Jason Cohen

Author's Profile Photo

Writer-at-large and former senior editor Jason Cohen has written for Texas Monthly since 1995 (and texasmonthly.com since its very first iteration). His 1997 story “The Ice Bats Cometh,” about minor league hockey in Texas, was the basis of his book Zamboni Rodeo (Greystone Press, 2001). He also penned the magazine's first-ever Matthew McConaughey story, in August 1996. The co-author of Generation Ecch! (Fireside Books, 1994) and co-editor of SXSW Scrapbook (Essex/University of Texas Press, 2011), he has also written for such publications as Rolling Stone, SPIN, Details, the Austin Chronicle, the Austin American-Statesman, Portland Monthly, and Cincinnati magazine. His 1995 Rolling Stone cover story on the band Hole prompted Courtney Love to yell at him from the stage at Lollapalooza in Austin, while his 2007 profile of the Portland strip club Mary's won a Sex-Positive Journalism Award. As one of the two primary writers for the TM Daily Post, Cohen wrote approximately 500 stories for Texas Monthly in 2012. He has been a blogger since 2002 and been known to maintain as many as five Twitter accounts.

Articles by Jason Cohen

Meet Ron Paul!

Nov 16, 2011 By Jason Cohen

Buoyed by a strong showing in two polls, the "other" Texas presidential candidate finally catches the eye of the Perry-fatigued media.

Remember the Alamo, It’s “Top Chef: Texas” Time, Y’all!

Nov 2, 2011 By Jason Cohen

Virginia Sherwood, Bravo We heard the rumors that the show was coming (and that producers tried to shut down tweets about it). We've read about the state tax breaks and the lawsuit and the omission of our biggest (and completely food-rich) city, Houston. Now the day is finally here: Top Chef: Texas, the ninth season of the cooking competition show, premieres tonight. All the episodes will take place in Austin, Dallas or San Antonio; Paul Qui of Austin's Uchiko and Andrew Curran of Austin's 24 Diner are among the 29 "cheftestants." "Everything is bigger in Texas," writes TV Guide. "And that includes Top Chef." It also includes all the Texas cliches that we'll be seeing on the show ("Saddle Up," says one of Bravo.com's pop-up ads) and in the coverage of it. The premiere (and eight of the season's 14 episodes) takes place in San Antonio, which, as the Express-News' Jennifer McInnis notes, anted up $200,000 to the show's producers via its Convention and Visitor's Bureau (the state provided twice that). Give the producers points for wit, however: the season will feature Pee Wee Herman, whose Pee Wee's Big Adventure took him to the Alamo, as a guest judge. And that particular setting is probably appropriate given that the 29 competitors will shrink to 16 by the end of next week's episode. "It's going to be quite a slaughter there," says Eater Austin, while the Los Angeles Times compared the rapid cut-down to "[Rick] Perry and his state’s tough stance on final justice."

TMBBQFest Twitter Contest Winners

Nov 1, 2011 By Jason Cohen

"Eye of a Barbecue Needle": @hedrives at Louie Mueller, by @psedillo (First place) Allow us to awaken from our meat coma for long enough to finally unveil the winners of our three #TMBBQFest Twitter contests.  As you can already see, that is our first-place photo above. And  in the category of "odes" to BBQ (by tweet), we give you: FIRST PLACE Lockhart, Luling and Taylor, TX for wknd road trips. A Texan that eats a McRib should have his citizenship revoked - @chilicook SECOND PLACE Memphis Carolina KC I have tasted all three But when I must have the best There is no contest Its Texas BBQ for me - @honchotyler THIRD PLACE A true TX bbq aficionado loves a good vegetarian as well. Especially when that vegetarian goes 'oink' or 'moo'. - @ehguerrero "Son eating rib" by @BigPhil32 (Second place) And now, the BBQ Haiku contest. This one was fiercely contested, so keep reading after the jump for both the winners and some honorable mentions (as well as photo #3). Each of the winners received either Wyatt McSpadden's handsome hardcover volume Texas BBQ, a TMBBQ Festival t-shirt or one of Dirk Fowler's festival posters.

TMBBQFest: Dirk Fowler’s Posters

Oct 27, 2011 By Jason Cohen

While there isn’t one that features sausage, we’re still perfectly comfortable (and proud) to call these posters by Lubbock artist Dirk Fowler a Holy Trinity. A regular TEXAS MONTHLY contributor, Fowler came up with the motif when he saw the iPhone icon for our…

Trailer Thursday: Fryin’ It Old School at Austin’s Izzoz Tacos

Oct 6, 2011 By Jason Cohen

When you think "BBQ in Lockhart," you think Kreuz & Smitty's - but a lot of people swear by Black's. And when you think "taco trailer on South 1st St.," you think Torchy's - but there's also Izzoz Tacos, which opened in December of 2008 in the same parking lot that the first Torchy's used to be in. Izzoz has since moved its 42-foot trailer (bigger than some restaurant kitchens!) farther south, down to the corner of W. Monroe. But it's all still one big taco neighborhood. "A lot of people said 'you’re f’in crazy - why would you open up a taco trailer right across from Torchy's?,'" says Izzoz manager Adam Winters. "But we felt like we could compete. Other than the fried "avo," [avocado],  I don’t know if there’s too many similarities between our tacos and theirs." Now run by Winters and his wife, Jessica Galindo-Winters, Izzoz was originally started by Jessica's brother John Galindo, a professional chef whose resume includes stints at Wimberley's Cedar Grove Steakhouse, North at the Domain and Red House Pizzeria (he's now working for Texas A&M, having recently relocated to College Station with his girlfriend). The Galindo family's history with food in Austin goes back 50 years. They ran a restaurant called Casa Loma at E. 7th St. and Lydia; more recently they had a place of the same name in Wimberley.

Photo Preview: John Mueller’s JMueller BBQ Is (Finally!) Almost (Really!) Here

Oct 6, 2011 By Jason Cohen

It's been a long time in the making (a VERY long time in the making): John Mueller, sometimes called the black sheep of the Taylor smoked meat family, is almost back in business here in Austin. Mueller, who used to have a legendary place on Manor Rd. (and famously sold his smoker to Aaron Franklin), has a new trailer at 1501 South 1st St., and the fire has been lit. Visit his web site or follow @jmuellerbbq on Twitter for upcoming details (and while you're at it, follow us). The Smoker "Burning Out" Ribs to Prepare Smoker

Ten Years After: Tom Perini’s 9/11 at the White House

Sep 9, 2011 By Jason Cohen

(The famous Perini Ranch mesquite-smoked peppered beef tenderloin. Photo by Pat Sharpe) Editor's Note: This guest post is by longtime Texan Jim Shahin, now a resident of Washington, D.C.... and "craving Central Texas barbecue almost every minute of every day," he says. The "Smoke Signals" columnist for the Washingon Post, Shahin was also a contributor to our 1997 barbecue Top 50. Ten years ago this month, Tom Perini arrived in Washington D.C., from his ranch in Buffalo Gap, Texas, proud to be catering the annual Congressional Picnic at the White House. The event was a huge deal for the Texas cowboy who started his career in 1973 as a chuck wagon cook for hungry ranch hands. In 1983, he had opened Perini Ranch Steakhouse, which developed a reputation for excellence far beyond Buffalo Gap, a town of about 400 outside Abilene. Academy Award-winner Robert Duvall had found his way to the remote restaurant, as had Billy Bob Thornton, who told Men’s Journal that Perini’s smoked brisket was the best he ever ate. Perini’s culinary fame eventually reached the Texas governor’s mansion, where he regularly catered barbecues for George W. Bush. “When he ran for president, I remember fantasizing about cooking at the White House,” recalls Perini. In May 2001, he got his chance when President Bush asked Perini to cater the 2001 Congressional Picnic in the fall. The gala would be a Texas-themed, and Texas-sized, party that would feature country music’s Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel. In June, Perini arrived in Washington to work out details with White House chefs. “I told them we were going to have bread pudding, green chile hominy, Southern green beans and beef tenderloin,” Perini, 68, recalls. “And the chef from the White House said, ‘You’re in Washington, and you have to cook chicken.’ I said, ‘I’m sorry, but I’m not serving chicken.’ “The room got real quiet. ‘When you are serving a Texas chuck wagon meal, you serve beef.’ I said, ‘If you want another meat, I’ll do catfish.’” After some discussion, and a later conversation with the president himself, the entrees were set: mesquite-smoked peppered tenderloin and fried catfish.

Trailer Thursday: Dogello’s Chili Dogs and Cuban Iced Coffee

Sep 1, 2011 By Jason Cohen

It wasn't chili dogs that brought me to Dogello's on yet another 105-degree day in Austin. It was coffee ice cubes. Joe Holland's trailer in the parking lot of Freewheeling Bicycles was formerly The Good Bike coffee stand, so when he opened up in January, he kept serving their signature Cuban coffee for existing customers. Hot or iced, he now makes it with Third Coast Italian espresso and cane sugar, French pressed all together and then mixed with 2% milk. I don't take sugar in my coffee ever, so I found it a bit sweet, in a dessertish Frappucino/Thai iced coffee sort of way. Fortunately, regular unsweetened coffee's also on the menu. The coffee ice cubes not only keep the drink at full flavor and strength, but melt more slowly. "Over time it turns into almost like a slushy for adults," says Holland. A Los Angeles native, the 47 year-old Holland has lived in Austin since 1999, working for various software and e-commerce start-ups. When his last job ended in November, he finally said, "I’m going to do this thing which surprisingly has been my dream." That dream: to make the perfect chili for the perfect chili dog, inspired by his favorite LA franchise Cupid's, which has been around since 1946

Being a Homesick Texan

Aug 31, 2011 By Jason Cohen

Lisa Fain on arguing with people about why Texas chili is superior to all others, serving chicken-fried steak to some New York friends, and starting to think that maybe her blog was more than a hobby. 

High on the (Whole) Hog

Aug 9, 2011 By Jason Cohen

Photograph by Jody Horton The bad news. Texas has a feral hog problem, with an estimated 2.6 million-plus animals roaming in destructive packs around our ranchland, woods and suburbs. The good news. They’re delicious. If you still haven’t picked up our August issue, check out…

Successful Formula?

Jul 31, 2011 By Jason Cohen

Even in this year of massive budget cuts, Texas will likely spend $25 million to help bring a Formula One race to a newly constructed track in Austin’s backyard. Why?

Is That a Brisket in Your Pocket?… Sam’s Bar-B-Que and Other Austin Restaurants Charged With Buying Stolen Meat

Jul 29, 2011 By Jason Cohen

Photo by Brian Birzer MEATLIFTING. It's nothing new. The 2010 arrest of Austin's Ronnie Allen Brock provided Texas Monthly with one of our trademark never-ending punny Bum Steer headlines (as if "Bum Steer" itself wasn't enough). But meat fencing? With an undercover sting called "Operation Meat Locker" to catch local restaurants buying cowntraband? (Sorry.) It sounds like something out of Adult Swim's new procedural parody NTSF:SD:SUV. But it happened yesterday in Austin, with East Side institution Sam's Bar-B-Que getting nailed. Also charged was Willie's Bar-B-Que and the Mexican restaurant La Morenita. KUT appears to have been first to post the story: