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Snow’s BBQ in Lexington Texas Smokes ‘Em

21 December 2008 3,857 views 6 Comments

sign_005Snow’s Recipe for the Best BBQ in Texas

A heaping scoop of love, respect, family, and tradition
Pitmaster Tootsie Tomanetz has been smoking meat for over 40 years in Giddings and Lexington. Owner Kerry Bexley has known Tootsie his whole life (he is in his 40s, she in her 70s). Kerry and Tootsie opened Snow’s in 2003 to continue the longstanding tradition of serving BBQ in the town on Saturday mornings, right before the weekly cattle auction down the street.
Drizzle liberally with tasty morsels of perfectly cooked meat
burningBBQ of course, is about the meat — especially in Texas where it’s served “dry” with sauce on the side. At Snow’s the sauce is completely unnecessary as everything is juicy and melts in your mouth.
The brisket is slow cooked for 8-10 hours and perfectly caramelized. The pork ribs were yummy, the chicken was tender and nicely smoked, and the sausage was loosely packed and dripping with fat (not my favorite item).
The pork butt was everyone in our group’s favorite — it’s actually the shoulder of the pig and was called butt back in the day because it was stored in large barrels that were referred to as “butts.” Tootsie slathers everything liberally with mop sauce while she cooks. This sauce sits in a bucket next to the pits and is made of onions, mustard, butter, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce.
1 cup atmosphere
menu_002Lexington is an hour’s drive East of Austin – a tiny town of 1,000 people. When we got in line outside the tiny building at around 9 a.m., we were greeted by the co-mingling smells of BBQ smoke and manure from the cattle down the street.
The loud braying of the nearby cows made the sin we were about to commit against them all the more glaring. However, the staff and customers of Snow’s display a reverence for meat that could easily be described as religion.
2 cups scarcity
Snow’s is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. until the meat sells out — usually by 11 a.m. Since being written up in Texas Monthly as the #1 BBQ in the state followed by an article in The New Yorker by Calvin Trillin, Snow’s is probably the most talked about new restaurant find in the U.S. right now. It certainly is in Austin.
tootsieSprinkle liberally with a great story and wonderful people
Tootsie has been called salt-of-the-earth but that doesn’t do justice to her inner sweetness and caring that comes through when you meet her.
If her brisket is melt in your mouth delicious, it’s because this strong, loving woman has been watching over it throughout the night.
Tootsie works during the week as a custodian at a nearby school and has been working with meat for most of her life. She ran the pits at City Meat Market in Giddings starting in 1966 and from 1976-1996, she owned a meat market in Lexington with her husband, White.
porkbuttMiss Tootsie’s strong hands and arms are mesmerizing and an argument to anyone who might think that no woman in her 70s could handle work that involves hours of lifting and turning meat products.
Kerry is an amiable and happy man who provides his cell phone on Snow’s website so that folks can call during the week and preorder their BBQ for Saturday morning.
When I asked if I needed to preorder if I was going to arrive by 9 a.m., he told me to just make sure I got there by then as they would sell out early. I’m pretty sure that all of the brisket was gone before 10 a.m.
Kerry also works a regular job during the week and in the past has worked as a rodeo clown and an auctioneer.

Toss with fantastic people watching

sausageThere was a line when we arrived and it got longer as the morning wore on. Ahead of us was Evan Smith, editor and publisher of Texas Monthly who was there with his kids and parents.
He was the only one not eating that morning as he has been a vegetarian for the past quarter century. Stacked in front of him was small to-go containers of coleslaw and potato salad. After our group finished eating, we saw a friend get in line and later on, the hipsters started filing in. Hopefully for them they ordered ahead of time because when they arrived, the brisket was long gone.
After filling our bellies, we walked down the street to the tiny square and then to the cattle auction pens. I felt so badly for the cows packed together and braying loudly.
They looked scared. The small ones were to be sold to local ranchers where they would graze in open spaces until they were bigger.
cowsThe large cows would be sold directly to the feedlots where most of the meatpacking in the U.S. takes place. We talked for a while to the owner of the auction who said that there are usually about 1,500 cows sold at the auction each Saturday. Since Snow’s is packed with tourists every week, the auction sells sausage right next to where the cows are kept.
I commented to the cattle auction owner that the cows didn’t sound very happy — there was a frantic tone to their moos. His reply: “Naw….they’re just lookin’ for their mamas. They’ll get over it.” This was followed by what can only be described as a bwaa-ha-ha variety of laughter.
516 Main Street Lexington, TX 78947
Phone: (979) 773-4640
Kerry’s Cell: (979) 542-8189 – For preordering
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  • Adam

    After having sampled the vittles from all the major Texas BBQ hotspots, and growing up with my pops soaking wood chips in an apple juice mixture and smoking meat for 12+ hours in the backyard, I feel like I’m at least aware of most of the good stuff out there. To hear that there was a true gem just an hour away, piqued my curiosity and my adventurousness intensely. The BBQ was across the board excellent, except for the sausage. Everything was bursting with flavor from rub and smoke equally, and was incredibly moist as it should be. The brisket and the pork butt were definitely the superstars. When I first pulled away after the meal, I thought Kruez’s was probably better but after digging into leftovers that night, I realized how tasty everything still was. It’s that consistency across all menu items that makes Snow’s a legit contender for #1 in the state. I’d have to go back to Kruez’s (my personal fave, and still the all-time king of beef ribs. Don’t front!) to reassess but really we’re splitting hairs here. The real fun of Snow’s is dragging your ass out of bed at 7 am on a saturday morning and convincing yourself that driving an hour to get a pile of meat for breakfast is a great idea. Seeing the bewilderment, curiosity, friendliness, and hospitality of the Lexington locals, excitement of the crowds, and hearing the cows down the street while you eat, all make this a truly great Texas BBQ experience.

  • Josh

    Never heard of this place. Looks soooo good. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Hope to check it out soon.

  • Jeffrey

    Unfortunately my experience was not nearly as good as Jodi’s. Although we arrived less that an hour after her we found the ribs to be somewhat dry and chewy. Sadly, the pork butt was the least desirable of all the menu selections as it was quite dry. The brisket, however, was quite good; moist, not to fatty and full of flavor. Was it the best brisket I’d ever had? Was it worth an hours drive? Unfortunately my group voted No.
    I’m a believer in giving every food establishment a second try so next time I will definitely get to Snow’s earlier. No doubt there’s good BBQ in them there smokers, so maybe it truly is the early bird that gets the worm.

  • tom benton

    It seemed as if we all agreed that the early hour threw a wrench in the overindulgence that bbq of such caliber would typically provoke – so was this even a fair comparison? I feel as if I need to make all my bbq comparisons sitting bloated and uncomfortable on the hood of my car, wondering what in the hell I was thinking…

  • Boots in the Oven

    Nice post! It’s great to learn about the people behind the wonderful BBQ at Snow’s.

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