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Post from Full Custom Gospel BBQ
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For seventy-five years they've celebrated a reunion in Dalhart, Texas for those with a connection to the XIT ranch. This celebration culminates in a rodeo on the first Saturday evening in August. This rodeo is immediately preceded by what has been dubbed the "World's Largest Free BBQ".

LinkQuintessential Panhandle Scene


In order to get to Dalhart from Dallas, there is a lot of Texas that needs to be covered, and most of it is flat. I headed out on the road accompanied by photographer Nick McWhirter who is a friend, coworker, and the main reason this trip looked so cool. You can check out even more of the photos (all of them great) at this slideshow.

The Perfect Onion Ring


Thankfully there was also some barbecue along the way, and much of it came with some of the best onion rings either of us had ever eaten.

The Red "River"


Unfortunately, we also witnessed some compelling images of the Texas drought. It was stunning, but not pretty.

The Road to BBQ


The roads are even paved with brisket around here.

Where the BBQ Comes From


We also passed our share of beef feedlots. Regardless of your thoughts on the ethical treatment of cattle in these CAFO's, the fact is that your barbecue comes from here. There just isn't much grass fed beef being smoked out there.

Meal at Sutphen's in Borger


Even the combo plates were more spread out in the Panhandle.

Hodie's Bar-B-Que in Dalhart


It wouldn't be a true Texas BBQ journey without some disappointment. Five Hundred miles from my house sits Hodie's which is closed on the Saturday of the XIT rodeo and BBQ. Oddly enough, I knew I'd be back here in a week.

In Line for the 'Feed'


The lines at the event are not short, but they move quickly. Everyone that we talked to did not refer to this as a meal or a barbecue, but rather it was always called the 'feed'. As we lined up like cattle waiting for the trough, it felt appropriate.

The Feed from Above


I took my first helicopter ride. It's a severe understatement to say that I didn't expect helicopter rides at the XIT.

Dump Truck Full of Meat


To keep a steady stream of beef going to each line, the beef is held in a plastic lined dump truck.

The Pits


The beef is seasoned, wrapped in butcher paper and burlap, tied with wire, then cooked for twenty-four hours in pits dug with backhoes.

Choppin' Beef


The meat was better than expected. While not smoky, the meat was aggressively seasoned with salt and cracked black pepper, and was perfectly moist and tender.

A Plate of Feed


Take beef, add applesauce and beans, enjoy.

A Local Truck Driver


We met plenty of bona fide cowboys.

Welcome to the Rodeo


And even saw a few rides the broncs.

"Is it our turn yet?"


These guys were some true road warriors, sleeping at home about 5 or 6 nights a month.

Big Texan in Amarillo


After the event, we made our way back to Amarillo to enjoy the accommodations at the Big Texan Motel. We ate next door the next morning and despite the relentless billboard propaganda, we did not consider tackling 72 oz. of steak.

The best thing to come out of the weekend, besides the photo documentation, was the knowledge that Nick and I could cover 1000 miles in 36 hours and still be talking at the end of the trip. We're already planning the next one. Any Texas destination ideas?

- BBQ Snob


Post from Full Custom Gospel BBQ
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