My wife and kids got me a Traeger Texas Elite 34 as an early Father’s Day present so I decided to test out on a small 3lb flat to get my bearings with smoking since I’ve never done it before.
We recently moved from Central Texas where we had easy access to great BBQ to southern New Hampshire where it’s essentially non-existent, so I decided (with strong spousal support) to figure out how to do it myself.
I had an issue with it getting to temp in the first few hours and after it quickly dropped temp, I had to shut it down, clear out the fire pot, and then restart it, which resulted in this cooking twice as long as it probably should have.
Overall, I’m pleased with it. A little dry (not surprising), but the flavor was definitely there. Pleased with my first attempt. Hope it doesn’t turn out to just be “Beginner’s Luck.”
I’m looking for a bbq sauce with tamari. Given I’ve only had premade Texas bbq sauce
If you are looking for great Texas BBQ check out the food truck Chuckwagon 719. Some of the best BBQ I've had. They are straight out of Texas and know how it's done for sure.
What’s the deal with popular flavorless BBQ joints.
I’ve been to many bbq joints in North Texas and the very popular ones are disappointing. The Brisket is tender but it’s flavorless, just Salt and a bit of smoke.
Why are they all doing this? Are they trying to please the Yuppee crowd or Karen’s who are afraid of Heavy Flavor of Smoke and Seasoning???
Invested in an ironwood 885, which is probably bigger than I need it to be but I'd rather have size and not use it than need it and not have it.
Doing 3 racks of baby backs.
Smothered in mustard and then Revolution Kansas BBQ dry rub Smoked for 2 and a half hours at 225f uncovered (photo 2 is the ribs just at the end of that) Wrapped in foil with honey butter and a little apple juice and smoked for another 2 hours Mopped with some firefly Texas rib BBQ sauce for 30 minutes uncovered (photo 3 is them fully cooked and resting)
Looking so much forward to contributing more to this community.
I've been smoking my own brisket for a while but haven't had good brisket from a restaurant. It's hard to do well and I'm wondering how mine stacks up. Ideally I'd make a trip out to Texas or something but I'll settle for something local. I'm tentatively planning to go to grand ole BBQ y asado, but I'm not sure if their brisket is the star of the show or if someplace else smokes a better brisket. I'm specifically interested in brisket and don't care about other dishes (though I will almost certainly order others). Thanks in advance for any recs!
Sometimes a band gets so big that they somehow outshine themselves. They reach a point in their career where it does not matter if they release a new album or not; fans just want to see them tour. No one gave a damn that Led Zeppelin had not released a new album since the 1970’s; everyone just wanted to see them play again at the O2 Arena in 2007. When The Who played the Super Bowl halftime show in 2010 they had only released one new album in 28 years, and no one cared. And no one cares that Guns & Roses aren’t making new music. They still packed arenas to see how much cake Axl had packed into himself.
We’re going to take a dive into a blues power trio from down south who have zero need to release any new music, since their recording career stretches back over five decades. They had amazing and groundbreaking success in the ‘70s, the ‘80s, and the ‘90s before hitting the max level. Instead of playing to win, they now play for fun. Their sexually charged lyrics and videos inspired generations of teens to both dress better and worry about their fly. And you can bet that their fuzzy, bluesy tight sound had a huge impact on our very own desert dwellers.
It’s time for us to take a walk with That Little Ol’ Band from Texas. This week’s featured artist is the legendary ZZ TOP About Them
The Power Trio is a tested and true format for a rock band. Lots of examples come to mind: Cream. Rush. The Police. Biffy Clyro. King Buffalo. Them Crooked Vultures.
(Wait a sec. Just three members? Clearly, not everything is bigger in Texas.)
There is a member joke there somewhere, but I just can’t get it to come. Hmm. Perhaps it will come if you play with it a bit.
Hey! Stop that.
Get your mind out of the gutter.
ZZ Top’s original and founding member was William Frederick Gibbons. Born in Houston in 1949, the front man was originally a drummer but, after studying with Tito Puente in New York City, picked up the guitar at age 13. His dad was a musician in show business, which allowed Billy to get an insider’s view of the industry. By the late ‘60s, he had been in and founded a number of bands and had even befriended the late great James Marshall Hendrix. One of his first bands, a psychedelic/art house band called The Moving Sidewalks,
toured with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. This meant that Gibbons was actually mentored by Snagglepuss himself. They also toured with The Doors, where Gibbons saw the legendary self-destructive band somehow manage to rise above conflict and make music every night. The Moving Sidewalks generated a following all of its own with a couple of hit songs, and things seemed to be headed in the right direction.
Things were going absolutely great until bassist Don Summers and keyboard player Tom Moore were drafted into the army to fight in Vietnam. Don't you just love the ‘60s?
Gibbons and drummer Dan Mitchell added a new keyboard player, Lanier Greg, and tried to make another run at it. But the chemistry was all wrong. Gibbons rechristened the band as ZZ Top (an homage to BB King), and declared that he wanted more of a straight up rock approach than the art-house kaleidoscopic sound.
Gibbons, Mitchell, and Greg (isn’t it weird when last names are also first names too?
) recorded the single Salt Lick
in 1969. This generated a bunch of interest and a recording contract. Decisions over the direction of the band ensued and it quickly became clear that Mitchell and Greg did not agree with Gibbons’ hard rock approach. That ended up being a poor life decision for them, but a great one for a couple of other guys.
Clearly, Gibbons needed a new rhythm section.
Fortunately, he found a package deal.
Dusty Hill and Frank Beard - also both born in 1949 - had been playing together on the Dallas-Houston-Fort Worth circuit in a number of bands, including The Warlocks, The Cellar Dwellers,
and a fake cover band called The Zombies.
Both the Duster and the (then ironically) beardless Beard also heard the siren call of rock and roll. Hill was classically trained and was an accomplished cello player before moving to his signature bass. Frank ‘Rube’ Beard appears to have been born with drumsticks in his hands (which I imagine might have been uncomfortable for his mom).
Beard joined the band first, along with bassist Billy Ethridge, who had played with Stevie Ray Vaughn. Ethridge balked at signing a contract and so joined Mitchell and Greg on the list of ZZ Top’s former members. Their lineup was set. Hill and Beard anchored the band in a rock-solid, tight, bluesy fashion. Gibbons meshed perfectly with this duo, and his Hendrix-inspired guitar work was on another level. Hill provided backing vocals, and Gibbons’ low throaty growl was an impressive counterpoint to his soaring fretwork. The talent was all there; now they just needed to record some music.
But success was not instantaneous, not by a long shot.
Their first album - appropriately called ZZ Top’s First Album
- gives insight into who the band were to become. In this 1971 release, you can hear their raw sound. The record peaked at 201 on the charts, and had only one single - (Somebody Else Been) Shaking Your Tree.
It did give them material to go out and tour. The boys gelled on that tour and went back into the studio with renewed energy, and emerged with 1972’s Rio Grande Mud.
The disc was a step forward in refining their sound. The album almost cracked the top 100, and the only single - Francine
- went all the way to number 69. Nice.
But the band knew that their third album, Tres Hombres,
was something special. It is the epitome of Southern Rock: bluesy, fast paced, sexy, and irreverent, it is just over half an hour of pure magic. And while the album went gold and peaked at number 8 on the charts and is worth your time, it was one particular single that rocketed them to stardom. You know it and you love it, and a-how-how-how-how: La Grange.
It is still in heavy rotation on classic rock stations today. And why not? The song is an absolute banger
of boogie woogie blues, written about a visit to a whorehouse. What’s not to love? La Grange
propelled them to popularity. Tours sold out. Venues got bigger and bigger. 1975’s follow up album, Fandango!,
was half live album (with some covers) and half new material - like an EP with bonus tracks. They covered the Elvis Presley classic Jailhouse Rock,
Willie Dixon’s Mellow Down Easy,
and John Lee Hooker’s Long Distance Boogie.
The boys had rock and blues chops, and had 5 years of touring experience. These were bold statements that cemented their musicality as well as honoring their roots. But side two of the disc had another track that you’ve come to love. You ain’t asking for much: You’re just lookin’ for some Tush. Tush
was the perfect sexually charged follow up to ensure that they were not one-hit wonders. It was written in a ten-minute spasm of creativity at a sound check, and has gone on to be one of their most popular songs.
topped the charts, ZZ Top went back into the studio to record their full length follow up, 1976’s Tejas.
The name of the album means ‘friends’ in the Indigenous Caddo language, and was the basis for the name of the state. You know what that means? It means that the name of the state is ‘Friends’. Just like the ‘90s sitcom. Don’t mess with Friends.
Anyways, this was an album of experimentation for the band, and unlike its predecessor it came out half baked at best. Billy Gibbons has called it a transition album. What actually happened is the band transitioned into a hiatus from touring and recording, taking some significant time off. They had recorded five albums in six years and spent virtually all their time on the road. The latest effort was just not up to their standards and was a step back. It also completed their recording contract.
What was the solution to this burn out? Facial hair
The boys took a few years off before landing another recording contract, this time with Warner. Over those months, both Gibbons and Hill grew what would become their signature long ‘Texas Goatee’ beards.
Frank Beard did not grow a beard (though he did finally succumb to peer pressure from his bandmates in 2013, and his is much more neatly trimmed). So while they were resting/relaxing/getting their groove back/aligning their chakras or whatever, they also started to reinvent their signature sound as the world moved towards a decade of legendary excess.
The first step on this reinvention journey was 1979’s Degüello.
The title literally means ‘decapitation’ but idiomatically refers to a fight to the death.
Clearly, the band decided to tackle their transition head on. The album was not as successful as Tres Hombres
but it was not the flop that Tejas
was. It did spawn a couple of singles - I Thank You
(which was a cover) and the signature hit Cheap Sunglasses.
Both are staples at ZZ Top concerts to this day. Degüello
was quickly followed up in 1981 by the album El Loco.
This was really the first time ZZ Top incorporated a synthesizer into their sound. As you know, the synth was THE new wave sound of the 1980s. Gods help us, keytars
were once popular. But Gibbons, Hill, and Beard did not abandon their edge. The single Pearl Necklace
was an immensely popular innuendo laced tune from this album. And no, I will not explain what a pearl necklace is to you.
Ask your mom.
Over the course of their first seven albums, ZZ Top had steadily grown in popularity and become a truly extraordinary live band. More than a decade of touring together meant that they had not just cut their teeth. They had found the Tooth Fairy,
beaten her senseless, and added fangs to their jaws. They were ready to tackle whatever came their way.
Their huge breakthrough coincided with the birth of music videos and MTV.
was an absolute monster of an album. ZZ Top were everywhere. They completely embraced the Music Video as a medium and became pioneers in this new genre. They branded their band with a 1933 fire-engine red Ford Coupe,
which was on the cover of the album. They even had a signature hand gesture that they used as the car went by. The car belonged to Billy Gibbons and embodied his hot rod obsessions. It was featured in the videos for Gimme All Your Lovin’, Sharp Dressed Man,
Other singles from the album included Got me Under Pressure
and TV Dinners. Eliminator
is still the band’s most successful album. They were at the absolute height of their popularity with a massive audience. No doubt the 10-year-old Joshua Michael Homme watched those videos on a small screen in the California desert, little knowing that he would one day collaborate with Gibbons.
Seeking to capitalize on the popularity, the band went back into the studio and released Afterburner
in 1985. It featured the signature hot rod on the cover and spawned two more singles - Sleeping Bag
and Velcro Fly. Afterburner
was not an innovative album by any stretch of the imagination. It simply built on the success of Eliminator
and replicated the sound. If you blended the two albums together
it would be very difficult for a novice fan to guess which song came from which disc. But hell, when you release the most popular album of your career and are earning millions of dollars for that sound, it is not time to mess with success. Or with Texas.
Or with Friends (though Ross
was a pain in the ass, IMHO).
That desire to not screw up a good thing was also evident in their next release, the retrospective re-release Six Pack.
This was a great way to earn some bucks with a simple repackaging of existing tracks - I’m looking at you, K-Tel…
- and introducing them to another generation of fans. This was not a bad thing at all - you gotta get that green whenever you can, because fame can be fleeting.
ZZ Top closed out the decade by going Back to the Future. Literally. They appeared in the third installment of the Michael J. Fox trilogy as the olde-timey house band
(complete with rotating guitars) in the saloon scene. The single and signature song from the movie, Doubleback,
appeared on their 1990 release Recycler.
The album spawned two more singles: My Head’s in Mississippi
and Concrete and Steel. Recycler
was not as successful as its predecessors, but it did effectively max level
the band. In the 1970’s they were a scuffling bar band that hit it big. In the 1980’s they were one of the most popular bands of the MTV generation. And in the 1990’s they achieved superstardom. They had hit the level where it truly no longer mattered if they ever released new material again. They could simply tour on their back catalogue alone and sell out stadiums.
It is clear that the band realized this as well. In the thirty years since Recycler
came out, they have released five albums of new material: Antenna
in 1994, Rhythmeen
in 1996, XXX
in 1999, Mescalero
in 2003 and the critically acclaimed and Rick Rubin
produced La Futura
in 2012. This was equivalent to their output in their first six years.
In contrast, they have released no less than eight greatest hits albums, cover albums and live albums in the same time span. Greatest Hits
came out in 1992. One Foot in the Blues
was released in 1994. The massive compilation Chrome, Smoke & BBQ
came out in 2003, and is a fantastic place to start if you are a new fan. Rancho Texicano
was released in 2004, Live from Texas
came out in 2008, and Double Down Live
hit shelves in 2009. Live at Montreaux
came out in 2013 and Tonite at Midnight: Live Greatest Hits from Around the World
was released in 2016.
As recently as 2019, there were rumors that a new album was in the works for our Septuagenarian heroes. Lord knows the boys from Texas have nothing left to prove to anyone.
It was then that tragedy struck. Dusty Hill had to leave the band during a tour in 2021. The reason given was a hip injury. His guitar tech, Elwood Francis, filled in. Shockingly, Hill died at home at the age of 72 just five days after leaving the tour.
Fans were shocked and mourned the stalwart bassist. Per his wishes - and it seems he knew something wasn’t quite right - ZZ Top did not break up. Francis replaced Hill on bass, and the band soldiered on. In 2022, they released Raw,
a soundtrack for a 2019 documentary about them. This was Hill’s final release.
You can still catch them on tour. They are going to be out there this summer, touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd, for something they are calling ‘The Sharp Dressed Simple Man’ Tour.
Go buy some tickets. Don’t miss your chance to see a truly iconic band before they are gone. Links to QOTSA
The Reverend Billy F. Gibbons
was a big part of the Lullabies to Paralyze
album by our Desert Dwellers. He played guitar and provided backing vocals on Burn the Witch.
He was co-lead vocalist and lead guitar on the QotSA cover of Precious and Grace,
which he originally released as a ZZ Top tune on the Tres Hombres
album. He also provided the guitar stylings for Like a Drug.
But the connections don't stop there. Billy sang the lead vocal track on the recent Desert Sessions tune Move Together,
and he played guitar on Noses in Roses, Forever.
What may be most important to QotSA fans is that Gibbons was the first person, almost two years ago, who hinted that Queens were working on a new album.
And now we know he was right. Never doubt a Reverend. Their Music Salt Lick (Somebody Else Been) Shaking your Tree Francine La Grange
-- Live on Howard Stern Jailhouse Rock Tush
-- a fan made video. It is not subtle. Cheap Sunglasses Pearl Necklace
-- Live Gimme All Your Lovin’ Sharp Dressed Man Legs
-- the ultimate makeover video Got Me Under Pressure
-- Live at Montreaux Sleeping Bag
-- Let’s go out to Egypt and check out some heads... Velcro Fly
-- also somehow in Egypt My Head’s In Mississippi Concrete and Steel
-- vintage video Doubleback I Gotsta Get Paid
-- from La Futura Show Them Some Love /zztop Previous Posts Tool Alice in Chains King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard Rage Against The Machine Soundgarden Run the Jewels Royal Blood Arctic Monkeys Ty Segall Eagles of Death Metal Them Crooked Vultures Led Zeppelin Greta Van Fleet Ten Commandos Screaming Trees Sound City Players Iggy Pop Mastodon The Strokes Radiohead All Them Witches
Today was my first time going to my home park with a friend since August of last year. I went with a high school friend who I hadn't seen since Memorial Day Weekend last year (also a trip to SFOT), and I let him use the first of my Platinum Pass discounted tickets (and of course now passholders get a $20 bring-a-friend ticket for the month of June). Our plan was to start with Titan and New Texas Giant and do a circle around the park, eventually winding up back where we started and marathoning our number ones (mine is NTG and his is Titan). Things started off incredibly smooth as we hit five rides in the first hour, but things would slow down after lunch as not everything would go according to plan afterward.
Titan - Even though my friend is not an enthusiast, he still ranks some of the coasters at the park, and Titan is his number one. We got the back row on the first train of the day and this thing was already hauling. I have fallen in love with the floater bliss that is the speed hill which will immediately be ruined next year by my first B&M hyper, and I grayed out in the second helix for the first time. This somehow keeps climbing my rankings, and is now competing with Mr. Freeze for my #2.
New Texas Giant - My number one until my upcoming reunion with Iron Rattler and my friend's number two prior to riding Mr. Freeze. We took the ninth row in order to get a walk-on, intent on getting a back row ride later in the day. The first half is great regardless of what row you're in, but riding in the middle versus the back can make the difference between floater and ejector airtime.
Chaparral Antique Cars - We did this as a meme but it turned out to be a nice, relaxing and surprisingly fun early day change of pace, but the best part was seeing some rare angles of Shockwave and New Texas Giant.
Shockwave - I was surprised to see this running single train ops as maintenance was working on the second train. Even so, it was still a walk-on, but we had to take the second-to-last row, again intent on returning for that back row ride.
Superman: Tower of Power - Amazingly, we only had to wait two cycles, and it turns out we timed our ride perfectly, as it started to get a line after we got off.
Newman's Cafe - I first tried these a week and a half ago on a solo trip because of Airtime Thrills, and knew right away I had to get my friend to try them. They're decent for theme park food, but the nuggets and fries could be crispier. Even so, my friend absolutely loved them.
Texas SkyScreamer - Is it just me, or did this get new seats since I last rode it last summer? Regardless, this was still a lot of fun to get back on again. Not very forceful, but the views are absolutely breathtaking, even if I couldn't clearly see the Dallas and Fort Worth skylines today.
Judge Roy Scream - This might actually be worse than some SLCs, though I wouldn't know since it's been 10+ years since I last rode one. We got a back row ride on this classic woodie, and this was the first time a coaster made me question my life choices. My friend and I both agreed that this thing was unbearably rough, and I audibly said that Six Flags should call up GCI.
Mr. Freeze - This was my friend's first time ever riding Mr. Freeze. Lesson learned: Ride this first on less crowded days. We waited anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour, and after waiting that long, we decided we were going to get the front row no matter what. Of course, the only people in front of us when they let us into the station also wanted the front row, and struggled with the restraints after returning to the station. The ride ops ended up reopening the air gates so my friend could get on the same train as me (in hindsight, we should've just gone through the air gates while the people in front of us were struggling and helped them out). So if you saw the ride ops reopen the air gates for one train today at around 2 PM after locking the restraints, now you know why (I'm actually surprised they did). I got stapled, which killed the airtime coming in and out of the inverted top hat, but it was kind of my fault, plus those lap bars are heavy as a brick. After getting off, my friend said that the wait was well worth it and that it very nearly overtook Titan as his number one.
Batman: The Ride - A single train wait for the back row when we got on. I don't know if we got the other train or what it was today since this thing was glass smooth when I rode it a week and a half ago, but Batman was ROUGH today. The B&M rattle was very noticeable and was accompanied with some occasional headbanging.
Catwoman Whip - I used to adore this thing as late as last summer (GP moment), but now that I'm a full-fledged enthusiast, I have come to realize how mediocre this ride truly is. You can definitely feel when you're upside down, but I wouldn't call it hangtime, and the positives when you're upright aren't that strong.
Pandemonium - Another I rode for the first time since last summer, and I was very disappointed by how little we spun. Operations were also iffy, as after we hit the final brake run, the ride ops took forever to start dispatching trains again and there was nothing wrong with the ride.
Runaway Mountain - This definitely deserves more attention. We were assigned to the front car and ended up taking the second row, but even so, it was still a great ride with decent airtime and swooping drops and helices that feel much faster than they actually are. This might actually be better than Batman.
New Texas Giant - Back for our back row ride, only for the ride to break down while we were in the station. We decided to wait it out, as I had seen the ride go down enough times to know that it's usually back up within ten to fifteen minutes. The people in front of us waiting for the back row decided to take another row for a shorter wait, so we got on one train sooner when it started running again.
Shockwave - After our back row ride on NTG, my friend was getting tired as his caffeine had worn off, so we decided to end the day early with a back row ride on Shockwave. As we approached the ride, we noticed that they were now running two train ops, and we walked on to the back row. I was left with plenty of leg room, but the lap bar came down one click on its own during the vertical loops, so I didn't get as much airtime in the second half as I would have liked.
JB's Smokehouse Barbeque - My friend wasn't yet hungry for dinner, but since I have an all season dining plan, I decided to grab a BBQ Brisket Sandwich on the way out. It was smaller than I remember, but was still good (I mean, come on. You can't go wrong with Texas barbeque). And the fries were actually crispy (looking at you, Newman's Cafe).
Overall, today was rather successful despite some setbacks and not getting to do our marathons. We rode everything we wanted to except El Diablo (I probably would have bashed it afterward), and I managed to get my friend on Mr. Freeze for the first time and it very nearly became his new number one.