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Month: May 2023

Tootsie Tomanetz – Texas Pitmaster Legend

Women Pitmasters

Texans know BBQ. Every home town has at least one go-to. It’s distinctive from town to town and smoker to smoker. It could be a brick and mortar restaurant, Sunday church chicken, or George’s smoker out back. BBQ as a genre itself has factions and layers. You think you’ve found the fiercest pit boss with the best method? Look, we could talk about smoke rings and dry rubs all day. I’m here to tell you there are Texas women mastering the craft.

In Texas, everyone thinks their daddy makes the best ribs. Well, let’s flip the switch on that this month. We talked to award winning and legacy carrying women pitmasters. They took the bull by the horns and so should you. Don’t leave the BBQ up to the men this year, I’m giving you a recipe for Father’s Day. And if the home pit is not for you, don’t worry. These pitbosses and their grit might inspire you in another way. They are Texas women after all.

Tootsie Tomanetz

Snow’s BBQ, Lexington

516 Main St, Lexington, TX 78947


“Go big or go home!”  To borrow the adage from my sis-in-law, Pam, this was my inspiration action plan to create the best Father’s day BBQ for the Dad’s in my family.

My journey began with a trip to Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, Texas and a personal visit with Pitmaster Tootsie Tomanetz.  A two-times nominated James Beard Award Semi-finalist, Tootsie has become renowned as the strong octogenarian in charge of turning out notable brisket, sausage, chicken, and pork at Snow’s.  If you are a Chef’s Table follower, you may have caught her featured in the first episode of 2020.

I am honored to say I know Tootsie personally as she and I attend the Hannes Family Reunion every year in Giddings, Texas where she resides.  Her late husband is one of my Hannes cousins. Always humble, claiming to “just be from the country”, she never hesitates to give credit to God for her path in life and many accolades.

Tootsie began her BBQ career accidentally when she was called in to help a short handed issue by Giddings, Texas City Meat Market owner and close friend Hershel Doyle.  So, she joined her husband “White” Tomanetz who also worked there and ten years later she was still there, helping at the pit, in the slaughter room, and the fresh meat store.

Expanding to the meat market in Lexington, Texas, Tootsie and her husband White, ran that location for several years.  One day, Kerry Bexley came into the store and asked if Tootsie would join him at a new BBQ restaurant slated to open March 1st 2003. Open only on Saturdays from 8 AM until they run out of meat, the hours were originally to coincide with a weekly Saturday livestock auction down the street.

A two-times nominated James Beard Award Semi-finalist, Tootsie has become renowned as the strong octogenarian in charge of turning out notable brisket, sausage, chicken, and pork at Snow’s.  If you are a Chef’s Table follower, you may have caught her featured in the first episode of 2020.

Tootsie specifically hit top billing by being inducted into the 2018 Barbecue Hall of Fame.  When referring to this award and being a James Beard Semi-finalist, she says, “I didn’t even know what those awards were until I received them”.  She maintains that the best part of her profession is “the feeling I get when I see people sit down to eat our BBQ and take that first bite and its just a glow that comes out on their face and expression of how wonderful it tastes and how good it is,”

So you ask, what’s the secret to her BBQ?  Tootsie shares, “We treat ours with TLC.” “That is just something that we have been careful to maintain with all the growth that has come with recognition.”

“I only use salt and pepper”.  On chicken, spare ribs, and pork I use a mop which consists of water, onions, butter, mustard, worcestershire sauce, and vinegar”  She is quick to add that at the old church picnics they use lemons instead of vinegar.  “I love that, but I just stick to using vinegar.”

So, now you know.

Feel free to take these “mop” ingredients and create your own special sauce.  The sky’s the limit, and who knows – you may invent your own named sauce!

Shelly Spivey’s Ribs

Shelly Spivey 

Daisy Dukes BBQ

300 TX-21, Caldwell, TX 77836

From renowned and seasoned, I visited an “up and comer” hard working, young woman pitmaster in Caldwell, Texas.  Shelly Spivey, blonde, blue-eyed, and “5 foot nothing”, is the owner and pitmaster of Daisy Dukes BBQ.

“Here at Daisy Dukes, we still use stick fired BBQ pits.  Pulling off plump juicy sausage, Shelly says “its a smoky, hot job, but nothing that us women pitmasters can’t handle”. “The restaurant business is a hard business, but the BBQ restaurant business is even harder”. Many of our customers come in and are looking for the man who is doing the cooking and when they point to me, they say,  “What?  That is not what we expected!”

She likes to wrap her briskets in foil instead of paper, being careful to capture all the brisket juices. They are our best friend here.”

Shelly comes by this naturally.  Her grandmother owned a restaurant in Caldwell called “Boss Hogs” for 20 years where she worked.  So, she says “its in our family.”

She shared that her favorite thing to cook is ribs.  “To me cooking ribs is a technique.  There’s a fine line to how long to smoke, when you pull it to season it and wrap it, how much longer you cook to keep it plump and juicy keeping the meat staying on the bone.”

What is the spice that makes your BBQ best – “We keep it simple with salt, pepper, and garlic.  That’s it”

So, now you know.

Like most things in life, the secret is mastering the basics. Thank you to the strong Texas women who came before us and all the Father’s who let us in the pit. 

Shelly Spivey's Ribs

Simple and Scrumptious
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 People


  • BBQ Grill


  • 1 rack Pork Spare Ribs
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Garlic to taste


  • Preheat grill to 225-250
  • Season Ribs
  • Place in grill for 1 1/2 hours unwrapped
  • Remove, wrap in foil, and place back on grill for 1 1/2 hours


From Shelley, " Gotta keep them plump and juicy.  Can't over cook them because  you'll cook all the meat off and have nothing but bone.  

Happy Birthday Texas

Our annual celebration of Texas Independence Day features Texas food and wine, Texas products, and stories of Texas history. At the 2023 party, we asked a few guests to share stories of strong Texas women in their history. Watch the video below for a glimpse of inspiration. We featured wonderful Texas businesses and had some local sponsors to boost the culinary experience. Happy Birthday Texas…Sip, Shop, Munch!

We really celebrate all year at Texicureans. Subscribe to our youtube channel here.


Thank you to our sponsors:




Black Forest Cake

The grand finale to a night of GerTexican fusion includes decadent chocolate cake, whipped cream, and tequila infused cherries. Yum! What at evening at Krause’s Cafe with Alex Meixner and Chef Boomer Acuna.

Thank you Chris Snider for hosting us. What a night! 

P.S. Get your own apron here. “Everything tastes better in Texas”

Black Forest Cake

Course Dessert



  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder unsweetened
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs large
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Tequila Cherries

  • 1 can red tart cherries in water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup tequila

Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste


Cake Directions

  • preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • grease a 18-by-12 inch sheet pan
  • combine the flour and sugar in a large bowl
  • combine the water, butter, and cocoa in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour over the flour mixture
  • in a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla together. Add to the batter and blend thoroughly by hand. Don't use an electric mixer
  • pour into the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean

Cherries Directions

  • drain cherries reserving the water
  • place water and sugar in a sauce pan and reduce until syrup and cool
  • place tequila, cherries, and syrup into jar and place in refrigerator for at least 2 days before using

Whipped Cream Directions

  • Place all ingredients in a cold bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form


  • Once cooled, cut the cake in half
  • brush or drizzle each half with the tequila cherry syrup
  • place cherries on one half and top with whipped cream then top with the other half of the cake
  • use remaining whipped cream for topping

Pecan Trout

And the fusion of German, Mexican & Texan cuisine continues! This delicious recipe is from Boomer Acuna, Executive Chef at Krause’s cafe. Texas pecans rubbed on fresh trout, served over German potatoes and topped with a chili lime sauce! Truly a taste sensation of its own. You only need a side salad or green veggie for a complete dinner. Grab a couple of saute pans, pop open an Alex Meixner Polka Pils and let the accordion music play!

Pecan Trout

Course Main Course
Cuisine German
Servings 4



  • 1 1/2 cups pecans chopped
  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp parsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 stick butter softened to room temperature
  • 4 fillets trout

German Fried Potatoes

  • 4 potatoes cooked, peeled and minced
  • sausage
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp parsley chopped fine
  • Kosher salt & white pepper to tast

Chili Lime Sauce

  • 1 poblano pepper roasted, peeled, seeded
  • 2 jalapeño peppers roasted, peeled, seeded
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup greek yogurt, plain
  • 3/4 cup mayo
  • 1 tsp chives minced
  • 1 tbsp parsley chopped
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  • 1 tsp cumin ground
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt


  • Trout: Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Mix pecans, breadcrumbs, parsley, salt & pepper
  • Rub trout with softened butter, then dip into the pecan mixture
  • Place onto a greased sheet pan & bake for 10 minutes
  • Potatoes: Heat saute pan over medium-high heat
  • Add butter, sausage & potatoes
  • Cook until potatoes start to brown, then add onions & garlic cooking until soft. Make sure not to burn the garlic
  • Season with salt & white pepper & finish with fresh parsley
  • Chili Lime Sauce: Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth


Keyword fish

German and Mexican Fusion

For the culinary curious, something exciting is happening in New Braunfels. Think you’ve seen (and tasted) it all? Well, have you ever had cilantro and sauerkraut in the same dish?

Accomplished musician and now New Braunfels local Alex Meixner, along with executive chef Boomer Acuna are selling out “GerTexican” experiences at Krause’s. We went last month, and it did not disappoint! Their new genre is a fusion of German, Texan, and Mexican cuisine; it is creative and authentic right down to the tequila cherries on the dessert. We ate and drank everything in sight, swayed along to the accordion, and laughed at our hosts’ banter.

Cooking really is a dance. The music comes from the sizzles of the pan and the chopping of the knife. The chef shuffles around the counter in choreographed steps, sometimes improvising to get just the right balance and flavor. “Ein Prosit” can take you to Germany; Mariachi “El Son De La Negra” can take you to Mexico. But there is only one place in the world where it all comes together to make magic. And you already know where that is —Texas.


History affords us the opportunity to view the influences that have
impacted our past so that we can better understand our present. Of the many cultures that settled the unbridled state of Texas, two have intertwined n a distinctly Texan fashion. Let’s dive in!

In 1681, Along the upper Grande, a group of exiled Spaniards and Native Americans from the Pope’s Rebellion settled near what is now El Paso to establish the first European base in Texas.

From 1690 to 1821, Spain ruled Texas. Spain left a legacy of the Spanish language – evident in every major river and many towns that bear a Spanish name.

Additionally, the Spaniards left the legacy of Roman Catholicism. Nearly all people living in Texas at the end of Spain’s reign were members of the Roman Catholic Church.

In 1821, Mexico took control of Texas after winning the Mexican War for Independence from Spain, and that governance continued until 1836. It was during this time in the 1830s that the first permanent German settlement in Texas was established by Friedrich Ernst and Charles Fordtran in Industry, Austin County. Ernst’s description of this Mexico-ruled area in a letter to German friends was so influential that he has been remembered as “the Father of German Immigration to Texas.”

Like the Spanish, the Germans brought Catholicism, among several other religions.

Music, like food, is a culturally-distinctive phenomenon. But have you ever listened to what seems to be an instrumental German Polka band piece, only to discover that it in fact is a Mexican song? This music is a Mexican style of polka known as Norteño. Influenced by German settlers in Texas around 1830, some types of Mexican music have the German polka “oom-pah-pah” influence.


Owen Duggan of San Antonio, who holds a Doctorate of Music, tells us, “Like Mexican beer, Conjunto is a fusion of two cultures. It is a style of Tejano music known for its jaunty, happy, danceable rhythms. In the late 19th Century, German immigrants introduced the button accordion and polka music into South Texas and northern Mexico. It remains one of the favored dance music of Tex-Mex culture. Its most famous practitioner is San Antonio Born Flaco Jiménez, world renowned as a virtuoso button

So, it would only stand to reason that when Alex Meixner, of Austrian descent and a nationally acclaimed accordion polka musician, would pair with Boomer Acuna, a Mexican heritage chef – there would be culinary Magic.

Hence, the birth of the “GerTexican” food genre!

Texicureans joined with Alex and Boomer and an enthusiastic audience at the Krause’s outdoor stage in New Braunfels to watch Maultaschen unfold. The German meat dumpling is traditionally served in broth as soup or fried in butter and topped with caramelized onions. Add cilantro, jalapenos, cumin, cotija cheese, top will a little sauerkraut and Voila! You have a Tex-Mex fusion. Of course this was all accompanied by beer – a love of both cultures, and the magic of Alex Meixner’s accordion!

Tickets for the “GerTexican” Dinner and Cooking Demo experience go fast! Visit Krause’s website and social media to reserve your spot for the next one.





A Ger-Texican Fusion
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cuisine German, Mexican



  • 1 head green cabbage
  • 5 green onions, diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped fine
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeños, diced fine
  • 4 tbsp kosher salt


  • 1 pound smoked brisket
  • 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and boiled
  • 2 oz cojita cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh pasta dough, or wonton wrappers



  • Shred green cabbage as fine as possible, preferably on a slicer or mandolin
  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  The salt will make the cabbage lose its juices, that’s what you want!
  • Place into a jar and set in a dry dark place.  Every couple of days open jars to release gas.  After about 2 weeks the cabbage will be ready.  It’s okay if it has a fizz to it that’s part of the fermentation process.  Then store it in the refrigerator.  


  • Chop brisket and set aside
  • Mash boiled potatoes with cotija cheese and heavy cream until smooth.  Season with salt and white pepper to taste.  Place in a piping bag or ziplock bag
  • Roll out pasta dough (if using homemade pasta dough).  If using wonton wrappers, you need egg wash to seal the edges.
  • Place about 1 tbsp of chopped brisket in the middle of the dough and top with another tablespoon of potato.  Lay another sheet of dough on top and seal with a fork, ravioli maker, scalloped pasta cutter, o just press with fingers.
  • Cook in pot of boiling salted water for about 5 minutes.
  •  Strain, place into serving bowls
  • Ladle your favorite hot broth or stock over the dumplings and top each with sauerkraut. 


Keyword brisket, cabbage, pasta, sauerkraut, cojita cheese, potatoes