Feature

The Transformation of Southside Market

Feb 16, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Southside Market in Elgin opened its doors in 1886, making it Texas’s oldest barbecue joint. Predictably, it has transformed considerably in its 130-year history. The original ownership, location, menu—even the famous sausage recipe—have all changed over that time. But this is not a story about eroding traditions. Southside Market stands as…

The Legend of Southside Market

Feb 9, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Origin stories are often hard to trace. And those of century-old restaurants—especially ones where ownership has changed hands a few times—are particularly difficult to pinpoint. People’s institutional memory literally dies off, and unless someone is fervidly passionate about keeping records (which, when a place is struggling to stay afloat in the notoriously fickle restaurant…

The Science of the Smoke Ring

Feb 3, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Let me drop a hard truth-bomb on you: as an indicator of well-cooked barbecue, the smoke ring is useless. Narcissus was less attached to his reflection than some barbecue cooks and critics are to that thin red line along the perimeter of smoked meats, but as with that Greek myth, worship of…

Spareribs for Texas

Jan 13, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Memphis has the baby back rib. Chicago has rib tips. St. Louis even has a style of ribs named after its fair city. But spareribs are what you’ll get in Texas when “ribs” alone are listed on the menu. For the most part, we find baby backs too dainty, Chicago-style too wanting,…

In the Land of Links

Dec 8, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Hitting the barbecue trail in Texas is something of a weekend sport. Plenty of people create their own routes, but one of the more official itineraries—the Texas Barbecue Trail, which takes you from Taylor to Elgin, Lockhart, and finally through Luling—is enormously popular. As the name suggests it’s a great…

The Many Briskets of Texas

Dec 1, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Not all briskets are created equal. That much is obvious to anyone who’s had a great one—or a bad one. Those experiences are easy to contrast, but what about when it’s not a question of good or bad? When it’s a matter of simply being different? I was struck by the variety…

The Best Turkey in Texas

Nov 24, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Smoked turkey is now so common that nearly every grocery store deli case in the country carries at least one variety (and more often, many more than one). We now take this protein option for granted, but smoked turkey doesn’t have the same long history as beef and pork barbecue do in this…

The Boucherie

Nov 19, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

It was an hour after the gunshot and parts of the hog—which was being rapidly dismantled—were being passed and carried in every direction. Hams hit the smoker; shoulders were tossed in pots of boiling water; fatback was diced; stomach and intestines were getting a good rinse before they became casings for sausage and boudin,…

Grease Balls of Southeast Texas

Nov 3, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

This feature was originally published in the Fall 2015 issue of Gravy, the quarterly magazine from the Southern Foodways Alliance. Patillo’s Bar-B-Q in Beaumont, Texas, is the fourth-oldest barbecue joint in the state. You’ve probably never heard of it. Its founder, Jack Pat(t)illo, is believed to be a direct…

John Lewis Jr.’s BBQ Roots

Oct 20, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Rummaging through your family genealogy can be dicey. The history could be upsetting (just ask Ben Affleck), but you also might be able to confirm some royal bloodlines. And for Austin’s John Lewis Jr., what he and his father discovered was even more rewarding than any monarch. The man who built…