Mark Scott has brought life and color to the once “desolate landscape for barbecue” he grew up with in Marfa. A former fine-dining chef, Scott has been surprising travelers from all over with his inventive menu items since Convenience West opened at the end of 2017. He earned a spot on our list of top 25 new barbecue joints in 2019.
Tell me about the first person who taught you about barbecue.
I didn’t really have anyone to teach me about barbecue. I’ve worked in kitchens for the last seventeen years and have learned a lot about food from lots of talented people, but I kinda just learned barbecue through trial and error over the last five or so years.
Do you remember a backyard or a barbecue joint that started your barbecue obsession?
Growing up out in Marfa, there was never any barbecue out here. But anytime we would travel east, I knew we would get barbecue! A family favorite as a kid was Lum’s, in Junction, but after my first trip to Lockhart in 2014, it was all over at that point!
What message are you trying to share with your customers through your food?
We want old-school barbecue fans and new-school barbecue fans to have the same great experience. We have all the favorites, but we’re always putting a fun spin on something. But mostly I just want our guests to feel like they are at a backyard barbecue with family and friends while they’re here.
As a professional pitmaster, are you a BBQ Freak just like the rest of us? When is the last time you ate someone else’s barbecue besides your own?
I do love to eat barbecue, probably more than the rest of the crew. Anytime I leave town I’m gonna eat some barbecue! As y’all know, 2020 hasn’t been much of a travel year. But I was able to make a Khói Barbecue pop-up in Houston back in January and a stop by Snow’s BBQ on the way home. Both were just incredible.
What’s the most surprising barbecue dish you’ve eaten?
I had some really great smoked, and then grilled, octopus tacos with a fresh pico de gallo. So good.
What’s the best beverage to wash down barbecue?
Ice-cold Lone Star beer, preferably in a sixteen-ounce can.
What’s a tool you use in cooking that might not seem like an obvious barbecue tool?
I would be one hundred percent lost without my collection of shovels.
What recommendations do you have for someone new to Texas ‘cue?
Take a bite of everything you order before you put barbecue sauce on it. I get the BBQ sauce thing—we make our own, and I eat it sometimes, but it always stings a little bit to see somebody cover their tray with sauce before even trying it! And don’t be afraid to try new things. Nothing’s wrong with just brisket and beans, but there’s so much innovation in Texas barbecue right now. You never know how happy you may find yourself outside of your comfort zone.