A James Beard Nominee, an inductee in the Barbecue Hall of Fame, an employee at Giddings High School, and a BBQ pitmaster extraordinaire, Tootsie Tomanetz, is a legend. 87 years young, the Texas BBQ pitmaster runs the show at Snow's BBQ in Lexington, every Saturday from open to close. In fall 2020, the world got the chance to see Pitmaster Tootsie Tomanetz in action in Netflix's Chef's Table.
Pitmaster Tootsie Tomanetz and Her Famous Texas Barbecue
Born three miles from Lexington, Texas on a farm, Norma Francis "Tootsie" Tomanetz grew up understanding the importance of hard work. Getting her start at City Meat Market in Giddings in 1966, Tootsie has been working barbecue pits for over 50 years. She is often referred to as the "Queen of Texas BBQ" for her legendary BBQ skills.
Tootsie married Edward "White" Tomanetz in 1956, with whom she has three kids. They later bought the City Meat Market, which they managed together until her husband had a stroke and she was forced to sell the market. Tootsie is known for her traditional BBQ techniques, like using a bed of hot coals for cooking the meat and using a mop sauce.
In 2018 Tootsie was named a James Beard Semi-finalist in the best chef category for the Southwest region. While she didn't win the James Beard Award, she did receive lots of community support.
Aside from cooking, Tootsie is very active in her church and likes to watch the Hallmark channel. In an interview with Barbecue Wife, the Texan shared her love for "Old Timey" Country Western music.
The town of Lexington is small, (population 1,100 small) but that didn't stop owner Kerry Bexley from opening up Snow's BBQ in 2002. Open only on Saturdays, Snow's BBQ features meats by the pound including brisket, pork steak, turkey breast, and a few varieties of sausage. Named #1 BBQ in Texas by Texas Monthly in 2008, the BBQ joint usually sells out by the afternoon.
Open only on Saturdays, the BBQ joint is about an hour's drive from Austin. Despite her age, Miss Tootsie still wakes up at 1 am every Saturday morning to prepare for the rush of barbecue-loving Texans. You'll find her every Saturday flinging the best barbecue in Central Texas, wearing blue jeans and all.
You can also purchase plates of BBQ from Goldbelly. The Best of Texas Feast serves 30 and includes 2 BBQ Briskets, 2 Racks St. Louis Pork Ribs, 2 Packs of Original Sausage, and BBQ sauce. Sides not included!
Chef's Table: BBQ is all Things BBQ
Chef's Table: BBQ, a spin-off of the popular Netflix series, featured four pitmasters in the United States, Mexico, and Australia.
Catch the trailer here:
The trailer features Tootsie Tomanetz of Snow BBQ running the pits early Saturday morning. Coworker Clay Cowgill describes her as one of the "hardest working people I've ever met."
This post was originally published on September 22, 2021.