East Texas brisket sandwich wins second best in state

Published: May. 25, 2016 at 9:45 PM CDT|Updated: May. 25, 2016 at 10:18 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON, TX (KLTV) - It's tough to resist a brisket sandwich, but it's even tougher to resist if it's in the top ten in the state.

Out of a huge number of possible winners, Riverport Bar-B-Que in Jefferson, at 201 Polk Street, ranked way up there in a recent USA Today ranking.

Stephen Joseph has been perfecting his craft for 23 years.

"I'm still learning every day though," Joseph said.

And USA Today didn't announce they were coming.

"Well I was just shocked that they had been in here," Joseph revealed.

His sandwich was one of twenty brisket sandwiches chosen throughout the state, and judging from the sudden lunch crowd word had spread.

"Shows me that people are willing to travel for good barbeque," Joseph said.

The word traveled too. Voting was the first two weeks in May.

"We kind of climbed the ranks, and then we'd get to number 10 and we'd get excited, and then maybe we'd move to 8 and we'd get a little more excited. Once we got in the top 5 we thought well maybe we can really do this," Joseph recalled.

You could vote online or with your phone on those in the top 20.

"We actually cracked number one at one point, and then we dropped back to number two, but I owe it all to this little community here," Joseph said.

USA Today allowed one vote a day.

"And we just kind of bumped on up there," Joseph smiled.

He could get all complicated about his brisket, but he keeps it simple and boils it down to four things.

"The wood we use; I think about the smoke. I just watch how clean the smoke is. I think about simple seasoning, and I think about buying a good piece of meat," Joseph explained.

Clean smoke?

"It's one of the key components, you just want a real clear, almost invisible smoke," Joseph said.

If you've had enough of the brisket, you can always have a hamburger.

Stephen Joseph says he thinks the perfect brisket sandwich has two slices, an onion and exactly five pickles. So who beat him out? Cooper's Old Time Bar-B-Que in Llano, Texas, which is northwest of Austin.

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