's guys like Tom that put BBQ on our tables. He remembers the days when real cowboys were readily available but says they're tougher to come by these days. An 11-year drought has forced him to cut costs on crews and implement time savers like helicopters. tom has an amazing piece of earth to tend to and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. He's accompanied by his wife (the county judge for over a decade), a couple dogs, and an immeasurable number of ranch kittens and cats (we really wanted to take one home with us). It was amazing for us to see where it all begins. Thank you Tom.

Denton, Texas
While we have experienced a lot of wonderful stories surrounding community and barbecue in Texas, this is by far the most touching. After almost 23 years in business in Denton, Steve Logan's small barbecue joint burned down. Steve, an incredibly nice man with a passion for cooking, lost everything. Since then, the community of Denton has come together to get him back on his feet. They have begun the process of rebuilding Steve's barbecue joint by completely clearing the corner lot where it will again sit. Steve intends to make no changes to his new lace other than using a steel structure instead of wood and locating the pits "outside" of the restaurant. The 900 square-foot size will remain the same, as has the size of Steve's heart and appreciation for his neighbors. We wish Steve the best in the rebuilding process and can't wait to sample his barbecue. Good luck Steve!

Dallas, Texas
At Baker's Ribs in the Deep Ellum district, we found a little piece of country culture in the middle of the big city. Baker's is located in a very popular club area that brings barbecue to a contemporary, pop group at night and an incredible lunch crowd during the day. For all of you Dallas foreigners, don't assume that meter parking is free on the weekend. We advise all of you to feed the meters liberally with quarters. Then, treat yourself to some awesome ribs. 

Fort Worth, Texas
Are you ready for some Horned Frog Football!? It just rolls off the tongue doesn't it? Hundreds were ready on September 20 as TCU geared up to take on Vanderbilt. Around the stadium we found diehard fans cooking up barbecue at their tailgates, including our friend from Railhead, Charlie Geren. We also ran into some absolutely amazing pits on trailers. One came all the way from New Braunfels and is supervised by ex-TCU athletes who would prefer no one refer to their barbecue pit as a "roaster". Their game days in their post-collegiate lives are longer than ever, beginning the 'cue preparations well before the sun comes up. When you're stuck in a parking lot for hours and hours, barbecue becomes the center of attention and sometimes it even trumps the actual game. 

Fort Worth, Texas
When in Cow Town, go where the cows are. We stopped by Ft. Worth's famous Stockyards to explore the question: Where does all this great barbecue come from? Now finding the barbecue answers in the crazy maze you pay to get lost in, our Art Director, Bob Boucher, thought he might look on top of the mechanical bull. He's not sure if there were any answers there, because he didn't stick around up there long enough to find out. When we thought all hope for answers was lost, we ran into real cowboy Ron Sitton and his trusty Longhorn Shiloh. Ron told us all about the importance of the cattle industry to Texas and the origins of barbecue, plus he has an awesome moustache! Thanks Ron.

Fort Worth, Texas
Our first metroplex stop was Railhead, considered to be one of the newer kids on the block but a local favorite none the less. Owned and operated by Charlie Geren, Railhead offers the Texas barbecue staples, plus a rather unusual menu selection of smoked bologna. Geren's Railhead prides itself on not being located in Dallas, with signs like "Life is too short to live in Dallas."

Austin, Texas
When's the last time Asleep at the Wheel played in your driveway? Well . . . when you're Ray Benson, it's a little different. He and the boys played a barbecue benefit at his home for which proceeds went to Austin's Wild Basin Preserve. The event was catered by The County Line. This is just another example of Texans coming together around barbecue to support a worthy cause. For more information on Wild Basin Preserve, click here.

Lockhart, Texas
It was another installment of the UT Barbecue Club . . . this time at another one of our favorite places, Smitty's in Lockhart. Dinyar and the gang said farewell to past president Michael Hoffman as he leaves Texas for England, a place where there is no real barbecue. Michael's friends and family were in attendance for the send-off. 

We also got an update from the students on the legal struggle with the University of Texas regarding the use of barbecue words on a seal that resembles the university's seal. We are still waiting for further comment from UT. 

Austin, Texas
It was a tasty day in Austin as we made our rounds to three very different places: John Mueller Barbecue, Sam's Barbecue and The County Line. At John Mueller (on Manor), we found a relatively new operation being run with the experience of an age-old establishment. John is nothing less than serious about his 'cue. He comes from a BBQ family and simply does what he loves and does it well. He does it well enough to be recognized by multiple sources as among the best in Texas. 

Sam's Barbecue on East 12th has an atmosphere all its own. Sam's is a neighborhood institution, known for staying open until the food runs out even if it means staying open until 2 in the morning. 

At Sam's, we caught up with Double Trouble drummer Chris Layton who recalled the roll Sam's played early in his career, along with peers Stevie Ray Vaughn and Tommy Shannon. From late nights in Austin to having Sam's barbecue shipped to a studio in New York, Chris expressed a special connection to Sam's, most recently featured in "The Life of David Gale."

We've heard some skepticism surrounding barbecue places with multiple locations because of fears of a lack of consistency, quality, or character. What we found at County Line was anything but. The County Line (we were at "The Hill" location) most definitely has character, from the talking animal heads on the walls to audio in the bathroom that teaches you how to talk Texan. Of course, the food was outstanding. This is one of the only places to offer "both" beef and pork ribs. That's a lot of meat but fitting when you consider it is home of The BIG Rib. Thanks go out to Skeeter and his unbelievably veteran and loyal staff for making our visit one to remember. 

Austin, Texas
What happens when you take a former White House press secretary, a famous Austin entertainer and a backyard overlooking our state capitol? A backyard barbecue like no other. On this day, we were treated to a rare opportunity to sit down with Liz Carpenter and her close friend Cactus Pryor in Carpenters backyard. With us, a few friends, and an army of news cameras, the two reminisced about the role barbecue played in the presidency of Texan Lyndon Baines Johnson. The two shared some amazing stories, including one in which Cactus was preparing for a barbecue at the Johnson Ranch when he was one of the first in the world to learn that JFK has died from gunshot wounds in Dallas and LBJ had officially become President of the United States. We were also treated to some fun music from local musicians . . . even a special song about barbecue. Thank you to Opie's and Sam's for providing excellent barbecue for this one-of-a-kind event. An incredible thanks to Liz Carpenter for being  a host like no other and Cactus Pryor for making a special effort to be in attendance. 

Houston, Texas
H-Town felt like our town for a day as we traversed the huge city following our noses to places like Burns, Thelmas, Drexler's and even a couple of mobile barbecue joints. Burns in Houston's 3rd Ward takes the top position as the smokiest pit area we've experienced, leaving our seasoned barbecue veteran crew tearing and running for the door back to the kitchen. After we tasted the barbecue, we learned exactly where all that smoke went, right into the meat. Very good. A huge thanks to Mr. Burns for taking time out of his schedule to show us around. 

Over at Thelmas, we were greeted with the biggest smile we can recall seeing all tour. Thelma is the perfect barbecue joint owner: always happy, always smiling and always on top of quality. Her place is cozy and welcoming and worth a visit on any trip to Houston. 

Just west of downtown, we also found a barbecue business like no other. Drexler's is amazingly refined to every last detail, from the marble-topped tables to the woodpanel stage that serves as music stage and basketball court. What was the most memorable about Drexler's was the absolute sense of family we found there, from the owners to the cooking staff. Brother James tells a story of beginning in the basrbecue business over 30 years ago, making money to support the rest of his brothers and sisters through school, and even watching his brother Clyde glide to an amazing career in the NBA. All of them have a hand in the business today, even to the point of the new building design by James' sisters.

There was much more in H-Town (like the police officer that was oddly intimidated by our camera during a simple conversation) but you'll just have to wait for the film . . . or maybe even some DVD bonus features. The pic to the right is what happens when you eat too much BBQ and work for 20-hours straight. 

Converse, Texas
A pretty woman named Barbie who fights fires, has a three legged dog, eats BBQ and . . . get this . . . races lawnmowers. It may sound like a storybook fairytale, but it's the reality we walked into on a rainy day in Converse, Texas. For 51 years now, the Converse Volunteer Fire Department has been raising funds for it's services by cooking some of the best barbecue around for it's community. We were honored to be on hand for one of the most important events all year in this small town outside San Antonio. For the last few years, they have included serious lawnmower drag racing as part of the event. When we say serious, we mean souped up lawnmowers topping speeds of 70mph on a 150 foot track. This community truly comes together around slow-cooked barbecue and fast-paced lawnmowers. This is another story you'll have to see to believe. 

Spicewood, Texas
This is one stop we're really glad we made. Opies Barbecue in Spicewood has been firing up their pits for just a few years now off of Highway 71 between Austin and Marble Falls. If you're ever going in or out of Austin on 71, we officially request that you make this stop. Because it's a new, lesser-known place we'll even give you the phone number: 830-693-8660. In fact, it's worth the 20 minute drive west of the big city. You'll no doubt be greeted by proprietor Todd and his friends Harvey and Bradley, and wife Kristen. You'll be able to pick your meat right off the pit and take it inside to be cut. We recommend Opies sirloin and jalapeno sausage. The sirloin is untouchable. While you're  there, ask Bradley what his occupation used to be. Thanks to Todd for sitting on a bed of wood in the hot Texas sun during our interview. We didn't realize the ants were attacking you until after we reviewed the footage, seriously. Thanks Todd.

Marble Falls, Texas
At Peete Mesquite, we found a relatively young barbecue joint run by a former executive chef and his CPA wife. Don't let the former fancy job titles fool you. The people of Marble Falls turn to Peete Mesquite for their down home ribs, brisket and chicken. Cooked out back with indirect heat and watched over by the two resident cats, Peete and his buddy Mesquite, the food has been named best barbecue in Burnet County.

Elgin, Texas
This is the Sausage Capital of Texas. How do we know? Well, even the state legislature proclaimed it. Elgin is home to some amazing barbecue and some very interesting people. We were fortunate enough to visit Southside Market, Crosstown BBQ, and Meyer's, all offering their own special brand of cooking and ambiance. 

We were thrown off a bit when our film crew stepped into Crosstown to find another film crew already shooting an interview with owner Larren Morgan. It turned out to be a crew from The Travel Channel taking a tour of some Texas barbecue. We exchanged a few notes and proceeded to interview the interviewers. Thank you to host Michael Lomonaco for spending some time with us. 

After way too much to eat at both Southside and Crosstown, it was off to witness one of the most bizarre phenomena of this entire barbecue journey, a group of Elgin women who call themselves The Sowpremes. No strangers to bad puns, these women give countless hours to the musical group that takes popular songs and re-works them in some way relating to pork or sausage (like "The Little Old Lady from Porksadena). Their craft and their pink-accented wardrobe are truly amazing. The Sowpremes perform at community functions and try to give back to Elgin in any way they can. Even though they were among the toughest interviews for the film (because you just can't calm them down) they were an absolute pleasure to meet, and you'll be pleasantly surprised with their BBQ Film performance. www.sowpremes.com

We would also like to thank Elgin mayor Eric Carlson and economic development coordinator Amy Miller for their input on the impact of sausage on the city of Elgin. This is truly the City of Sausage.

Taylor, Texas
Have you been to Taylor? Louie Mueller owner Bobby Mueller says that a majority of his business comes from out-of-towners, like you, looking to get a taste of Taylor. Louie Mueller ranks extremely high in our crew log as one of the most authentic and historic joints on our journey, thus far only rivaled by Smitty's in Lockhart. From the classic signs to the famous smoke and grease stained wall of business cards, few places can touch this time capsule of Texas. We met no less than 3 generations of BBQ goers on our visit, including one family who was celebrating their son's first birthday with barbecue (we took a crew picture with him for his scrapbook).

From Louie Mueller, it was off to the Taylor International Barbecue Cook-Off where we caught up with some of Central Texas' most interesting cook-off teams and the Taylor Jaycees who organize the benefit. This may be the only cook-off where no cash prizes are awarded. It's all about good ol' Texas pride. We also enjoyed our visit with the FOX 7 News crew from Austin who featured the cook-off and the production of our film on FOX 7 News at Nine that night.

Lockhart, Texas
If there is a Barbecue Capital of the World, this is the place. From what we hear, there's about 11,000 people in this small town who are easily outnumbered by a prodigious army of ribs, cuts of brisket, some amazing shoulder clod, and countless links of sausage. Barbecue runs this town. With 4 major BBQ joints, the proprietors simply recommend you try all of them and pick your favorite. We were not disappointed by our journey to Smitty's Market and Kreuz Market (pronounced "Krites" by the locals, although they understand that they just made that up).

At Smitty's Market we were greeted by _Texas Monthly_ cover star (May 2003) John Fullilove who presented the BBQ Film crew with brand new Smitty's Market shirts that we couldn't exactly wear to our next stop at Kreuz a quarter-mile down the road. All part of the same extended barbecue family, these two institutions top the best. From the amazing history at Smitty's to the amazing space at Kreuz, our trip to BBQ Mecca was dotted with characters like Harold (a Smitty's patron). Now, here's a man who has a special creative set of words and outlook for any situation, and who was once forced to quite eating barbecue for 97 days for specific medical reasons. Can you guess the first thing he did on day 98? We also ran into a certain Hollywood actor at Kreuz (whose dad was great in "The Godfather") who was so consumed with his BBQ that he simply couldn't talk to us. 

Our thanks to the BBQ royalty of Lockhart for feeding us a little piece of Heaven (okay, a huge piece) and taking us a long way back in history. 

To find out what in the world shoulder clod is, educate yourself by clicking here.

Huntsville, Texas
Many Texans accept barbecue as sacred, but we've only found one place that makes it a part of their church. Welcome to New Zion Missionary Baptist Church, where four days a week, Ms. Annie Ward serves up BBQ that draws followers from around the globe. Written up in "GQ" as one of the top places to fly into to eat in the WORLD (only three in US), no one can touch the hard work these ladies and their cooks put into what has been dubbed by outsiders "Holy Barbecue."

While we were there shooting we ran into a couple who had driven about 300 miles to get a taste of Ms. Anne's brisket. Another man had come a little further, from Minnesota (only to be minutes late). We even ran across a real cowboy and cowgirl from the historic Taylor-Stevenson ranch. On Sunday, we were honored to be guests at the New Zion church service. 

We left Huntsville with a whole herd of interviews (you'll see what we mean later) and a full stomach.

Austin, Texas
We were lucky enough to attend a meeting of the UT student barbecue club, where we ran into some of the most passionate barbecue eaters yet. We rode with them to Donn's in Oakhill while they used walkie talkies to assure the accuracy of their navigation. 

The club is currently the controversial source of some BBQ Breaking News as they have been charged with misusing the university's seal. We're still pursuing official comment from the University of Texas regarding the allegations, but they recently canceled a scheduled interview with our crew. Stay tuned. 

Clute, Texas
"And the judges say . . ." Two of the BBQ Film crew members had the privilege of being selected as judges for the finals of the BBQ Ribs Cook-Off competition at the Great Texas Mosquito Festival. In addition to meeting some awesome BBQ cooks who devote their weekends to cook-offs like this one, we were treated to an array of other talent, including the Mosquito Calling Contest and the music stylings of young rapper named Sheldon. 

Castell, Texas
Today we saw unbelievable displays of athleticism. Not only did nearly 50 people race down the Llano River in kayaks headed for some of the best BBQ in Texas, but there were an amazing number of beer curls being attempted by the ambitious spectators. 

Our favorite drinking-age BBQ eater had to be Bob who boldly led the guest to give BBQ cook Bruce a star on the Castell Highway (wait till you see how he marked the future position).

Our favorite minor came up a major winner on the BBQ scale. Leon is the first person we've met on this BBQ journey to have developed his very own BBQ rating system. Leon's quest is not far from so many of us; he's searching for the best BBQ in Texas. Bruce's ribs earned a score of over 40,000! That's a lot of ______. Oops, Leon doesn't want us to release his scoring system until Premiere night.

Next up is the BBQ cook-off at The Great Texas Mosquito Festival in Clute, Texas.