Author

Daniel Vaughn

Daniel Vaughn's Profile Photo

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 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…

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…

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…

BBQ |
August 19, 2015

Interview: Lolis Elie

Author: Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country Age: 52 In 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…

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 2008 Age: 50 Smoker: Steel offset smoker and gas-fired rotisserie smoker Wood: Red oak, pecan, apple, and mesquite charcoal Kevin 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…

BBQ |
July 22, 2015

Interview: Evan LeRoy of Freedmen’s Bar

Pitmaster: Freedmen’s Bar; Opened 2012 Age: 29 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Post Oak Even 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.”…

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 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 2000 Age: 64 Smoker: Wood-fired Offset Smoker Wood: Mesquite, Post Oak, and Pecan Bennie 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…

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: 68 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Red Oak and Hickory It 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…

BBQ |
April 8, 2015

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

Owner: Patillo’s Bar-B-Q; Opened 1912 Age: 67 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Hickory, red oak, white oak, and pecan Patillo’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…

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…

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 2009 Age: 45 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Red Oak, Pecan, Hickory, and Mesquite Brooks’ 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,…

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 1988 Age: 76 Smoker: Gas-fired Rotisserie Smoker Wood: Oak I 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…

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…

BBQ |
December 17, 2014

Interview: Chris Manning of Smokey Joe’s BBQ

Chris Manning, Siretha Davis, and Earl Harris Owner: Smokey Joe’s BBQ; Opened 1985 Age: 24 Smoker: Wood-fired Brick Smoker Wood: Hickory Thirty 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…

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) Mumphord Co-Owner/ Pitmaster: Mumphord’s Place; Opened 2000 Age: 57 Smoker: Direct heat steel pit Wood: Mesquite and Oak When 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.

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 1974 Age: 69 Smoker: Wood-fired Offset Smoker Wood: Oak, Mesquite, and Pecan Louis 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…

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 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…