Smoked in Texas

Stuffed Chicken Legs at Baker Boys BBQ

Mar 27, 2017 By Daniel Vaughn

In Luling, Wayne Baker grew up on the basics of barbecue. Brisket, ribs, and beef sausage came wrapped up in butcher paper at City Market, the favored barbecue joint of his youth. “I didn’t really know a barbecue plate existed,” he told me at his barbecue joint, Baker Boys BBQ in Gonzales.

Avoiding Dirty Smoke

Mar 22, 2017 By Daniel Vaughn

Several years ago on a backroad near Galveston, I happened upon a roadside barbecue stand. Of course I stopped and ordered a combo plate. As I opened the styrofoam container, I was hit with the smell of a smoldering fireplace. The brisket and ribs were jet black. It was the smokiest barbecue…

Smoked in Texas: Gut Pak at Vitek’s

Feb 7, 2017 By Daniel Vaughn

The Gut Pak is to Waco what rings of smoked sausage are to Lockhart. It’s part of the city’s barbecue identity. A Gut Pak is smoked sausage, barbecue, beans, and cheese, and a few other items piled high atop a mess of Fritos, making this the huskier cousin of a Frito pie. Sometime…

Smoked in Texas: Oysters Gilhooley at Gilhooley’s

Jan 24, 2017 By Daniel Vaughn

Oyster shells crackled under the car tires as I pulled into Gilhooley’s in San Leon. The parking lot is paved with them, and a pile taller than me rose like a dune at one end of the parking lot. A storm was rolling into the small town on the Gulf…

The Year Old Brisket

Jan 19, 2017 By Daniel Vaughn

After thousands of barbecue meals, I’ve never been struck ill by smoked meat. Maybe it’s the long cooking time, or the preservative qualities provided by a layer of wood smoke, or maybe I’ve just been lucky. Either way, I put that streak to the test over the weekend. “How long…

The Zeke Sandwich

Jan 10, 2017 By Daniel Vaughn

After an incredible championship game on Monday night, this season of college football is (sadly) behind us. But that means we can now focus solely on the NFL playoffs, in which the Texans are still alive and the Cowboys look to avenge Dez Bryant’s “non-catch” from a 2015 game…

Smoked in Texas: Texas Twinkies at Hutchins BBQ

Nov 7, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Leftover brisket is a fact of life for most barbecue joints, but how they use it says a lot about their commitment to quality. It’s far better suited for fortifying pinto beans than to be back on the slicing block for day two. I’ve eaten fine chopped brisket sandwiches, tacos,…

Smoked in Texas: Bacon Burnt Ends at Heim BBQ

Oct 26, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Burnt ends aren’t just for brisket anymore. And let’s get something out of the way, Kansas City barbecue fans: don’t get too sanctimonious about proper burnt ends only coming from a brisket; I’ve had ham and sausage burnt ends in your city. Beef belly burnt ends were the special last…

Tacos from BBQ on the Brazos in Cresson.
Smoked in Texas: BBQ Tacos at BBQ on the Brazos

Oct 18, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Combining barbecue and tacos is a damn-near perfect culinary Texas creation. In fact, it is the barbecue tacos at Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ in Austin that has made this one of my favorite joints in the state. I’ve often wished that more tortillas were stuffed with smoked meat, so I was happy to find another…

Smoked in Texas: Smokehouse Burger at Lakewood Smokehouse

Oct 10, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Until recently, every smoked burger I’ve eaten has resulted in a contradiction of the palate. Smoky beef seasoned with salt and pepper hits all the positive taste receptors, but to trigger those you have to chew on a patty as dry as mesquite. It doesn’t take long to overcook…

Smoked in Texas: Dry-Aged Brisket at Killen’s Barbecue

Sep 27, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

The experimentation never seems to end at Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland. Some days you can do a side-by-side taste test of different beef rib varieties, on others owner Ronnie Killen and pitmaster Manny Torres are serving flights of various smoked briskets. And when I stopped in last week they…

Deep-Fried Barbecue in San Angelo

Sep 20, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

John Young is now settled in his native West Texas, but he took a circuitous route to get back there. He sold his barbecue joint in Sachse, northeast of Dallas, in 2001 and moved to Philadelphia for a corporate job, and then five years ago he moved back to San Angelo and…

Smoked in Texas: Smoked Corn at Kerlin BBQ

Sep 12, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Kerlin BBQ in Austin has been known for their ribs and brisket since opening in 2013, but Bill and Amelis Kerlin really made a splash with their smoked-meat kolaches. Those have been so much of a hit that soon  they’ll have a dedicated kolache truck. I must admit that the…

Smoked in Texas: Breakfast at Smoke

Sep 1, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Barbecue for breakfast in Texas usually means an old time smokehouse that happens to open early. Whether it’s a ring of sausage and a Dr Pepper at Smitty’s in Lockhart or the whole menu at Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, you can find breakfast if you look hard enough (though the…

Smoked in Texas: Chicken Wings at Green Mesquite

Jun 28, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Green Mesquite has been a fixture in South Austin since Tom Davis opened the place in 1988. The restaurant now has three locations, but the original on Barton Springs Road has all the charm of a real joint and one of the coolest neon signs in Texas. There’s an even better one inside—a glowing red…

Smoked in Texas: Stuffed Potato at Smoke to the Bone BBQ

May 9, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Gregory Johns didn’t learn to cook barbecue from his family, books, videos, or from a mentor. He taught himself through trial-and-error. As he told me, “You burn some meat, you get it right next time.” His journey began in 1998 when he purchased a steel barrel smoker. Eight years later, Johns…

Smoked in Texas: Pollos Asados Los Norteños

Apr 26, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

It was the smoke that stopped me. The juice and fat from fifty-some-odd chickens mixed with mesquite charcoal to form a steady stream of smoke high above the roof line of Pollos Asados Los Norteños in San Antonio. I was scouting another barbecue joint and had stumbled upon the popular spot…

Smoked in Texas: Pulled Pork at Chico & the Fox

Apr 18, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

A barbecue truck in Austin is nothing new, but there’s plenty about Chico & the Fox that is unconventional. They don’t serve sausage, ribs, or even brisket. This truck is dedicated to pulled pork. You also won’t find a rustic smoker out back. Everything is smoked in an electric Masterbuilt…

Smoked in Texas: Sausage at Big Creek Butcher Shop

Mar 29, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Coming around the bend on Craik Street in Marlin, it’s hard to miss the huge black letters set against a white background announcing your arrival at the Big Creek Butcher Shop. Look closer and you’ll see a pile of pecan wood and a steel smoker. You might even notice the gate and cattle…

Smoked in Texas: Smoked Brisket Tacos at Plantation BBQ

Mar 7, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

It’s become a fairly common sight in Texas: smoke rising from a little trailer parked in a gravel lot alongside the highway. But the Plantation BBQ trailer in Richmond was running a trailer long before it food trucks were de rigueur. Richmond is southwest of Houston, about forty minutes from downtown,…

Smoked in Texas: Sausage at Galvan’s Sausage House

Mar 1, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

After more than thirty years of doing laundry for the local school district, Clemente Galvan Jr. chose a second career: barbecue. It hasn’t been easy. The pit room at Galvan’s Sausage House has burned down twice, most recently in 2014. He works long hours at the small restaurant along Highway 90 in…

Mel-Man Sandwich

Feb 17, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

The Mel-Man sandwich is the product of a barbecue epiphany. The East Texas specialty, which consists of brisket and sausage chopped together instead of layered on top of each other, is named after a man who once hated barbecue. It’s big, hard to eat, and best with plenty of barbecue…

Smoked in Texas: The Hillbilly Pacifier

Feb 10, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Hans Muller is a second-generation baker in Fort Worth, but he’s no stranger to smoking meat. His lunch menu at the Swiss Pastry Shop includes a smoked cuban sandwich, the Fort Worth Cheese Steak made with smoked prime rib, and he’s now working on a recipe for homemade…

Smoked in Texas: Beef Short Rib at Provisions

Feb 1, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Barbecue and other smoked foods are making their way into fine dining faster than I can spit out liquid smoke. Often smoke is used as just another layer of seasoning, or maybe the barbecue is portioned and presented with a flourish on the plate. Not so at Provisions, the…

Pastrami Beef Ribs

Jan 26, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

When I first saw a pastrami beef rib on the menu at The Granary in San Antonio, my heart nearly skipped a beat (no blood pressure jokes, please). It was late 2012, and I’d never seen such a thing. Six months later, after I was named the Barbecue Editor, it…

Smoked in Texas: Mushroom Pastrami

Jan 25, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Oliver Sitrin is no stranger to pastrami experimentation. During his time as chef at Blind Butcher on Greenville in Dallas, he’s taken his thin-sliced beef pastrami and piled it high on rye (a traditional presentation, to be sure), as well as tucked it into an egg roll. He’s made tender duck pastrami,…

Smoked in Texas: Smoke-Brined Fried Chicken

Jan 19, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

The best fried chicken in Dallas is served at a barbecue joint. Any self-respecting pitmaster might cringe when I suggest the fried chicken to prospective customers, but chef and pitmaster Jeffrey Hobbs at the Slow Bone Barbeque in Dallas is plenty proud of his unique smoke-brined…

Smoked in Texas: Smoked Pork Taco at Garcia’s

Jan 11, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Despite the blasphemous ways they treat their smoked meats, Garcia’s in San Antonio makes a mean barbecue taco. I knew all about their now-famous smoked brisket taco because of its rapid rise in popularity: CNN named it one of the ten best tacos in America; Eater called Garcia’s one of…

Smoked in Texas: Wagyu Shortrib at Qui

Jan 4, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

There’s little room for variety in the smoked beef ribs you find at Texas barbecue joints—salt, black pepper, and smoke are doled out in big doses on impressively large hunks of beef and bone. They make for an imposing sight, and are a far cry from what anyone would consider refined.

Smoked in Texas: Macaroni & Cheese Sausage

Dec 7, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

The Smokey Denmark barbecue trailer on East Fifth Street in Austin has a new head pitmaster: Keenan Goldis. Goldis recently took over for Bill Dumas (who is now working with Lance Kirkpatrick at Stiles Switch), and he may be a familiar name to anyone who enjoyed his wild creations at…

Smoking a Lamb Brisket

Nov 9, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

I ate a lot of lamb around the state a few months back, but it’s a protein I had never cooked in my own smoker. Given that the most common cut found at Texas barbecue joints is the bone-in lamb breast, that’s what I went searching for. While the cut isn’t easy to…

No End to KC Getting Burnt by Texas

Oct 28, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Kansas City deserves all the credit for one of barbecue’s greatest inventions: the burnt end. These are the crusty ends from the fatty side of the brisket that are cubed into bite-sized morsels. They’re sometimes re-seasoned and/or sauced, then smoked further to get more tender and a bit crunchy…

You Say Potato…

Sep 9, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Since delving into a Bubba Tater from Pappas Bar-B-Q in Dallas, I’ve been eating a lot more baked potatoes than normal. It’s been a search for some of the best and most outrageous stuffed potatoes. This is by no means a complete list of the best potatoes in…

Not Your Average Vegetables

Aug 3, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

I was eating the third of several courses at a Texas Monthly dinner hosted by Chris Shepherd at Underbelly in Houston. On the family-style platter were meaty ribbons of beef belly (smoked by Ronnie Killen) topped with a chile mostarda. Underneath were bright orange carrots with a black crust. They were…

Pork Brisket

Jul 20, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Meat suppliers are always looking for ways to fetch a premium for their cuts of meat. Maybe they just get lucky with something like beef brisket that just gets more popular, but more often they accomplish this by finding different ways to market the cuts they already have or alter the…

The Bubba Tater

Jun 17, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

The Bubba Tater is one of the most daunting dishes to tackle in Texas barbecue, that is if you plan to eat the whole thing. Most joints just list it as a barbecue baked potato, but it usually starts with a russet potato the size of a Nerf football. When…

Tim Rattray’s Spinalis

Jun 8, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

San Antonio chef Tim Rattray visited Dallas last week to be the guest chef at Knife for one in a series of special collaboration dinners benefiting RED*. Throughout the week, Knife’s chef John Tesar invited five chefs including Aaron Franklin of Austin’s Franklin Barbecue and Rattray from…

On Sausage Wraps

Jun 1, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

The sausage wrap is underrated. It’s too simple to get much attention, but it deserves more than bottom-of-the-menu status. At its most basic, a sausage wrap is a link of sausage wrapped in a single slice of white bread. You can call it a wrap, a roll-up, fold-over, or sandwich.

All the Sausages

May 18, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Making sausage ain’t easy. There’s the trimming, grinding, seasoning, stuffing, and then the smoking. For barbecue joints, buying a few boxes of cheap sausage from your food distributor is a tempting prospect when compared to the hours required to make your own. But Texas is a place where smoked sausages are a…

Hot & Fast Beef Chuck Short Ribs

Feb 16, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

It was Valentine’s Day, and some neighbors – who have also been married long enough to stay away from restaurants on the 14th – agreed to join us for dinner. I picked up a couple racks of beef ribs and had planned to smoke them indirectly. After too many dinosaur rides…

Pastrami at Pieous

Feb 9, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Joshua and Paige Kaner opened Pieous in early 2013. They took over an old Cartwright’s BBQ building southwest of Austin on Highway 290. The plan was always to cook with fire, so a custom wood-fired oven was installed to cook the pizzas. A rotisserie smoker was left behind…

Fran’s Brown Pig Pizza

Jan 19, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Barbecue and pizza are two items that usually don’t join forces on a restaurant menu, but in the East Texas town of Daingerfield they’ve come together at Fran’s Barbeque and Pizza since 1971. Fran’s is named for Frances Neely. She was married to Dick Neely, and worked at…

Smoking Sausages

Oct 20, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

The Rabrokers have been selling their family recipe German sausage out of Westphalia Market since 1963. The tiny town of Westphalia sits between Zabcikville and Lott on Highway 320 (about twenty minutes east of Temple), and the market is a great reason to take a detour. They make several…