Last night Jack and I landed in the country’s fourth largest city, Houston, Texas. The city welcomed us with big trucks, bigger accents, bigger still personalities, and the biggest thunderstorm I have ever experienced.

Because, when Texas goes out, it goes all out. There ain’t nothin’ subtle here!

Why Texas?   

You could say we’re on a Holy Grail quest. Jack, as many of you know, has fallen under the spell of Central Texas Barbecue. More specifically, he’s fallen under the spell of brisket that’s smoked over post oak or mesquite for 12 to 14 hours.

His little “hobby” started a couple of years ago with an electric Cookshack smoker that cooks for 20.

Not big enough.

So, then he bought a Karubecue, a high-tech wood-fired smoker that distributes heat cleanly and can cook for 50.

Not big enough.  

So, THEN he bought a traditional offset smoker that has a six-foot smoking chamber that can cook for 200.

Not big enough.

Now, he just bought “the ultimate” giant smoker. Looking like a steampunk train, this beast is 12 feet by 4 feet and cooks for … 1500—2000 people.

Big enough.

So we’ve come down here to christen the beast at the Texas A&M Meat Sciences Department before shipping her up to Seattle where she will live … in our driveway (Jack says, “temporarily,” like having an ugly cousin for Christmas).

Jack has decided to name our newest family member “Leroi” (the king), even though I think Leroi is female. Afterall, who cooks meat in the belly? Men? No. Women. Hello!

Anyhoozleberries, stay tuned as we bomb around The Lone Star State, eating our way through Tex-Mex stands, BBQ joints, honky tonks and sushi bistros (Doh! Strike that last one!).

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