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Posted at 4:00 PM ET, 02/ 1/2011

Smoke Signals Extra: The Super Bowl of barbecue

By Jim Shahin
store_front_3_opt.gif The church of Louie Mueller Barbecue. (Photo courtesy of Louie Mueller Barbecue)

Regardless of whatever other religion they practice, Texans can all agree on worshiping two deities: football and barbecue. Both have big events this week in Dallas.

While the big game isn’t until Sunday, the Super Bowl of Barbecue is scheduled for tonight when 11 of the state’s best barbecue restaurants cater the Media Day dinner at the House of Blues.

As I write this, the forecast for Dallas reads like something from Syracuse, N.Y.: a high of 22 degrees, with an 80 percent chance of a wintry mix.

So much for the skies are not cloudy all day.

Given the uncharacteristic conditions, Smoke Signals wondered if the barbecue show was still a go. Seems neither rain nor snow nor the multi-hour drive can keep the Lone Star State’s top pitmasters from their appointed rounds this evening.

Smoke Signals caught Wayne Mueller, co-owner with his mom of Louie Mueller Barbecue in the small central Texas town of Taylor, just as he was about to drive the three and a half hours to Dallas with his gargantuan portable wood smoker in tow.

“Weather’s going to make the pits run a little colder,” Mueller said in classic Texan understatement.

James Beard Award-winning Mueller’s Barbecue is a perennial top-five finisher in Texas Monthly’s survey of the state’s best barbecue joints. The No. 1 pick in the magazine’s last survey, Snow’s, is also cooking at the event. Wayne Mueller is showing his team spirit by letting Snow’s use his pit to finish its food. Hey, there’s no “I” in barbecue.

“Just a little neighborly spirit to help each other out,” Mueller told Smoke Signals.

When pressed about cooking for the world’s media with some of the best barbecuers in the state, Mueller spoke like a media-savvy quarterback. “Everybody will want to show their best,” he said. “You feel honored just to be invited.”

Other barbecue restaurants strutting their Texas stuff include Austin’s Franklin Barbecue and Blue Ribbon Barbecue, Lockhart’s Black’s Barbecue, Fort Worth’s Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que, Elgin’s Meyer’s Smokehouse, Goldthwaite’s Mills County BBQ Company, Tyler’s Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q, Belton’s Schoepf’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que and Earl Campbell, a company run by the former Houston Oiler great.

By Jim Shahin  | February 1, 2011; 4:00 PM ET
Categories:  Smoke Signals  | Tags:  Jim Shahin, Smoke Signals  
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