Feature

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…

Where Has All the Hill Country Barbecue Gone?

Oct 13, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

It’s not extinct, but the Hill Country style of barbecue certainly belongs on the endangered list. Sometimes called the West Texas style, this method of cooking directly over coals–once pervasive–is seen less frequently. Compounding the problem, it appears fewer and fewer people are bothering to learn or carry on the…

The Modern Marvel of Kuby’s Sausage House

Oct 6, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

When we marvel at the endurance of family-run barbecue joints in Texas, it becomes noteworthy when one hangs on for four—hell, even three—generations. So if someone deciding to make a living in the same way as their great-grandfather is pretty rare, but in the middle of Dallas, there is a business that’s…

Barbecue Uniformity

Sep 30, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

“Barbecue is the closest thing we have in the United States to Europe’s wines or cheeses; drive a hundred miles and the barbecue changes.” Barbecue historian John Shelton Reed wrote the above line just over a decade ago for an essay printed in the food writing collection Cornbread Nation 2, and in…

Smoke Gets in Your Food

Sep 22, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Just when it appeared we had hit peak bacon—last week’s introduction of Sizzl, Oscar Meyer’s dating app for bacon lovers, could be pinpointed as the moment things jumped the shark—Chris Shepherd, the chef at Underbelly in Houston, found a way to improve the most popular ingredient of the past five…

Smoking With Mesquite

Sep 15, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Before the phrase “mesquite-grilled” became a common descriptor on hoity-toity menus of restaurants trying to prove their Texas bona fides, and before backyard cooks bought mesquite chips by the pound to add an “authentic smokehouse” flavor to their meat, the mesquite was a scraggly tree that people in the Southwest considered…

Barbecue For Colbert

Sep 8, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Tonight is a big moment in late-night network television. After nine years as anchor of the Colbert Report on Comedy Central, Stephen Colbert will assume hosting duties for The Late Show on CBS, a gig held by David Letterman since its inception in 1993. You might be thinking, yes, that’s cool,…

BBQ Anatomy 101: Lamb

Sep 1, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Last Father’s Day, I spent the morning watching the men of Millheim Harmonie Verein Hall baste and flip barbecue on large open pits. There were beef clods, pork shoulders, and whole mutton. That last one is something you don’t often see on barbecue joint menus in Texas, whole or not,…

Liquid Smoke

Aug 25, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

In 2009, the late meat and barbecue loving Josh Ozersky wrote: “Liquid smoke is one of the most revolting substances known to man, and anathema to any real cook.” In certain circles, using the substitute is worse than deceptive—it’s flat out cheating. Even the most hard-headed, hogmatic North Carolinian would agree…

Pour Some Sugar (and Salt and Pepper) on Meat

Aug 11, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Sprinkle it on, rub it in, or shake it over the meat. It doesn’t really matter how you apply it, if it’s seasoning for barbecue, it’s called a rub. To really examine meat the almost inseparable relationship between meat and rub,  you have to back a few millenia. For thousands of years, salt…