I have a television show! Well, really it’s just a pilot episode—meaning a network liked the “sizzle reel” enough to pay for one episode, but not enough to order a whole season. It’s called Smokelandia, and if enough of you watch the pilot tonight at 7:30 Central on the Cooking Channel, network executives might just let us make some more episodes.

If you’re curious about why I wanted to make another barbecue show when so many are already on the air, it’s because I wanted to watch a barbecue show about barbecue. We plan to start each episode in the pit room—because we’re focusing on pitmasters and their barbecue process. I’m less interested in standing in a kitchen emptying ramekins of garlic powder and paprika into a bowl, and thankfully the production team at Left/Right agrees. I wanted to be in there sweating along with the pitmasters, burning my hands on smokers, and tasting barbecue fresh from the pit.

It’s still surreal to see my name in the cable lineup as the host of a show, so here’s the synopsis directly from the Cooking Channel:

Texas Monthly BBQ editor Daniel Vaughn travels around the country looking for delicious hidden barbecue gems. While in Texas, he finds truly original hot links that have been served for almost a century near the Louisiana border. Then, he finds a surprisingly delicious pork belly in Connecticut before visiting Sam Jones BBQ in North Carolina for a legendary whole hog.

That’s right, we’re going national. My focus at Texas Monthly has been on Texas barbecue, of course, and there will be plenty of Texas in this show. I started at the oldest family-owned barbecue joint in Texas, Patillo’s Bar-B-Q in Beaumont, for the first episode because it shows viewers outside of Texas just how diverse our barbecue culture is. If the show continues, we’ll include lots of Texas-style barbecue outside of the state. We’ll also feature barbecue traditions of all stripes, like the eastern North Carolina whole hog at Sam Jones BBQ and the upstarts in Connecticut who go by HooDoo Brown.

Regardless of whether the show gets picked up for a full season, I’ll still be on here writing about Texas barbecue joints, barbecue news, and barbecue history. Hopefully I’ll also be able to bring the stories of some of your favorite joints to the small screen. Thanks for watching.

Cooking Channel
June 27 at 7:30 Central