Pitmaster Interviews

Attempt to discover arcane secrets.

September 18, 2013

Interview: Emilio Soliz of Two Bros. BBQ Market

Photo by Nicholas McWhirterPitmaster: Two Bros. BBQ Market, opened 2009Age: 29Smoker: Wood-fired Offset Steel SmokerWood: OakThe creation of Two Bros. BBQ Market doesn’t follow the usual narrative of a Texas barbecue joint. There was no backyard cook or barbecue competitor that had decided to open up a barbecue joint. Jason Dady

September 11, 2013

Interview: Jim McLennan of Hashknife on the Chisholm

Big Jim with his smoker. Photo by Nicholas McWhirterOwner/Pitmaster: Hashknife on the Chisholm, opened 2006Age: 51Smoker: Gas-fired Rotisserie SmokerWood: Oak and pecanJim McLennan and his wife have run a barbecue joint at the southwest corner of highways 281 and 284 for over a decade. Shortly after he bought the place in 2005 he

September 4, 2013

Interview: Israel “Pody” Campos of Pody’s BBQ

Owner/Pitmaster: Pody’s BBQ, opened 2011Age: 38Smoker: Various indirect heat steel pitsWood: Post Oak, Cherry, Pecan, and MesquiteA few weeks back someone tweeted to me that they’d spotted Israel “Pody” Campos in line at Pecan Lodge in Dallas. That’s a long way from his home in Pecos. I tried to get him to stick

August 28, 2013

Interview: Gaylan Marth of Big Boys Bar-B-Que

Photo by Nicholas McWhirterOwner/Pitmaster: Big Boys Bar-B-Que, opened 2000Age: 57Smoker: Direct heat steel pitsWood: MesquiteI’ve been out to Sweetwater twice for Gaylan Marth’s barbecue at Big Boys. The first time I was with my wife and kids. They stayed in the car while I got a to-go order. Eating in the car we

August 21, 2013

Interview: Kenny Hatfield of Hatfield’s Barbecue

Owner/Pitmaster: Hatfield’s BBQ, opened 2013Age: 53Smoker: Wood-fired rotisserie pitWood: Oak and mesquiteNo sooner had we put the original Hatfield’s BBQ in the Top 50, than a disagreement between partners meant he was out of the business. We wrote about the controversy while Kenny was still between the old and new joint.

August 7, 2013

Interview: David Longoria of Longoria’s BBQ

Owner/Pitmaster: Longoria’s BBQ, opened 1995Age: 50Smoker: Wood-fired lazy-susan style smokersWood: Post oak and pecanDavid Longoria runs a joint started by his parents in a small town just south of Fort Worth. On the other side of town is Hickory Stick Barbecue which is owned and operated by Mark Jones. There are plenty of

July 31, 2013

Interview: Alan Caldwell of Fargo’s Pit BBQ

Owner/Pitmaster: Fargo’s Pit BBQ, opened 2000Age: 50Smoker: Wood-fired offset pitWood: Oak with a bit more mixed inAs we sat at a table inside Fargo’s Pit BBQ in Bryan, I asked owner and pitmaster Alan Caldwell if I could see his pit. He said no. In total I probably asked

July 24, 2013

Pitmaster Interview: Nick Pencis of Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue

Photo by Nicholas McWhirterOwner: Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue since 2006Age: 36Smoker: Gas-fired rotisserie for ribs, offset wood-fired smoker for everything else.Wood: PecanNick Pencis was once the pitmaster at Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue in Tyler. He tried his best, but knew he had a real pitmaster when he hired Jonathan

July 17, 2013

Interview: John Lewis of La Barbecue

Owner/Pitmaster: La Barbecue; Opened 2012Age: 35Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired PitWood: Post OakI talked to John Lewis over the phone while he was making preparations at La Barbecue to open up the following day. John Lewis became the pitmaster at La Barbecue on November, 4 2012. That’s a few

July 10, 2013

Interview: Stephen Joseph of Riverport Bar-B-Que

Photo by Nicholas McWhirter Owner/Pitmaster: Riverport Bar-B-Que, opened in 1993Age: 45Smoker: A steel offset smokerWood: Post OakI called Stephen Joseph in the late afternoon while he watched over his pit. He was trying to get it up to temperature so he could put on the meat he would

June 26, 2013

Interview: Tootsie Tomanetz of Snow’s BBQ

Pitmaster: Snow’s BBQ; opened in 2003.Age: 78Smoker: A steel smoker with an offset firebox for briskets, a direct heat pit for everything else.Wood: Post OakTootsie took her lunch break to talk with me while working her day job with the Giddings school district. After Texas Monthly named Snow’s BBQ the best barbecue

June 19, 2013

Interview: Kerry Bexley of Snow’s BBQ

Kerry Bexley (center) at the Texas Monthly BBQ FestivalOwner/Pitmaster: Snow’s BBQ; opened in 2003.Age: 46Smoker: A steel smoker with an offset firebox for briskets, a direct heat pit for everything else.Wood: Post OakIt was Friday afternoon and Kerry was getting ready to start the fires for the pits at

June 12, 2013

Interview: Wayne Mueller of Louie Mueller Barbecue

Wayne MuellerOwner/Pitmaster: Louie Mueller Barbecue; opened in 1949Age: 47Smoker: Brick pit with an offset fireboxWood: Post OakI had intentions of talking to Wayne for this interview while we were both attending the Big Apple BBQ Block Party in New York. We talked a few times during the

June 5, 2013

Interview: Justin Fourton of Pecan Lodge

Justin Fourton Owner/Pitmaster: Pecan Lodge; opened in 2010 Age: 37 Smoker:  Steel smoker with an offset firebox Wood: Mesquite and OakI called Justin Fourton on his day off to set up this interview. His voice mail was full. He is a man in demand, but is always generous with

May 29, 2013

Interview: Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue

Aaron FranklinOwner/Pitmaster: Franklin Barbecue in Austin; opened in 2009Age: 35Smoker: Five steel offset smokers made from 1000 gallon propane tanks that are 5/16” thick.Wood: Post oak. Some seasoned, some green.Last week, I sat down with Aaron Franklin over a tray of ribs and brisket at the Blue Ox

May 23, 2013

VIDEO: John Mueller is on Fire

John Mueller is on fire. His barbecue is better than it’s ever been, he just made it into our list of the fifty best barbecue joints in the state, and now Zagat has featured him in a slick video about the Austin barbecue scene. Where does Mueller fit

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