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

Pitmaster Aaron Rejino, of Rejino Barbeque in Olton, was first noticed by barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn back in 2018. Rejino opened the food truck that same year with his wife, Christina, and has been proudly serving his barbecue-loving community ever since.

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

My pops! I loved the aroma, the smoke, and the flavors from a very early age because of him. He would always grill out in the backyard and I would watch. My dad is a huge part of our business, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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

I was blown away with my first “real” barbecue experience at Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland, Texas. I immediately noticed a difference in the oak smoke from the mesquite I grew up around. The flavors were so different from what I was used to. I even tried my first beef rib there. I left there with a newfound love and obsession!

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

We try our very best to create the best barbecue we possibly can. Our message is that you don’t have to be in a big city to have a passion to create great food! Barbecue is special in the way that it has a natural ability to bring people together.

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 am a proud BBQ freak! Traveling has been a little different this past year, but I was able to make it to The Slow Bone in Dallas last July. My two favorite foods are barbecue and fried chicken, so their spot is heaven for me!

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

I ordered the corn soufflé from Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue in Tomball, and it is single-handedly one of the best things I’ve ever eaten! I was surprised with how sweet it was—almost like a dessert—but it is so good.

What’s the best beverage to wash down barbecue?

I personally love an old-school glass bottle of Big Red!

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

A shovel! When you think of barbecue,  you very rarely think of a shovel, but for us, it’s probably the most-used item in our process. It’s essential for fire management.

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

Just keep practicing! There are so many resources available, and don’t be afraid to ask for tips and tricks from people who cook barbecue full time. Most of the time, pitmasters are willing to give away some of their secrets … most of the time.