TMBBQFest, “23 Pitmasters in 23 Days:” Opie’s BBQ

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Editor’s Note: The Texas Monthly BBQ Festival is almost here! Each day until then, we’ll be talking to one of the featured pitmasters, with questions from TM staffers, esteemed BBQ experts, Twitter followers and you, the readers of this blog. Today we bring you Marco Oglesby, 30, of Opie’s BBQ in Spicewood. For more info, visit their page on TMBBQ.com.

Photo by Daniel Vaughn

<p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="media-image attr__typeof__foaf:Image img__fid__34350 img__view_mode__default attr__format__default attr__field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]__ attr__field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]__" src="http://www.texasmonthly.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/23/2015/05/brooke.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-51273c7e-59ae-1b69-835a-b5f0a6f3797e">Students at a public high school in the panhandle have been voting all week for this year’s prom king and queen. The two winners will be crowned at the dance, per tradition, but there’s a slight change of pace on this year’s ballot — one of the nominees for prom king is a teenage girl named Brooke Durr. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-51273c7e-59ae-1b69-835a-b5f0a6f3797e">For the first time in Texas, the students at Richard Milburn Academy in Amarillo may elect a girl to hail as prom king. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-51273c7e-59ae-1b69-835a-b5f0a6f3797e">According to </span><a href="https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/meet-the-17-year-old-girl-running-for-high-school-117878567747.html" target="_blank">Yahoo Parenting</a>, Durr — like most high school seniors — was looking for a way to make her senior prom especially memorable. She had a date, she served on the prom committee, and she found a perfect tuxedo for the occasion. The idea of vying for a highly-coveted crown appealed to her, but she wasn’t so interested in running for queen.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-51273c7e-59ae-1b69-835a-b5f0a6f3797e">“I thought, well, why can’t I be king?” Durr told </span><a href="http://www.newschannel10.com/story/28948494/local-female-student-runs-for-prom-king" target="_blank">Amarillo NewsChannel 10</a>. “I was like, I’m going to go and try to be king.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-51273c7e-59ae-1b69-835a-b5f0a6f3797e">So with the support of her classmates in the form on nominations, Durr made the ballot for king. But her name was removed shortly after by a school principal, as she said to </span><a href="http://www.newschannel10.com/story/28948494/local-female-student-runs-for-prom-king" target="_blank">NewsChannel 10</a>. “What happened to me was really, really awful because I was like, why would she do this to me?” Durr said.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-51273c7e-59ae-1b69-835a-b5f0a6f3797e">After being taken off the ballot, Durr explained what happened in a widely-shared Facebook post. The same students who nominated her in the first place rallied behind her, and in response to the push-back, the school administration put Durr back in the running for prom king.</span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-51273c7e-59ae-1b69-835a-b5f0a6f3797e">Durr </span><a href="https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/meet-the-17-year-old-girl-running-for-high-school-117878567747.html" target="_blank">told Yahoo Parenting</a> that running for prom king isn’t necessarily a political move. “It was just a last-minute thing, and I didn’t do it to prove a point or challenge the way prom has always been,” Durr said. “It was just an idea, and when I told people at school, most students really liked the idea.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-51273c7e-59ae-1b69-835a-b5f0a6f3797e">Without necessarily meaning to do so, Durr’s school challenged tradition. It’s the same kind of high school student-driven progression that got a Texas transgender student </span><a href="http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/10/meet-the-first-trans-homecoming-king-in-texas.html" target="_blank">elected homecoming king</a> back in October. Political agendas aside, teenagers lacking in agency like to act as the force behind change. Whether it’s out of novelty, the idea of being the first group of people to do a certain thing, or simple support for a peer, a lot of the state’s progressive movement is taking place in its high schools.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-51273c7e-59ae-1b69-835a-b5f0a6f3797e">Durr isn’t the first young woman to choose a campaign for king over queen — last May, a female student at a </span><a href="http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/oddnews/girl-crowned-prom-king-at-a-las-vegas-high-school-211838334.html" target="_blank">Las Vegas high school</a> was crowned king — but her nomination does stand out in a year where some high schools in Texas have <a href="http://outinsa.com/southwest-h-s-allows-lesbian-student-to-wear-tuxedo-to-prom/" target="_blank">prohibited</a> female students from wearing tuxedos, instead of dresses, to the dance.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-51273c7e-59ae-1b69-835a-b5f0a6f3797e">Durr has a tuxedo picked out for the prom, which she’s attending with her date. Whether or not she reigns as the school’s 2015 prom king, she’s already garnered attention from all over Texas. </span></p> <p><br /> <span id="docs-internal-guid-51273c7e-59ae-1b69-835a-b5f0a6f3797e">“It’s amazing, it’s something different,” Durr said </span><a href="http://www.newschannel10.com/story/28948494/local-female-student-runs-for-prom-king" target="_blank">to NewsChannel 10</a>. “Not very many people can say a female from their school got to be king. It’s great, I don’t know what I’m going to do if I really am.”</p> <p><em>Photo courtesy of Brooke Durr.</em></p>

Who did you learn your craft from? To be honest, before I started working at Opie’s, I never used smoker before. I used a backyard circle grill with my dad, but when I worked at a gas station I became friend’s with the owner of Opie’s; when they had a spot open up, I jumped at the opportunity to start working there. Mike, the pitmaster who was already there, taught me how to use the smoker, and that was pretty much how I started. I’ve always loved BBQ, and I was born and raised in Austin, so I’ve just always cooked it. What’s your signature meat? I like everything we cook. However, I’d say our most popular meat is our sweet and spicy baby back ribs. Sauce or no sauce? No, I don’t use sauce. The baby back ribs are the only thing we cook with sauce. But me personally? I think if you cook meat properly, the simpler the better. I prefer to taste the meat. Slow and low or high and fast(er)? We usually cook at about 250 degrees.We used to cook a bit hotter than that, but now we go low and slow. We do the briskets overnight, ribs for about three hours, and the chicken usually takes a couple hours. What non-secret ingredients are in your spice rub, if you use one. It’s really basic: just red pepper, black pepper, and a couple other little things. Nothing crazy. If you have good quality meat I think it’ll come out perfect. Do you start a new fire each day or do you keep the same one going? On the brisket we keep the same fire, the other stuff I start when I get there in the morning. Aluminum foil or butcher paper? We use butcher paper. If a customer takes food to go, we’ll throw in foil then, but otherwise straight butcher paper. Do you use or have you considered using a gas- or electric-fired smoker for any of your meats? We have a couple of rotisseries, but there are no gas elements or anything like that. I’ve got a pit with coals, two electric rotisseries, and an old-school offset fire box. Ever have any Texas barbecue outside of Texas? No, I sure have not. I’m kind of a homebody and haven’t done much traveling in my days. – JESSICA HUFF (Questions by Jason Cohen, Andrea Valdez, Pat Sharpe, Katy Vine, Sonia Smith, Daniel VaughnJim ShahinJ.C. Reid@stewlevine &@JoePerryinTX.)

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