Team BBQ

Behold, fourteen of the eighteen-member band of intrepid reviewers who landed one of the most coveted jobs in Texas: barnstorming the state in search of the best barbecue by stopping at as many restaurants, joints, roadside stands, and walk-ups as possible (“BBQ08”). In the end only fifty made our list, which means our readers won’t ever have to waste a second on dry brisket, fatty ribs, or tasteless sides. So who was king of all the eaters? That would be assistant editor David Courtney, standing front and center, who visited nine places in a single day.

Todd Sanders

For Todd Sanders, his work is all about crude charm. That’s how the Austin-based artist jokingly describes his “antique” signs, like the one on the cover. “I’m passionate about making handmade neon signs that are period perfect,” he says. Sanders owns Roadhouse Relics, where he designs his one-of-a-kind pieces for restaurants, families, and even movies, such as The Rookie. As it turns out, the Montgomery native also knows his way around a plate of Texas barbecue. “I’m a connoisseur,” he says. “I love Lamberts, in Austin, but when I’m back home, you can’t beat Huntsville’s New Zion Bar-B-Q.”

Mimi Swartz

It’s no surprise that executive editor Mimi Swartz has written such an intense story about the kidnapping of an oil worker off the coast of Nigeria (“The Risk Premium,”). Over the years, she has become known for spinning fascinating tales about the energy industry, whether it’s the Enron debacle or an explosion at a refinery in Texas City. “The biggest issue of our time is energy,” she says, “and the way we identify and solve our energy problems will determine what kind of future we will have—and our children will have.”