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Tex's Smokin' Bar-B-Q "is the Real Deal"

Weekends-only trailer serves truckload of slow-cooked, smoky flavor to take-out customers and picnickers.

 

In honor of the recent launch of North Whitehall Patch and its new editor, Jennifer Rodgers, I have made this my first review of a "restaurant" in the township whose nearly 29 square miles include the villages of Mechanicsville, Orefield and Schnecksville.

I put the term restaurant in quotes because, well, Tex's Smokin' BarBQ is actually a trailer set up along a busy stretch of Route 309 near Shankweiler's Drive-In on property owned by the Hunsicker Funeral Home.

My former editor suggested the place out of curiosity concerning the smoke she would see wafting across the highway from a small wood-burning smoker and from the massive rotisserie, nicknamed "Betsy," parked behind the trailer.

Turns out Betsy is where owner Tex Wells, who wears a cowboy hat and speaks with his native Texan accent, turns brisket, chicken and pork into savory, melt-in-your-mouth goodness.

Every weekend from April through December, Wells buys 960 pounds of meat from U.S. Foods and slow-cooks it at 190 degrees in Betsy's ever-rotating insides. He makes his own rubs and barbecue sauce and uses hickory wood to give it all a nice smoky flavor.

"I had such a hard time finding brisket," Wells said as his reason for starting the family-run business five years ago, after leaving a job as an auto sales trainer in Texas and marrying Barbara "Momma Wells" from Pennsylvania.

Brisket, he said, is beef that comes from under a cow's ribs.

"If it is cooked right, it's the most tender piece of meat you will ever eat," he said. "If not, it can be horrible."

Wells used to cook it in his back yard in San Antonio and take batches to work with him for co-workers to sample. Often, he said, they would tell him he should start his own restaurant.

A recent Friday was my first time there, so I can't vouch for everything on his menu, which includes ribs, sausage and baked beans.  But, the $6 regular brisket sandwich I ordered for lunch might have been the best barbecued beef sandwich I've ever eaten. Loads of tender, smoky meat slathered in a tangy but not-too-spicy, not-too-sweet sauce filled the bun.

Jennifer, the new editor, chose a pulled pork barbecue, also for $6.

"My pulled pork sandwich was delicious," she said. "The meat was saturated with sauce in just the right proportion. I even added some of the coleslaw to the sandwich and it was fantastic."

For $2 more, patrons can have "Texas-sized" sandwiches.

Several picnic tables on the rented parcel provided a nice spot in the sun or in the shade of a tree to savor the taste and relaxed atmosphere of an authentic backyard southern barbecue.

Unfortunately, that also meant being exposed to a few pesty yellow jackets, who liked the sweet sauce and my diet soda.

My friends overlooked the uninvited guests in deference to the food.

Jennifer deemed the picnic tables comfortable. She called Tex, who stopped by our table to ask how we liked everything, "a very charming cowboy."

At Tex's Smokin' BarBQ  there are no waitresses or restrooms but a jar for tips at the window where orders are placed.

Extra napkins, even Wet Wipes, come highly recommended.

For more details, Tex's Smokin' BarBQ has a smokin' website where you can find the complete menu, hours, directions and a guestbook.

Tex's Smokin' BarBQ

Shankweiler Road and Route 309

Schnecksville, PA

Hours:

  • 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Fridays
  • 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Saturdays
  • 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sundays
jerry charvala September 21, 2012 at 11:01 AM
Obviously you have not checked out BAD BONES BAEBEQUE at NEWHARDS CORN SHED. pLEASE DO YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!!!!!!! THE BEST RIBS, PULLED PORK AND BRISKET in VALLEY bar none.
Ann Wlazelek September 21, 2012 at 12:09 PM
I have not tried it, Jerry, you are correct. But I will add it to my list. Thank you!
Pamela Cloud September 21, 2012 at 10:09 PM
I have had the 'que from BOTH places. While Bad Bones was very good and well worth the trip to find it. I find Tex's 'que the better of the two. But that is just what my husband & I prefer by our tastes. I was so depressed when Tex posted on Facebook that he was losing his spot just up 309 from his current spot. We thought he was gone forever from the Valley. But the tears turned to tears of joy when he announced his new location. Long Live Betsy!!!!! She's a beautiful "girl". Hahaha
Jason September 22, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Hahaha text smokin bar-b-q is the best in the lehigh valley no one can copy what text can produce. that is a fact. that is how real southern bar-b-q taste...
Schnecksville Prof September 22, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Where does he procure his meat from? Giant at Cedar Crest and Tilghman
Schnecksville Prof September 22, 2012 at 02:27 AM
i dunno a location at a funeral home is kinda creepy
Schnecksville Prof September 22, 2012 at 02:28 AM
I wonder what kind of taxes he pays to North Whitehall Township, or is this a gypsy style operation, does the state certify the cleanliness of the operation? Is he fully insured??
Schnecksville Prof September 22, 2012 at 02:30 AM
obviously you have never been to texas, cause this bbq ia nothing like that
TEX September 22, 2012 at 10:11 AM
Well I guess its my turn at this. First off mamm (Ann), very nice write up and thank you so much for all the nice compliments! I'm glad all that money I paid you is finally paying off!!! (just kiddin). Never having someone do a write up on our business before, this was awesome! Thanks a million. I would also like to say I enjoyed meeting all of your friends that were with you. Thanks to all of you for coming to see us and your business! I have 2 corrections to make before responding to some of the comments. Yes mamm the brisket is located under the ribs, however the proper labeling is "the front portion of the beef breast that lies between the front legs". I should have been more exact with you. My apologie! Second, as far as cooking in Texas, no mamm, that was here in Pa where we first got started. Living in Texas, there are plenty of bbq places everywhere, so I did not need to make my own. Now as far as comments that have been made thus far. Boy oh boy did not take long at all for those to start happening. Our location being next door to a funeral home, "kinda creepy" absolutely without a doubt.I will say one thang about it though, the last 4 years we sat in front of a pet store and now we are next door to a funeral home so if you sit back and look at this and I mean really look at this, its sorta comical in its own way! I promise the smoke coming from "BETSY" is that of good bbq, funeral home aside.
TEX September 22, 2012 at 10:15 AM
greetings mamm. Just had to jump in here and say howdy and thank you for all the nice comments!!!! "BETSY" says thank you as well, I'm sure!!! Tex
TEX September 22, 2012 at 10:18 AM
Prof???? Sir. With the name of our business plastered all over our vehicles, its tough not to been seen, however sir, the meat does not come from that Particular Giant! Try again! Tex
TEX September 22, 2012 at 10:35 AM
SIr. Taxes paid to North Whitehall???? Really? I wish that was all North Whitehall got! Gypsy Style operation?? I dont think I know you sir but with a comment like that, you have no idea who I am, what a shame! Not a bad idea though, perhaps I should ponder making some changes......... As far as the state goes, I encourage you to visit the State Dept of Agriculture, there is where you will find not only all my health inspections (2 min a year) but also just what kind of business we run sir! I fall under the state guidelines, not the city, so it is not a dirty shack on the side of the road, see for yourself. Its a nice compliment to a food place when the health inspectors come to eat at your place just to eat! Last but not least, Insured??? To the roof top and then some. I am so impressed with how concerned you appear to be sir with our business and I appreciate that. Any further concerns or questions please feel free to give me a call or better yet, come on by.......... Tex
TEX September 22, 2012 at 10:37 AM
Greetings mamm. Thanks again so much for your awesome write up!!!! P.s. There are quite a few bbq places for you to try that have popped up very recent! I'm excited for you to get to visit them all!!!! Tex
TEX September 22, 2012 at 10:41 AM
Sir, have you tried Grumpy's or Whitmans or Dickeys or any bbq places that are around? If so, whats your opinion of those other places??? Tex P.s. sounds like you know your bbq!
Momma Wells September 22, 2012 at 03:23 PM
If you read the article it clearly states that the meat is purchased from US Foods. We do NOT purchase any meat for our business at Giant. We DO get our Texas Toast and sauce ingredients EVERY week at Giant. Any meat that you MAY have seen Tex purchasing at Giant was for our dinner at home...after all, we need to eat too. I hope you have a nice day Prof. :)
Ann Wlazelek September 22, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Tex sure sounds like the gentleman in this rodeo of responses. Thanks to all for your kind words and suggestions.

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