This article is part of a series that spotlights Texas pitmasters in their own words, available exclusively to TM BBQ Club members.

Evan LeRoy has been a major player in the Austin barbecue scene for years. But ever since he opened up LeRoy and Lewis in 2017, he’s been pushing the envelope on Central Texas barbecue standards. LeRoy’s “New School Barbecue” style has earned him spots on our lists, including the top 25 new barbecue joints and the best Texas BBQ bites.

Tell me about the first person who taught you about barbecue.

My dad, Gary, was the first person who taught me about barbecue. We cooked ribs in the backyard together when I was growing up, he told me stories about going to the Salt Lick when he was in college, and now we cook together when we have events and still make at least one barbecue competition every year. 

Do you remember a backyard or a barbecue joint that started your barbecue obsession?

Not a specific joint, but barbecue was ever-present growing up in Austin. Every family gathering, holiday, or banquet always had barbecue. 

What message are you trying to share to your customers through your food?

We want to embody new-school barbecue. To us that means sourcing meat locally and ethically while expanding the traditional barbecue menu and preserving the laidback, familial feeling you get at a barbecue joint. 

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?

Yes, yesterday.

What’s the most surprising barbecue dish you’ve eaten?

Ricewood’s barbecue rice bowls in Ann Arbor, Michigan. These guys are making excellent barbecue in a small college town and serving it in a unique way.

What’s the best beverage to wash down barbecue?

1. Big Red

2. Unsweet iced tea

3. Shiner Bock

What’s a tool you use in cooking that might not seem like an obvious barbecue tool?

A handheld mixer, like Grandma had, to shred barbacoa.

What recommendations do you have for someone new to Texas ’cue?

Take every barbecue tip with a grain of salt (and pepper).