Feature

Everybody Line Up

Oct 25, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

“Line are overrated.” This is the conclusion of economist Tyler Cowen in a recent article where he shared some of his principles for finding good restaurants. For Cowen, standing in line is a conformist activity, and the presence of a line is a not a good indicator of the…

Finding Common Ground

Oct 18, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

Texas is a beef barbecue state; in North Carolina they prefer pork. This isn’t news to most of you, but it may surprise some Texans to hear that people outside of the state our signature smoked brisket doesn’t meet the very definition of barbecue. A plate of…

There Is Bad Barbecue

Oct 11, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

Regular readers know that I review a barbecue joint every week. I highlight places that have an interesting story, or that serve one particularly good barbecue item, and when I can, I review new joints. As I travel around the state I usually have a few targets on…

Barbecue on the Big Screen

Oct 4, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

There’s a scene toward the end of Smokey and the Bandit where a truck driver has just purposely torn the door off of Buford T. Justice’s already roof-less car with the bumper of his big rig. Sheriff Justice goes off on a tirade directed at the disappearing rig that ends…

Feasting On PDX

Sep 27, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

Feast Portland, an enormous four day culinary event, was held this past weekend in Portland, Oregon. The main purpose of the event was to highlight the bounty of culinary talent in the area and to showcase food producers from the Northwest. The organizers certainly met their goal.

Fast Food BBQ

Sep 20, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

If Alanis Morissette re-wrote her hit song “Ironic” today, she might include a line about buying an Arby’s smoked brisket sandwich in the middle of Texas, a state with just shy of two thousand barbecue joints that serve sandwiches stuffed with smoked meat. It’s like putting one of those Wonder…

What IS Barbecue?

Sep 13, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

“Barbecue isn’t supposed to taste like smoke. Real barbecue is cooked in a traditional open pit, not in a smoker.” You may expect to hear these words from a North Carolina barbecue zealot who believes that cooking a whole hog over direct heat is the only permissible definition of barbecue.

Barbecue with a Free Side of…

Sep 6, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

Free beer. There isn’t much that sounds more enticing when you’re standing in a long line in the hot sun waiting for the perfect beef rib. It’s just one of the gratis items that barbecue joints across the state are offering alongside their smoked meat. In Louisiana that little something…

BBQ Anatomy 101: Pork Ribs

Aug 30, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

The Texas Trinity combo plate—beef, ribs, and sausage—is probably the most commonly served dish at Texas barbecue joints, and usually, the beef brisket gets all the glory. But we should shine a little more light on pork ribs, which are often a joint’s better tasting meat (it’s difficult to perfectly…

Take a Ride With Me to Tennessee

Aug 23, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

It was pouring outside for the third day in a row. “We’re not in Texas anymore,” I thought to myself, despite the fact that sitting before me was a plate of sliced brisket, hot links, potato salad, and pinto beans. I was south of Nashville at Martin’s Bar-B-Que…

Nineteenth Century Texas Barbecue

Aug 16, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

As is true throughout the South, the public barbecue was commonplace in Texas long before there were any restaurants serving commercial barbecue. As soon as a little town had enough population to consume a whole steer, the fourth of July celebrations at the center of town or the political rallies…

Highway BBQ

Aug 9, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

If you’ve spent any time on the interstates of Texas, then you’ve probably had a similar thought – Is that barbecue worth exiting for? You see a billboard, a collection of restaurant logos on a blue board, or a sign for BBQ right along the access road. Instincts would tell…

Pecan Lodge Frustrated at Farmers Market

Aug 2, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

Last Saturday, business was booming at Pecan Lodge in Shed #2 at the Dallas Farmers Market. I was eating tamales from La Popular, another vendor at the market, and it was great to see such vibrancy in at Shed #2. Just a few years ago, when Pecan Lodge opened,…

BBQ Anatomy 101: The Other Kind of Back Ribs

Jul 26, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

Last week, after I wrote about beef short ribs, I got a few responses from folks who said they flat out didn’t like beef ribs. After pressing them a bit more, I found that some of them had only eaten beef back ribs instead of the giant beef short ribs I…

You May Love Beef Short Ribs, But Pitmasters Don’t

Jul 19, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

Customers love beef ribs. When a pitmaster plunks down a big, thick fatty rib on a plate, cameras are whipped out to document this ultimate carnivore trophy that is the succulent symbol of the Texas obsession with beef. While beef backs ribs have been found in joints from Fort Worth…

Which Hatfield’s is the Real McCoy?

Jul 17, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

In the business world, verbal partnerships are notoriously fraught with discord, and Kenny Hatfield, the pitmaster at Hatfield’s BBQ and Blackjacks Beer Garden in Rockport, Texas, recently learned this firsthand. Earlier this year, just six months after opening the restaurant with two friends, he was celebrating the news that his…

How to Slice a Brisket

Jul 5, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

When I’m watching a brisket being sliced, a few things make me shudder, like the aggressive purr of an electric knife, the whine of a deli slicer, and, the worst offense, watching the fat cap being discarded (but we’ll save that for another column). I’ll concede that there are several ways…

BBQ Anatomy 101: The Slaughter

Jun 28, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

For three days this week I was a student at Beef 101, an intensive course taught by the Texas A&M University meat science staff, led by Dr. Davey Griffin, Dr. Jeff Savell, and Ray Riley. The class covers everything about cattle, from the time…

Competitions and Convocations

Jun 21, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

Two weeks ago I was bathed in hickory smoke in the middle of New York City. For two days the streets surrounding Madison Square Park in Manhattan were taken over by pitmasters who had been invited to cook at the annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party. Eighteen barbecue joints from…

In Defense of Gassers

Jun 14, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

For one night last week, Franklin Barbecue was transported from Austin to New York. Texas Monthly brought Aaron Franklin and his kitchen manager, Braun Hughes, to cook a little barbecue in the pit of Hill Country Barbecue Market in Manhattan. Tickets for the event sold out in less than a…

The Importance of Wrapping Brisket

Jun 7, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

There are plenty of ways to screw up a brisket, but when you get it right it’s a beautiful thing. If you’re smoking it at home, it’s not a terribly difficult process. Start by purchasing the right grade, then trim it properly, season it with your favorite rub, and…

BBQ Anatomy 101: Know Your Brisket

May 31, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

IF YOU’RE EATING BRISKET in Texas, chances are that your favorite pitmaster is ordering Item No. 120: a beef brisket, deckle-off, boneless. The number corresponds to the cut of meat defined by the Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications, or IMPS. No. 120 is “boneless,” meaning that ribs one through four have been…

Barbecue Nonsense, Texas Style

May 30, 2013 By rmoss

[Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of responses to the TMBBQ Top 50 list. Last week we heard an especially erudite reply to the list from Frederick Coye Heard at the University of Texas. Today, we bring you a counter-argument to our declaration of barbecue supremacy…

You Are What You Eat

May 24, 2013 By fheard

Editor’s Note: What’s almost as much fun as the TMBBQ Top 50? Reading responses to the TMBBQ Top 50. And we don’t just mean the tweets and comments (though by all means, keep firing). In what we hope will be the first in a series, here is an especially erudite…

The Mount Everest of Barbecue

May 17, 2013 By psharpe

IN OTHER PARTS OF the country, the goal of barbecue is to make something delicious in a reasonable amount of time with the greatest chance of success. In those places the pig is the chosen animal. We Texans cook pig ourselves, having found that spareribs make an excellent hors d’oeuvre,…

Texas vs. the South

May 15, 2013 By sharrigan

TEXAS BARBECUE IS NOT Southern barbecue because Texas is not the South. Okay, it is the South, but it’s the extraterritorial South, the afterthought South, that inelegant cartographic appendage you see on the map of the old Confederacy. It’s an unavoidable fact that Texas, against the ardent wishes…

The Barbecue Editor Disputes a Tar Heel

May 15, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

The following is a correspondence between Daniel Vaughn and John Shelton Reed. Reed lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and is the co-author, with his wife, Dale Volberg Reed, of Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue. Vaughn is the barbecue editor of Texas Monthly and the author of Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through…

Consider the Pit

May 15, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

THE TERM “PIT” ORIGINATED back in the days when that’s just what it was—a pit in the ground, with wood coals inside and a grill made of wood or metal. Most people cooking with direct heat nowadays use an above-ground fire, but the method is essentially unchanged. It works well for…

Who Does BBQ Better? Kansas City or Texas?

May 15, 2013 By Texas Monthly

The following is the transcript of a conversation between Gregory Curtis and Calvin Trillin. Curtis, who was born in Texas and raised partly in Kansas City, was the editor of Texas Monthly from 1981 to 2000. Trillin, a native of Kansas City, is a staff writer at the New Yorker, and…

NYC Food Critic Moonlights as Satirical Publicist

Mar 20, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

Robert Sietsema, the Village Voice‘s food critic, is a cheerleader. Back in January he, along with nearly every other New York food writer, wrote a piece rah-rah’ing the New York barbecue scene. Maybe penning a promotional article about local barbecue is required for admission to the New York BBQ…

Smoked Brisket

Apr 1, 2011 By psharpe

THE DISH Why do we love brisket above all other barbecued meats? Is it because of its resonant beefy flavor, its exterior as shiny as black patent leather, its rivulets of fat moistening every mouthful and staining the eater’s shirt? Yes. The very nature of brisket is to…

The Greek Way

Mar 1, 1991 By Skip Hollandsworth

Are good times and fun pranks giving way to racial slurs and ritualized violence? An inside look at UT’s fraternity row.