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Monday, January 31, 2011

"Road Trip" with WES EDISON

The alarm clock sounds like reveille being held on Saturday morning. The digital clock indicates it's 6:11 am and for Wes Edison, today means "Road Trip" as he nudges his wife to wake up. The plan, is to leave their Ft. Worth home for a field trip trying out some spectacular Texas Barbecue.  His lovely wife Christine slowly rolls out of bed, walks to the kitchen making a fresh pot of coffee as the Edison's begin to makes preparations for today's trip. 

Snow's BBQ
Destination, Lexington, Texas. A three hour trip driving to try out the renown Texas Barbecue House called Snow's BBQ that was ranked as the number one best Texas barbecue house in 2008 by Texas Monthly Magazine. Although, you can't go to Snow's BBQ just anytime. They are only open on Saturdays from 8AM until the meat runs out. 

As the clock ticks, Christine and Wes have everything for their Road Trip packed into the car and pull out of the drive by 6:30AM.  The sun begins to rise as they leave the city limits of Ft Worth, taking back roads that will offer a magnificent back drop of the Texas scenic country side. 

Wes has done things right in his life. He was weaned with strong morals and good judgment. Graduating from The University of North Texas, he quickly grasp a career with Wortham Insurance and Risk Management. He also waited until the time was right to marry his long time girl friend, Christine Hornisher who is a graduate from  Texas Woman's University.  

Wes and Christine
Both growing up in Texas, share many similarities as well differences which range from influences in music, sports and hobbies. Christine a big Mavericks basketball fan while Wes is a Spurs fan. Christine loves the hip hop and classic rock while Wes takes towards Texas Country Music. Along the drive, they share the stereo switching music back and forth. Trees border the country road where farms and ranches provide  many exciting views when a unique tune comes across the woofer of the speakers finding them sing together the lyrics from music artist Brandon Rhyder "Let the Good Times Roll." 

Snow's Barbecue is owned by Kerry Bexley who has been auctioneer, Rodeo Clown, Prison Guard, Cowboy, shop keeper and Real Estate agent. The business gets it's title from Kerry's nickname given to him before he was even born. When his mother was pregnant with him, someone asked his brother then four years old if he wanted a baby sister or brother. His brother replied "I want a snowman" as the nickname Snow stayed.  "In the small town of Lexington, Texas where the population is 1100, one doesn't have to Google or Wikipedia town folks as they grew up knowing everyone in a fifty mile radius."

Kerry grew up eating great BBQ every Saturday's where "Ms. Toostie" Tomanetz previously served. Born Norma Frances Otto "Ms. Tootsie" married Mr. Tomanetz where she and her husband operated a meat market in Lexington from 1976 to 1996.  She also worked 10 years at City Meat Market, in Giddings, Texas operating as pit boss. If any one knew how to cook barbecue, it was Ms. Tootsie. 

Late 1990's Kerry and Ms. Tootsie Tomanetz, discussed the possibilities of opening a BBQ house in Lexington, Texas.  Kerry knew there was a demand for good BBQ, although the small town likely would not cover much of a profit margin without some serious thought of the the operation. The idea remain with Kerry for another half-decade before once again he reviewed his thoughts about opening the BBQ house.  

Kerry stopped by to visit with Ms. Tootsie once again, in November of 2002. As the two stirred the ashes discussing the likes of getting a BBQ joint in operation, Ms. Toostie exclaimed the two need to sit down and have a serious "heart to heart" talk. They did exactly that and Kerry immediately began building the BBQ pits for smoking the meats while he already own a location where he operated a Farm and Ranch store in 1992.

On March 1, 2003, Snow's Barbecue celebrated their Grand Opening. Kerry’s intuition was right-on with this venture. The small red building is just large enough to provide for a service counter along with several tables for seating inside with several more picnic tables set out doors near the pit area. The business blossomed serving 300 pounds of brisket and sausage each Saturday.  It's not like the huge BBQ joints that exploit large nostalgic signs or neon beer signs. You won't find walls covered in dark smokes. However, you will find friendly smiles and great food until they sell out.

Everyone comes to town from neighboring ranches and farms for the cattle auction held every Saturday at twelve thirty just down the street from Snow's. The smart venture would then just open that one day a week which create a good demand with the local area residents of Lee County. Kerry along with pit boss Ms. Tootsie where providing great BBQ, excellent service in a friendly atmosphere. This maintain the steady growth for the first five years. 

OF course, this was before Texas Monthly received a letter suggesting that they should experience the unknown BBQ joint and a food critic coming out, not once but twice to try out the food. The first time the critic came, he arrived just before noon and Snow's was sold out. 

May of 2008, the Texas monthly issue featured Texas top 50 Best BBQ Joint landing Snow's at the number one spot on the list. It was not long after the article release that lines had already 90 people standing in line to try out the BBQ before Snow's open. Many leaving home to drive in from all over the state. "One wealthy California residence flew to Austin, Texas hiring a private limousine to drive him to Lexington only to find Snow's had already sold out before noon," states Amy Kelly who grew up in Lexington. 

Snow's increased the Saturday sales loading up 500 pounds and then increasing to 800 pounds. The lines sometimes got so bad, Kerry wasn't sure if being reviewed in the Texas Monthly was a good thing or not. Several local residence became upset with the long lines from tourist seeking the bite of the Texas best Barbecue. At times becoming overwhelming, Snow's adjusted to continue providing a quality barbecue with a given friendly service. Even hiring extra hands to assist when needed to meet demand while putting his daughter to work where she could learn the importance of responsibility along with dealing with the public.

Today, Snow's offer a special on line mail order service in addition to their Saturday sells. Orders can be placed and shipped direct to your desire destination. Ms. Tootsie who is in her mid 70's continues to arrive at work just after midnight as they begin to smoke using a proven method she master nearly half a century ago with the art of slow cooking using the right blend of temperature and smoke that only a PIT BOSS masters.

When Wes and Christen arrived into Lexington, the aroma of mesquite woods burning could be smell long before reaching Snow's BBQ. They found the line smaller being able to be served within a few minutes. The sunny weather afforded them to eat outdoors by the large pits. The BBQ joint also offered T-shirts for sale with the logo reading "Vote #1 best BBQ in TEXAS" followed by "Smokin the good Stuff."  Several week-end bikers arrived driving Goldwings and Harley Davidson motorcycles who came in from Houston just to try out the renown BBQ. As they completed the large servings from butcher paper, Christen leans over wiping away some BBQ sauce from the chin on Wes, he said "This is the best brisket I have ever eaten."  Then with a kiss as sweet as the sauce, they drive away thrilled by experiencing Snow's BBQ adding another Road Trip to enjoy Texas finest BBQ.
Ms. Tootsie  Pit Boss at Snow's BBQ
BBQ Best in Texas

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