Smoked in Texas

BBQ |
January 30, 2018

Koko Ramen

Quick study Cade Mercer’s pitmaster background brings the smoke to this Japanese staple at his new food truck in Waco.

BBQ |
March 27, 2017

Stuffed Chicken Legs at Baker Boys BBQ

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.

BBQ |
February 7, 2017

Smoked in Texas: Gut Pak at Vitek’s

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 in

BBQ |
January 24, 2017

Smoked in Texas: Oysters Gilhooley at Gilhooley’s

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

BBQ |
January 19, 2017

The Year Old Brisket

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 can

BBQ |
January 10, 2017

The Zeke Sandwich

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

BBQ |
November 7, 2016

Smoked in Texas: Texas Twinkies at Hutchins BBQ

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,

BBQ |
October 26, 2016

Smoked in Texas: Bacon Burnt Ends at Heim BBQ

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 week

BBQ |
October 18, 2016

Smoked in Texas: BBQ Tacos at BBQ on the Brazos

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

BBQ |
October 10, 2016

Smoked in Texas: Smokehouse Burger at Lakewood Smokehouse

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

BBQ |
September 27, 2016

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

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

BBQ |
September 20, 2016

Deep-Fried Barbecue in San Angelo

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

BBQ |
September 12, 2016

Smoked in Texas: Smoked Corn at Kerlin BBQ

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

BBQ |
September 1, 2016

Smoked in Texas: Breakfast at Smoke

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

BBQ |
June 28, 2016

Smoked in Texas: Chicken Wings at Green Mesquite

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

BBQ |
May 9, 2016

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

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

BBQ |
April 26, 2016

Smoked in Texas: Pollos Asados Los Norteños

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

BBQ |
April 18, 2016

Smoked in Texas: Pulled Pork at Chico & the Fox

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

BBQ |
March 29, 2016

Smoked in Texas: Sausage at Big Creek Butcher Shop

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

BBQ |
March 7, 2016

Smoked in Texas: Smoked Brisket Tacos at Plantation BBQ

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, but

BBQ |
March 1, 2016

Smoked in Texas: Sausage at Galvan’s Sausage House

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

BBQ |
February 17, 2016

Mel-Man Sandwich

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

BBQ |
February 10, 2016

Smoked in Texas: The Hillbilly Pacifier

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

BBQ |
February 1, 2016

Smoked in Texas: Beef Short Rib at Provisions

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

BBQ |
January 26, 2016

Pastrami Beef Ribs

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

BBQ |
January 25, 2016

Smoked in Texas: Mushroom Pastrami

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,

BBQ |
January 19, 2016

Smoked in Texas: Smoke-Brined Fried Chicken

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

BBQ |
January 11, 2016

Smoked in Texas: Smoked Pork Taco at Garcia’s

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

BBQ |
January 4, 2016

Smoked in Texas: Wagyu Shortrib at Qui

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.

BBQ |
December 7, 2015

Smoked in Texas: Macaroni & Cheese Sausage

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

BBQ |
November 9, 2015

Smoking a Lamb Brisket

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

BBQ |
October 28, 2015

No End to KC Getting Burnt by Texas

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

BBQ |
September 9, 2015

You Say Potato…

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

BBQ |
August 3, 2015

Not Your Average Vegetables

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