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Daniel Vaughn is the author of The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue, the coauthor of Whole Hog BBQ: The Gospel of Carolina Barbecue, and the barbecue editor at Texas Monthly. He has traveled the world sampling smoked meats at over 1,800 barbecue joints, most of which are in Texas.

BBQ |
September 8, 2016

Sonny Bryan’s 24/7

The headlights from a Chrysler 300 beamed through the window and into the historic dining room of Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse in Dallas. It was after midnight, and the driver was waiting for his seemingly inebriated (or maybe balance-impaired) passenger to get back with a couple chopped brisket sandwiches. I had just ordered ribs

BBQ |
August 30, 2016

“Barbecue” is for Squares

I have a Twitter follower who, for a while, enjoyed pointing out when a barbecue joint spelled their name “incorrectly.” Presumably, “Barbecue” and “BBQ” were acceptable, but not “Barbeque,” “Bar-B-Q,” or its slight variation “Bar-B-Que.” He’s not alone. The AP Stylebook, generally used by journalists, doesn’t like those alternate spellings either,

BBQ |
August 22, 2016

Evan LeRoy Leaving Freedmen’s Bar

Talented pitmaster Evan LeRoy has left his position at Freedmen’s Bar in Austin. He’s planning a place of his own, but details are still vague. LeRoy told me over the phone that he hoped to have something open in the Austin area within

BBQ |
August 8, 2016

A Eulogy for the Barbecue Joint

Barbecue joints aren’t simply born. It takes time to develop into one. A barbecue joint is a worn-in stool at a counter smoothed over by time. It’s a soot-stained ceiling, a broken-in barbecue pit, a menu with prices scratched out, and a bigger smile when you use cash. A barbecue joint evokes

BBQ Joint Reviews |
July 1, 2016

Top 5 BBQ

Four years ago, Davetta Greene bought a used barbecue pit for $40. It was a gift for her husband, Kendon. After fried pork chops caused two separate fires in their home kitchen, she thought it was time he moved his cooking outside. He didn’t take to the pitmaster role immediately. “It was

BBQ Joint Reviews |
June 24, 2016

Pat Gee’s Barbecue

The hand-painted wooden sign reads “Pat’s Barbecue,” but everybody calls it Pat Gee’s after its late founder, Mack Henry “Pat” Gee, who opened this barbecue shack east of Tyler, deep in the piney woods, sometime around 1963. Pat, his wife Vida, and their seven children lived just up the hill

BBQ |
June 17, 2016

Eugene “Hot Sauce” Williams

The contributions of African Americans to our country’s barbecue culture are often overlooked. The influences can be hard to trace, which make it tempting to ignore them. Throughout Texas and the rest of the country, records of black barbecue culture are either gone or never existed in the first place. Most newspapers and magazines were

BBQ Recipes |
June 13, 2016

Raise Your Steak Game

If you’ve never heard of the reverse sear, then the best steak of your life is still in your future. Ever since I first used the reverse sear method, I haven’t cooked a steak any other way. It’s that good. And simple.What is a reverse sear? The name sounds a little odd,

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 24, 2016

The Salt Lick: An Appreciation

The image above is probably the most well-known in Texas barbecue. A photo of, or with, the iconic pit at the Salt Lick is on par with braking for our state’s bluebonnets along the highway. This particular photo fetched me nearly 3,000 likes on Instagram. My best image of a Franklin

BBQ Recipes |
May 16, 2016

Tootsie Tomanetz’s Pork Steak

Tootsie Tomanetz has been cooking barbecue for fifty years, an art she didn’t start practicing professionally until she was in her thirties. When she began her career in Giddings, offset smokers weren’t nearly as popular as they are today. Then, barbecue was cooked directly over wood coals, and that’s the

BBQ |
May 9, 2016

Smoked in Texas: Stuffed Potato at Smoke to the Bone BBQ

Gregory Johns didn’t learn to cook barbecue from his family, books, videos, or from a mentor. He taught himself through trial-and-error. As he told me, “You burn some meat, you get it right next time.” His journey began in 1998 when he purchased a steel barrel smoker. Eight years later, Johns

BBQ |
May 3, 2016

Interview: Dwight Harvey of Off The Bone Barbeque

Owner/Pitmaster: Off the Bone Barbeque; Opened 2009Age: 70Smoker: Wood-Fired Rotisserie SmokerWood: Pecan and MesquiteOff the Bone was once a tiny joint in a neighborhood without much of an identity. Since it opened seven years ago, The Cedars has grown into a destination, and the barbecue joint has grown with

BBQ |
April 21, 2016

BBQ News: 04/15 – 04/21

– “If there was a state meat, surely it would be brisket.”: – The Dallas Observer wades into the barbecue sauce or no sauce debate.– Conde Nast Traveler has chosen their list of the fifteen best barbecue cities in the country.– Luke Russert is wrong on

BBQ Recipes |
March 28, 2016

The Rib Sandwich

Perhaps you’ve seen it on a menu and have been too embarrassed to ask if what you’re ordering is a sandwich full of bones. That’s understandable. “Rib sandwich” does sound like a dental episode waiting to happen, and while yes, it does have bones, it’s often the best deal at a Texas

BBQ Joint Reviews |
March 25, 2016

Back Home BBQ

Just a few months after opening in early 2015, Dallas’s Back Home BBQ pulled a barbecue mulligan: They shut it down. The already renovated Chinese restaurant got re-renovated. A new patio and sign were installed, and the menu was overhauled. When it reopened last November, pitmaster Carl Anderson began cooking with

BBQ |
March 21, 2016

Jon Flaming: Barbecue Artist

Jon Flaming is an artist based in Dallas with a love for Texas barbecue. His past work has focused on small-town Texas as well as the oil and gas boom in the state, but he has now shifted his focus to the

BBQ Joint Reviews |
January 22, 2016

Tejas Chocolate Craftory

Scott Moore wanted to make tequila, but you can only call it “tequila” if it’s made in Mexico, and there is already plenty of competition on the store shelves. So he settled for chocolate. The availability of good chocolate was a different story in 2011 when Moore and his partner, Michelle Holland,

BBQ Joint Reviews |
January 18, 2016

Church BBQ

Out in the Piney Woods of East Texas, a legendary barbecue joint run by the New Zion Missionary Baptist Church has been dishing out classic East Texas-style barbecue since the seventies. Some refer to it as New Zion, after the church it supports next door. Tthers call it “The Church of the

BBQ |
January 6, 2016

Barbecue Crossfire

The nation is talking about Texas’s new open carry policy, and two pistol-packing pitmasters are grabbing headlines for their opposing views. Trent Brooks, of Brooks Place BBQ, welcomes open carriers to his Cypress barbecue trailer, and in fact offers a ten percent discount for anyone showing off

BBQ Recipes |
December 22, 2015

Smoked Fried Turkey

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 Joint Reviews |
December 18, 2015

The Big Bib BBQ

There’s no sign over the door—at least not for now—but somehow that doesn’t seem to matter. The Big Bib BBQ and its new attached event space anchor the corner of an aging strip center along Austin Highway in northeast San Antonio. It’s under construction, and the awnings are being replaced, but

BBQ Recipes |
December 16, 2015

Make a Christmas Ham

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 |
December 8, 2015

In the Land of Links

Hitting the barbecue trail in Texas is something of a weekend sport. Plenty of people create their own routes, but one of the more official itineraries—the Texas Barbecue Trail, which takes you from Taylor to Elgin, Lockhart, and finally through Luling—is enormously popular. As the name suggests it’s a great

BBQ |
December 1, 2015

The Many Briskets of Texas

Not all briskets are created equal. That much is obvious to anyone who’s had a great one—or a bad one. Those experiences are easy to contrast, but what about when it’s not a question of good or bad? When it’s a matter of simply being different?I was struck by the variety in

BBQ |
November 24, 2015

The Best Turkey in Texas

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 Recipes |
November 20, 2015

Cracking the Cracklin’ Code

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 |
November 3, 2015

Grease Balls of Southeast Texas

This feature was originally published in the Fall 2015 issue of Gravy, the quarterly magazine from the Southern Foodways Alliance.Patillo’s Bar-B-Q in Beaumont, Texas, is the fourth-oldest barbecue joint in the state. You’ve probably never heard of it. Its founder, Jack Pat(t)illo, is believed to be a

BBQ Joint Reviews |
October 26, 2015

Winners BBQ

De’Andre Jackson never thought he’d be cooking barbecue for a living. As a football star out of Garland, he started for the Big 12’s Iowa State. Entering his senior year, some had him graded as the third best cornerback in college. An ACL-tear toward the end of the season kept

BBQ Joint Reviews |
August 21, 2015

Southern Q BBQ

There’s a little red building with yellow trim along Kuykendahl Road on the north side of Houston. The fresh coat of paint is hard not to notice even while speeding along, and inside is some of the city’s best and most thoughtful barbecue.For Steve and Sherice Garner, this building has been a long

BBQ |
August 19, 2015

Interview: Lolis Elie

Author: Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue CountryAge: 52In the mid-nineties, Lolis Elie and photographer Frank Stewart travelled around the country eating barbecue for the book Smokestack Lightning. There aren’t many books as influential to my writing about barbecue than

BBQ |
August 7, 2015

A Few More Influential Pitmasters

Last week I had the honor of being included in a list amongst a group of barbecue folks who I greatly admire. The list was entitled America’s Most Influential BBQ Pitmasters and Personalities. Those listed, at least the top ten, were all very deserving of recognition.

BBQ |
August 5, 2015

Interview: Kevin Bludso of Bludso’s BBQ

Owner/Pitmaster: Bludso’s BBQ; Opened 2008Age: 50Smoker: Steel offset smoker and gas-fired rotisserie smokerWood: Red oak, pecan, apple, and mesquite charcoalKevin Bludso’s roots are in Compton, but he earned his barbecue chops in Corsicana, Texas. His great aunt, Willie Mae Fields, ran a semi-legal barbecue business at a local gas