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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 |
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

BBQ |
July 22, 2015

Interview: Evan LeRoy of Freedmen’s Bar

Pitmaster: Freedmen’s Bar; Opened 2012Age: 29Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired PitWood: Post OakEven at his young age, Evan LeRoy doesn’t want for confidence. He once told viewers of American Grilled, a cooking show he was competing on, that “I can cook anything to perfection on any grill.” It was a bit

BBQ Joint Reviews |
July 17, 2015

Smokey Denmark’s Smoked Meat

Smokey Denmark’s has been known for making sausage in Austin for decades. Even up in North Texas, if you ask a barbecue joint where their hot links are from you’ll likely hear “Smokey Denmark.” While they have a storefront at their facility on East Fifth Street,

BBQ Joint Reviews |
July 10, 2015

Jackson Street BBQ

It’s big, it’s bright red, and Jackson Street BBQ is a great new option for Texas barbecue in downtown Houston. Opened earlier this year, it’s a joint venture between Houston chef Bryan Caswell and local pitmaster Greg Gatlin. The two joined forces on a menu with plenty of variety, and

BBQ |
July 8, 2015

How the East Was Won

TMBBQ welcomes guest writer Megan Giller who takes us to Japan for some Texas barbecue. Craig White. Photo from White Smoke’s Facebook page.Craig White is a Texan. He’s a pitmaster and an expert in smoked meats, and like many of his breed he can be secretive. White

BBQ |
July 6, 2015

Franklin for President

With all the candidates thus far who have entered the 2016 run for president, the logos and mottos abound. Our new crop of Texas Monthly interns figured that none of the candidates matched the qualifications of one Aaron Franklin, proprietor of Austin’s Franklin Barbecue, so they made some alterations to the

BBQ Joint Reviews |
June 26, 2015

The Sausage Shoppe

It was twenty years ago that Ivy Chambers moved his budding sausage business out of his home and into a bona fide restaurant in Fort Worth. Over the years he added more barbecue items to the menu – brisket, ribs, bologna – and continued to operate the business until handing

BBQ |
June 24, 2015

Interview: Bennie Washington of Whup’s Boomerang Bar-B-Q

Owner/Pitmaster: Whup’s Boomerang Bar-B-Q; Opened 2000Age: 64Smoker: Wood-fired Offset SmokerWood: Mesquite, Post Oak, and PecanBennie Washington’s business may only be fifteen years old, but his barbecue experience goes back four decades. As a delivery truck driver for Pepsi, barbecue was a hobby, then a short-lived foray as a professional in

BBQ |
May 18, 2015

All the Sausages

Making sausage ain’t easy. There’s the trimming, grinding, seasoning, stuffing, and then the smoking. For barbecue joints, buying a few boxes of cheap sausage from your food distributor is a tempting prospect when compared to the hours required to make your own. But Texas is a place where smoked sausages are a

BBQ |
April 21, 2015

Try the Smoked Chicken

We love our beef in Texas, and historically, the rest of the nation did too. According to numbers from the USDA, beef and pork battled for protein supremacy until about 1950, when beef took a clear lead for the next six decades. Today, with falling beef consumption and the surging popularity

BBQ |
April 15, 2015

Interview: George Mahathay of Billy’s Old Fashion BBQ

Owner/Pitmaster: Billy’s Old Fashion BBQ; Opened 1986 (estimated)Age: 68Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired PitWood: Red Oak and HickoryIt seems that everybody who drives by Billy’s Old Fashion BBQ in Jasper honks and waves. George “Billy” Mahathay is a popular man, almost as popular as his barbecue. He told me jokingly that

BBQ |
April 8, 2015

Interview: Robert Patillo of Patillo’s Bar-B-Q

Owner: Patillo’s Bar-B-Q; Opened 1912Age: 67Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired PitWood: Hickory, red oak, white oak, and pecanPatillo’s Bar-B-Q has been operating in Beaumont since 1912. It has moved around a lot in the past 100 years, but it’s always been in the family. That makes it the oldest family owned barbecue establishment in

BBQ |
April 7, 2015

A Brisket Tour in Southeast Texas

Bad brisket is nothing new on the barbecue trail, but there are some days when you just can’t catch a break—or, as was the case for me recently, two consecutive days where I searched high and low for a good slice of smoked beef in Beaumont and Southeast Texas.It began in

BBQ Joint Reviews |
March 20, 2015

Gerard’s Barbecue

George Gerard didn’t have much time for adjustment to running a barbecue joint. He had planned to leave behind the family business for a life as an electrician in Austin, but his parents pleaded with him to come back home to Beaumont. He relented and a short time later, his

BBQ |
March 18, 2015

Interview: Trent Brooks of Brooks’ Place

Owner/Pitmaster: Brooks’ Place; Opened 2009Age: 45Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired PitWood: Red Oak, Pecan, Hickory, and MesquiteBrooks’ Place isn’t exactly easy to get to, but that’s part of its charm. Cypress is at least a thirty minute drive from downtown Houston. It’s a destination, and those in line

BBQ Joint Reviews |
March 6, 2015

Off the Bone Barbeque

It’s not exactly new, it’s not flashy, and it’s not dogmatic about the barbecue style it serves, but Off the Bone Barbeque in Dallas’s Cedars neighborhood is just good. Dwight Harvey has run this joint in a converted gas station with his son Steven since 2008. It was a scheme to

BBQ |
March 4, 2015

Interview: James Davis of Davis Meat Market

Owner/Pitmaster: Davis Meat Market; Opened 1988Age: 76Smoker: Gas-fired Rotisserie SmokerWood: OakI rang a buzzer outside this bright red metal building in Houston’s Fifth Ward, and owner James Davis met me at the door. As soon as I stepped inside the smell of raw meat was present, but not

BBQ |
March 3, 2015

The Year of Alabama Barbecue

If you follow barbecue news (and I’m going to assume you do if you read TMBBQ.com), you’re going to hear a lot more about barbecue in Alabama in the coming months. Or at least that’s the goal of the Alabama Tourism Department, which launched its Year of Alabama

BBQ |
January 13, 2015

Houston Wright, a Butcher

Houston Wright cut meat, made sausage, and cooked barbecue at Kreuz Market in Lockhart for sixty years. He was tying sausage there before the brick building that housed the market (and is now home to Smitty’s Market) was built in 1924. He was deaf and mute by then—former Kreuz Market

BBQ Joint Reviews |
January 9, 2015

Hickory Hill BBQ

It was a phone call that brought me back out to Hickory Hill BBQ. It sits along a stretch of State Highway 31, right on the western edge of the East Texas pine curtain. I’d driven by it a few times, but always found it closed, then owner Kerry Shaw

BBQ |
December 18, 2014

BBQ News: 12/12 – 12/18

– 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 that they starting serving

BBQ |
December 17, 2014

Interview: Chris Manning of Smokey Joe’s BBQ

Chris Manning, Siretha Davis, and Earl HarrisOwner: Smokey Joe’s BBQ; Opened 1985Age: 24Smoker: Wood-fired Brick SmokerWood: HickoryThirty years is a long time to keep a barbecue joint going, but Chris Manning wasn’t even born when Smokey Joe’s opened in 1985. The twenty-four year old swore he wouldn’t work in the

BBQ |
December 16, 2014

The Hardeman Family’s Barbecue Legacy

In a Dallas city directory from 1948, there is a listing for Hardeman’s Barbecue. In fact there were two at the time, both of which were located in what was known as Freedman’s Town. It was a segregated African-American neighborhood just north of downtown in what

BBQ |
December 10, 2014

Interview: Ricky Mumphord of Mumphord’s Place

Keith (left) and Ricky (right) MumphordCo-Owner/ Pitmaster: Mumphord’s Place; Opened 2000Age: 57Smoker: Direct heat steel pitWood: Mesquite and OakWhen your family came through Indianola, Texas, which suffered two hurricanes and was essentially abandoned by 1887, you know the family’s been around a while. That’s where the Mumphord’s landed

BBQ Joint Reviews |
December 5, 2014

Triple J’s Smokehouse

The smokers were everywhere. Co-owner Rhonda Scales had led me through a swinging door into the kitchen where a hulking rotisserie pit was churning with tomorrow’s briskets. “We use all oak,” she told me as we walked out the back door. Split oak logs were piled around two more trailer-mounted

BBQ |
December 3, 2014

Interview: Louis McMillan of McMillan’s Bar-B-Q

Owner/Pitmaster: McMillan’s Bar-B-Q; Opened 1974Age: 69Smoker: Wood-fired Offset SmokerWood: Oak, Mesquite, and PecanLouis McMillan wasn’t happy, and I knew he wouldn’t be. I was in his restaurant to interview him because he’d been honored as one of Texas Monthly’s Top 50 BBQ joints, but we had a longer history. While

BBQ |
December 2, 2014

All About the Sauce

Conventional wisdom holds that traditional Texas barbecue doesn’t need to be sauced. That Texans have an aversion to the stuff. Case in point? A recent primer on national barbecue styles in America on Eater noted that “while the rest of the nation is busy making barbecue sauces, many

BBQ |
November 26, 2014

Texas Treasures

The popularity of Texas barbecue—and specifically Texas-style smoked brisket—has launched a frenzy of new activity. New joints pop up all the time, and relatively new pitmasters are hailed as masters of craft. Many of these places and people are deserving of considerable attention and high praise, but we shouldn’t lose sight of what

BBQ |
November 11, 2014

The Importance of Resting

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

BBQ |
October 8, 2014

Interview: Leon O’Neal of Leon’s World’s Finest In & Out Bar-B-Que

Owner/Pitmaster: Leon’s World’s Finest In & Out Bar-B-Que; Opened 1987Age: 74Smoker: Wood-fired Rotisserie SmokerWood: Post OakLeon O’Neal didn’t get into the barbecue business until he was forty-five years old, but he’s managed to be successful in Galveston for nearly three decades in a converted house that once contained

BBQ Joint Reviews |
October 3, 2014

Florida’s Kitchen

It’s just a mile or so off 190, the state highway that runs through Livingston, but Florida’s Kitchen feels like it’s way out in the country. I passed it on my way to visit Hitch-N-Post BBQ, a Texas Monthly top 5o barbecue joint, just another mile

BBQ |
September 16, 2014

Wet, Dry, and Rubbed All Over

“There is no one definitive way to make Memphis barbecue.” So says Craig David Meek, author of Memphis Barbecue: A Succulent History of Smoke, Sauce & Soul. After a four day tour through the River City, I must agree with him.Those who

BBQ |
September 10, 2014

Interview: Jimmy Harris of David’s Barbecue

Owner/Pitmaster: David’s Barbecue; Opened 1988Age: 49Smoker: Wood-fired Rotisserie SmokerWood: HickoryJimmy Harris doesn’t have much time for barbecue reviewers. “The real judge is that cash register.” And it hasn’t let him down for over two decades since he and his dad opened the

BBQ |
September 9, 2014

The Bryan Barbecue Empire

If you’ve eaten barbecue in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, there’s a good chance you’ve eaten it at Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse. For more than a century, four generations of Bryans have operated barbecue restaurants, eventually creating a national franchise that’s now nine strong (eight in DFW and one in Utah). Their saturation in the market

BBQ |
September 8, 2014

Bryan Family Artifacts and Mementos

This week on TMBBQ we’ll take a look at the Bryan family’s barbecue legacy. From Elias, to Red, to Sonny Bryan and beyond, the Dallas roots of this family tree run deep, but the branches extend well beyond Texas.With so much family history, there are plenty of artifacts and mementos that I’ve

BBQ |
July 29, 2014

The Lowest and Slowest, Part I

Smoking brisket takes time—sixteen, eighteen, even twenty hours. These cooking times get thrown around with a little pride, but none of the braggarts can top the hours a brisket spends in the smoker at Clark’s Outpost in Tioga. I’m talking more time in the smoker than Jesus spent in the tomb. It takes

BBQ |
July 28, 2014

BBQ Signs Gone By

Barbecue joints come and go, and they usually take their signs with them. Some linger. They either cling to our memory or remain attached to the building that no longer serves as their home, becoming ghosts of the past. A few have become revered – their images shared with the

BBQ |
July 14, 2014

A Tour of Houston Sausages

As one third of the Texas barbecue trinity, smoked sausage has important stature in Texas. Central Texas has its beef sausages, East Texas has got hot links, and you’ll find plenty of smoked boudin along the Louisiana border. In Houston, they have it all as J.C. Reid and Michael Fulmer

BBQ |
July 9, 2014

Interview: Greg Gatlin of Gatlin’s BBQ

Photo by Nicholas McWhirterOwner/Pitmaster: Gatlin’s BBQ; Opened 2010Age: 34Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired PitWood: HickoryGreg Gatlin went from breaking up pass plays as a member of the Rice Owls to the world of corporate real estate, but he always knew he wanted to

BBQ Joint Reviews |
June 17, 2014

Brown’s Bar-B-Que

Brown’s Bar-B-Que has one of the best briskets in Austin, and one of the best side items in Texas. When I visited a year ago (at their previous location) I found the brisket to be the weak link, but no longer. Pitmaster Daniel Brown has found the sweet spot in his

BBQ |
June 13, 2014

Whole Hog

During the nineteenth century public barbecues in Texas, you were likely to find a whole calf, goat, or lamb roasting for the crowd. But it was more likely that you’d find a whole hog. Hogs were prevalent in the eastern part of the state, which made them easier to come by,