Day Trips

Snow's serves up barbecue that 'Texas Monthly' proclaimed to be the best in the state

Day Trips
Photo by Gerald E. Mcleod

Snow's BBQ in Lexington has a mighty big reputation to live up to every Saturday morning. The pressure has been on since 2008, when Texas Monthly magazine crowned them the best barbecue joint in a state full of great purveyors of smoked meats.

What started in 2002 as a friendly little barbecue restaurant off the beaten path has grown to become nationally renowned, if not world famous. Owner Kerry Bexley and pit boss Norma Tomanetz, aka Miss Tootsie, have been written about in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and just about every Texas publication. A story from The New Yorker about the ultimate Texas barbecue experience at Snow's BBQ was included in The Best American Travel Writing of 2009 anthology.

All the attention hasn't changed Bexley's vision of what good Texas barbecue should be. He and Miss Tootsie respect the old-school, meat-market style of letting the meat's natural juices do the work. The brisket is slow-cooked to a charred black on the outside, while leaving the center slightly pink. The restaurant also has pork ribs, pork tenderloin, chicken, and a jalapeño sausage that is out of this world, all served on red butcher paper.

For sides, the cole slaw is tangy and the potato salad is creamy. The pinto beans are free. You'll have to bring your own adult beverages, or wash it all down with the traditional red soda pop or heavily sweetened iced tea.

A block off the highway running through Lexington between Second and Third streets, the little red building has five picnic tables inside. Another five picnic tables outside aren't quite enough when the line of hungry patrons begins forming early in the morning. Yes, Texans eat barbecue for breakfast.

Snow's BBQ is only open on Saturday mornings beginning at 8am until everything is sold out or about 1pm, whichever comes first. Usually the smokers are empty before noon.

On a recent Saturday morning, my family and I made the hourlong trek from Austin to Lexington, and Snow's BBQ didn't disappoint. Knowing we were going to arrive around noon, we called ahead and asked them to save us some brisket and ribs. We got lucky, and we didn't need to make the reservations.

"It's been steady all morning, but not too busy," the guy cleaning the smokers said. "You never know how it's going to go." One cold Saturday morning in January, they got slammed, he said. The next weekend was a beautiful, clear morning, and business was really slow. On a typical weekend, Snow's will dispense about 1,000 pounds of smoked meat. And it is as good as everybody says it is.

Snow's BBQ is at 516 N. Main in downtown Lexington, population 1,178. To let Miss Tootsie know you're coming, call 979/773-4640. You can also have the barbecue delivered to your door via www.snowsbbq.com.

1,039th in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Snow's BBQ, Lexington, Kerry Bexley, Miss Tootsie, Norma Tomanetz

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