Daniel Vaughn

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Daniel Vaughn is the magazine’s Barbecue Editor.

In a former life, the Dallas-based Vaughn was an architect and a mere barbecue hobbyist, eating, reviewing, and writing about smoked meats for his popular blog, Full Custom Gospel BBQ. Then, in March 2013, hobby turned to profession, as he became the country’s one and only barbecue editor.

His first book, The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue, was released in May 2013 by Ecco, Anthony Bourdain’s line of books.

Articles by Daniel Vaughn

BBQ
Smoked Fried Turkey

Dec 22, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

I’m of the opinion that most foods can be improved when they’re smoked, and one of my favorite dishes that proves this proclaimed axiom is smoked turkey. We’ve got plenty of great options in Texas, all of which likely beat the oven-roasted turkey that your family overcooked at Thanksgiving. But when it…

BBQ
Make a Christmas Ham

Dec 16, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Yes, really. Make a ham. From scratch. Don’t just reheat one from the grocery store like you did for Easter. You still have the time to get it on if you start now. After a seven- or eight-day brine, you can have one you can call your own on your…

BBQ
The Best Turkey in Texas

Nov 24, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Smoked turkey is now so common that nearly every grocery store deli case in the country carries at least one variety (and more often, many more than one). We now take this protein option for granted, but smoked turkey doesn’t have the same long history as beef and pork barbecue do in this…

BBQ
Cracking the Cracklin’ Code

Nov 20, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Chicharrón, pork rinds, gratons, cracklins—call them what you like, but fried hog fat with the skin on is a wonderful thing. I recently attended a Louisiana boucherie (what is essentially a communal gathering where a whole hog is butchered and broken down; read more about it here), and I was…

BBQ
BBQ News: 12/12 – 12/18

Dec 18, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

– Pitmasters have embraced the term “joint” to describe their restaurants: If it’s not a barbecue “joint,” then what is it? My latest for @HoustonChron. http://t.co/C44IXkh8Ci — J.C. Reid (@jcreidtx) December 15, 2014   – Carl’s Jr. has announced a grass-fed beef burger…

BBQ
The Importance of Resting

Nov 11, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Patience. Not only is it a virtue, it’s the key to good brisket. No meat in barbecue suffers more when it’s subjected to the foolish habits of the impatient pitmaster: cranking the heat too high in the smoker; obsessively opening and closing the lid to check on the smoker’s contents; or just taking the…

A Dictionary of Charcuterie . . .

Feb 14, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Bresaola A beef eye of round, salt-cured and aged for several months. Coppa Marbled pork neck muscle, salt-cured and aged for several months. Lardo Pork back fat rubbed with salt and aromatics and aged for several months. Lonzino A whole pork loin, salt-cured and…

BBQ
Texas’s Best BBQ Sandwiches

Feb 14, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

At Prause Meat Market in La Grange, there is a green paper sign right next to the barbecue counter. It reads “Sorry We Do NOT Make Sandwiches.” It’s a reminder to customers that this is a meat market where meat—smoked or raw—is sold by the pound. If you want a…

BBQ
Interview: Billy McDonald of Mac’s Bar-B-Que, Part I

Feb 12, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner/Pitmaster: Mac’s Bar-B-Que; Opened 1955 (1982 in current location) Age: 60 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Hickory The McDonalds have been a fixture in the Dallas barbecue scene since 1949. Mac’s has moved around a bit, but Billy McDonald has no plans to leave his current spot on Main Street just outside…

BBQ
DBQ

Jan 21, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Editor’s note: The name of this joint has been changed to DBQ since this article was published. Kyle Lewallen started his barbecue catering company while still a junior at Texas A&M. A few years later he bought a food trailer and parked it just a block away from campus. He…

BBQ
What I Learned at Brisket Camp

Jan 17, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

The director of Foodways Texas, Marvin Bendele, asked me to come and lead a couple of panel discussions at the organization’s annual Camp Brisket, held last weekend at the Rosenthal Meat Center on Texas A&M’s campus. And even though I was presented…

BBQ
City Market (Schulenburg)

Jan 7, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

If I had it my way, City Market in Schulenburg would have a warning sign on their barbecue menu: “Pit in use only on Saturday, microwaves the rest of the week.” You see, first and foremost this is a meat market. Making sausage (including weiners) is their biggest business, on…

The Soul of a Pitmaster

Dec 6, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

For more than a quarter century, Roy Perez has been tending the fires at Kreuz Market and posing for photos with barbecue aficionados. It’s given him a lot of time to think.

BBQ
A New Menu Item

Oct 31, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

In this age of barbecue’s expansion and experimentation we see cuts of meat enter the smoker that have never previously been even figments of barbecue culture. But, there’s one protein that has gone largely ignored in real life, but has a rich history in art and film – human flesh.

BBQ
BBQ Anatomy 101: Pork Ribs

Aug 30, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

The Texas Trinity combo plate—beef, ribs, and sausage—is probably the most commonly served dish at Texas barbecue joints, and usually, the beef brisket gets all the glory. But we should shine a little more light on pork ribs, which are often a joint’s better tasting meat (it’s difficult to perfectly…

The Genesis of the Barbecue Joint

Aug 20, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

Sifting through old Texas newspapers, I found the first mention of commercial smoked meat from the Brenham Weekly Banner, which announced that a Bastrop butcher "keeps on hand at his stall a ready stock of barbecued meats and cooked sausages."

BBQ
Pitmaster Interview: Nick Pencis of Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue

Jul 24, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

Photo by Nicholas McWhirter Owner: Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue since 2006 Age: 36 Smoker: Gas-fired rotisserie for ribs, offset wood-fired smoker for everything else. Wood: Pecan Nick Pencis was once the pitmaster at Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue in Tyler. He tried his best, but knew he had a real…

BBQ
City Market (Luling)

Dec 13, 2012 By Daniel Vaughn

There are many folks around the country that may have just been introduced to the existence of City Market, in Luling, earlier this year when Newsweek published their list of the “101 Best Places to Eat” around the world. I myself…

BBQ
Woodshed Smokehouse

Sep 24, 2012 By Daniel Vaughn

FORT WORTH: Woodshed Smokehouse 3201 Riverfront Dr. Fort Worth, TX 76107 817-877-4545 Open Daily 11-’til www.woodshedsmokehouse.com Where’s the beef, or more specifically brisket? Just a few days ago chef and owner Tim Love bragged via Twitter that a record number of…

BBQ
Gatlin’s BBQ & Catering

Jan 6, 2012 By Daniel Vaughn

It was the end of a long day. My friends Nick and Clark had stayed with me bite for bite through six other barbecue joints and we were on our way to Houston to eat at this mightily heralded joint in northwest Houston…

Second fiddle barbecue

Oct 27, 2011 By Daniel Vaughn

The luminaries of Texas barbecue are justly revered—from Lockhart's century old Kreuz Market, to Taylor's estimable Louie Mueller Barbecue to the ever-popular Cooper's Old Time Pit BBQ in Llano. For the BBQ dabbler these names are familiar, but their pitmasters may as well be Hollywood celebrities to the smoked meat enthusiast. There is little more that can be added to their exaltation, but what about those hard working pitmasters whose toils aren’t lit by the same spotlight? Demand is so high for the offerings of the Texas all-stars that most of these towns have a few other joints to serve the hungry locals. These places may put out good, even drive-worthy barbecue, but they are destined to remain in the shadows, always obscured by the thousand-pound gorilla down the block. They are as Scottie Pippen was to Michael Jordan and Andre Agassi to Pete Sampras. But remember, Pippen and Agassi had game. Some of these joints have been recognized for their well-smoked meats, and most are known to the serious BBQ hound (as defined by his or her willingness to eat more than two lunches in a single day), but for average tourist these restaurants will rarely win out over their more famous counterpart in the same town. That’s too bad. My advice is, when BBQ-ing, to always consider multiple (small) meals in quick succession, and to make these particular joints your second or third stop while in any of these hallowed barbecue towns. Chisholm Trail, Lockhart "Starting a barbecue place here was like putting a ballpark across from Yankee Stadium." These are the words of owner Floyd Wilhelm on his decision to open Chisholm Trail Bar-B-Que in Lockhart, home to three legendary joints, Kreuz Market, Smitty’s Market, and Black’s. Wilhelm worked at Black’s before opening the doors here, and over thirty years later his son Daniel does most of the cooking. They do many of the same things their more popular competitors do down the street like making their own succulent beef and pork sausage and smoking their meats in an all wood-fired smoker. They also change things up a bit by offering a wider menu of main courses and a large salad bar. This helps Chisholm Trail stay popular with the locals as evidenced by them winning the title of Best Barbecue in Caldwell County in a reader’s poll conducted by the local paper.

TMBBQFest, “23 Pitmasters in 23 Days:” Taylor Cafe

Oct 23, 2011 By Daniel Vaughn

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 Scott Morales, 45 and Vencil Mares, 87, of Taylor Café in Taylor. For more info, visit their page on TMBBQ.com. As far as your heat source, I assume you guys use all wood there? Scott: Yes. And what kind of wood? Scott: Post Oak Who did you learn your craft from? Did you previously work at another barbeque joint? Scott: I learned the majority from Vencil and then a little bit on my own, just barbecuing on weekends. How about you, Vencil? Vencil: From Southside Market in Elgin, Texas. And at your place do you have a meat that you consider a signature meat? Scott: Probably our turkey sausage. The turkey sausage and pretty much everything’s to die for. The turkey sausage, you guys make that in-house. Do you have another sausage? Scott: Yes. We also make our own beef sausage also. Is that like an Elgin "hot guts" style? Scott: No it’s pretty much a signature of Vencil’s. It’s always been.

BBQ Snob: Dallas Enjoys a BBQ Renaissance

Sep 7, 2011 By Daniel Vaughn

Editor's Note: Daniel Vaughn, writing under the name BBQ Snob, runs the Full Custom Gospel BBQ blog and will also be writing about barbecue for Texas Monthly. This is his first column. Texas barbecue is having a moment. It seems like every time I turned around this summer, another national media outlet was stumbling over itself to name its own best BBQ joint in the state. Most of the adulation, of course, was pointed at Franklin Barbecue, the small Austin joint that has skyrocketed over the past two years from a humble little trailer on the side of I-35 to an eternally overcrowded restaurant that Bon Appétit declared, in July, to be the best BBQ joint in America. The incessant buzz (and incredibly long lines) even prompted a "Hitler reaction" parody, a sure sign that the joint's success has penetrated to the far corners of the popular imagination. But it hasn’t been all Franklin. USA Today bucked the trend by naming the Salt Lick the best of the Central Texas bunch, and CNN sang the praises of City Meat Market in Giddings. You will, by now, have noticed a common denominator. As is usual when the BBQ buzz machine starts running, most of the attention this summer has been on Austin and Central Texas. In the statewide discussion about smoked meats, there is one city whose offerings are routinely dismissed or derided, a city that, to judge from the attention it gets, you wouldn’t even know had any smoked meat within its limits. That city would be Dallas. That the BBQ of Big D has enjoyed little renown for some time is mostly warranted. Until recently, Dallas was afflicted with a smoked meat malaise that allowed subpar barbecue to be praised based on days long passed. As recently as five years ago, the city’s food critics were giving top BBQ nods to the likes of Sonny Bryan’s and Dickey’s—joints that were rightly praised in their decades ago heyday, but which currently don’t even try to compete with the big boys in the state. I am happy to report that change is afoot. In the past two years, almost while no one was looking, a full-fledged barbecue renaissance has taken root in neighborhoods all over Dallas. For the first time since Sonny Bryan was still manning his pits those many decades ago, Big D is making a bid to be taken seriously as a BBQ town. I’ve zeroed in on five restaurants as the torch bearers of this movement, which above all, is marked by a deeply traditional approach. Certain common themes bind these five joints together—they all use wood, not gas, and they all have prominent, thoughtful pitmasters. Their attention to detail and quality has bred a new population of connoisseurs, who, in turn, are raising expectations beyond good sauce and free soft serve.

BBQ
Black’s Barbecue

Nov 11, 2010 By Daniel Vaughn

This was the morning where instead of discovering another great barbecue joint in Texas, Smokemaster1 and I were taking my friend Rob to the heart of barbecue country to find out what all the fuss was about. A stop at Chisholm Trail for excellent sausage and brisket but no…