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Daniel Vaughn is the author of The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue, the coauthor of Whole Hog BBQ: The Gospel of Carolina Barbecue, and the barbecue editor at Texas Monthly. He has traveled the world sampling smoked meats at over 1,800 barbecue joints, most of which are in Texas.

1746 Articles

BBQ|
January 2, 2014

BBQ News: 12/20 – 01/02

– Happy New Year, or did they run out of hickory?pic.twitter.com/wf4rgxtM3m — Burns Original BBQ (@BurnsOriginalBB) December 31, 2013 – Between Disney World and Disney Land, they’ve sold two million smoked turkey legs in 2013. They all came from Yoakum Packing in Texas.–

BBQ|
December 24, 2013

Interview: Kent Black of Black’s BBQ

Photo provided by Black’s BBQPitmaster/Manager: Black’s BBQ, opened 1932 (current location since 1936)Age: 60Smoker: Wood-fired offset smokers and gas-fired rotisseriesWood: Post OakBlack’s BBQ is a family affair. After starting in 1932, they now have the fourth generation, Barrett Black, working at the restaurant. Three of those generations recently appeared together on

BBQ Joint Reviews|
December 23, 2013

Rio Grande Grill

For a small joint, there are plenty of cooks in this kitchen. Daniel Wright is the pitmaster, his wife Stefania Trimboli-Wright is the chef, her sous chef is Roque Luis Peña, and they even have a pastry chef – Drew Mann. They all have their specialty, but as a group they’ve

BBQ|
December 20, 2013

Where Did “BBQ” Come From?

The title may be misleading. I’m not looking to trace back the origins of when humans began cooking meat over fire, but rather when the term “BBQ” came into use. The myths about the origins of the word barbecue are many, so let’s dispense with a few of those first.Bar-Beer-Cue-Pig:

BBQ|
December 19, 2013

BBQ News: 12/13 – 12/19

– Rodney Scott of Hemingway, SC had a recent fire in his pit room. While it gets rebuilt he’s going on a “Rodney in Exile” tour across the South.– A short Garden & Gun post on pitmaster Rodney Scott’s barbecue process.– A barbecue sauce waterfall:  –

BBQ|
December 18, 2013

Interview: Roy Perez of Kreuz Market

Pitmaster: Kreuz Market, opened 1900 (current location since 1999)Age: 51Smoker: Wood-fired offset smokerWood: Post OakThe following is reprinted from the January 2014 issue of Texas Monthly, and also includes additional material from the interview taken on October 5, 2013.Kreuz Market is the most famous name in the most famous barbecue city in

BBQ Joint Reviews|
December 17, 2013

Curly’s Carolina, TX Barbeque

John Brotherton and Jay Yates seemed headed in different directions in the barbecue business until they found a way to work together. Both started with their own food trucks. John ran Hall of Flame BBQ in Pflugerville, but it closed earlier this year. Jay was successful enough with

BBQ|
December 16, 2013

BBQ Photographers: Denny Culbert

Every month we bring you a profile of a photographer who has captured the people, the food and the spaces that make up the world of barbecue.Denny Culbert – Lafayette, LouisianaDenny Culbert is a freelance food, portrait, and documentary photographer living in Lafayette, Louisiana. Armed with a degree in

BBQ|
December 13, 2013

Cabrito in South Texas

For most people, cabrito, or goat meat, might not elicit great food memories. The dish is often dismissed as stringy or “gamey,” and because so few places serve it, most aren’t sure what to expect when they order it. Of course, nearly every major city around the state has a

BBQ|
December 12, 2013

BBQ News: 12/06 – 12/12

– The FDA has announced that they will restrict antibiotic use in livestock animals. The move “will effectively make it illegal for farmers and ranchers to use antibiotics to make animals grow bigger.”– Lord willing and the creek don’t rise:American ingenuity at its best #pigroast

BBQ|
December 11, 2013

Interview: Bob Allen of Bob’s Bar-B-Que

Photo by Nicholas McWhirterOwner/Co-Pitmaster: Bob’s Bar-B-Que, opened 1980Age: 74Smoker: Wood-fired offset smokerWood: HickoryHenderson, Texas is a small town of about 13,000 between Tyler and Nacogdoches in East Texas. This is where Bob Allen was born and raised, and where he aims to stay. He’s seen a lot of

BBQ Joint Reviews|
December 10, 2013

Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ

My first trip to Valentina’s was on a whim. I stopped at the trailer behind the Star Bar on Sixth Street in Austin on my way out of town. A friend was writing a story on taco variations, and I thought I might be able to add a novelty to

BBQ|
December 9, 2013

Brisket > Chili

That barbecue is not Texas’s state dish is a travesty. Paul Burka first made the argument decades ago in his scathing article “I Still Hate Chili” claiming that “never has the legislature so abandoned its sworn duty to enhance the public welfare as when it certified chili as the

Food & Drink|
December 6, 2013

The Soul of a Pitmaster

For more than a quarter century, Roy Perez has been tending the fires at Kreuz Market and posing for photos with barbecue aficionados. It’s given him a lot of time to think.

BBQ|
December 6, 2013

Breaking Down Brisket

Brisket is our favorite cut for barbecue here in Texas, and it’s also pretty popular elsewhere, as evidenced by the sheer number of brisket recipes one can find on a shelf of barbecue cookbooks or can pull up using a Google search (searching “how to smoke a brisket”

BBQ|
December 5, 2013

BBQ News: 11/30 – 12/05

– La Barbecue has moved…Sold Out for the last time in South Austin from the crew @la_Barbecue. See you on the East Side. @tmbbq pic.twitter.com/cow9QBA7AT — Robert Jacob Lerma (@robertjlerma) December 1, 2013…and they are up and running at their new location:Looking

BBQ|
December 4, 2013

Buying Guide: BBQ Books

My library is packed with barbecue books, and it seems there are more options showing up every year. Most folks at this time of year would provide a round-up of the best books of 2013. I’ve got some catching up do, so I included some great ones from 2012 as

BBQ|
December 3, 2013

Buying Guide: Mail Order BBQ

Living in Texas, we have easy access to great barbecue every day. We also understand that the whole country isn’t so lucky. If you’re looking for that unique gift, or you just want to serve some great food over the holidays, you might want to get some great barbecue shipped

BBQ|
December 2, 2013

Buying Guide: BBQ Stuff

Barbecue is usually all about the meat, but we also love everything that surrounds the world of barbecue. Tomorrow we’ll have a complete buying guide for mail-order barbecue, and a guide to this year’s barbecue books on Wednesday. Today, we bring you a gift guide for Texas barbecue. If you

BBQ|
November 29, 2013

BBQ News: 11/22 – 11/29

– I saw lots of a great smoked turkeys in my Twitter and Instagram feeds throughout the day yesterday, but this one was the best fail. This is what happens when your smoker catches on fire:  – Pecan Lodge is moving. They’ve announced that they are leaving the

BBQ|
November 28, 2013

Smokin’ Turkeys

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your Turkey Day is going well. If you don’t have your turkey cooking yet, that might be a problem, but you can read this to procrastinate in the meantime. There are plenty of ways to cook a turkey. Roast it, fry it,

BBQ|
November 27, 2013

Interview: Kathleen Mann of Mann’s Smokehouse BBQ

Kathleen Mann, from the company’s Facebook pagePitmaster: Mann’s Smokehouse BBQ, opened 1996Age: 31Smoker: Gas-Fired rotisserie smokerWood: Pecan and OakIn a town that’s all about the meat, Mann’s in Austin boasts sixteen side items. It’s cut from a different cloth, which makes sense if you know that Jim and

BBQ Joint Reviews|
November 26, 2013

Shorty’s BBQ

A reader forwarded me this note comparing Shorty’s BBQ to Pecan Lodge in Dallas. “At Shorty’s, you don’t have to wait and they don’t run out of food, AND the beef is just as good.” I’d seen the prominent signs for Shorty’s on Highway 80 east of Dallas*, but this

BBQ|
November 25, 2013

BBQ Photographers: Doug Klembara

Every month we bring you a profile of a photographer who has captured the people, the food and the spaces that make up the world of barbecue.Doug Klembara – Dallas, TexasDoug Klembara is a Native Texan whose passion for photography has led him around the world. Recently he

BBQ|
November 22, 2013

The Evolution of Fat in Barbecue

Not everyone vilifies fat.  Heritage hog varieties rich with layers of fat are gaining in popularity, leaf lard is now a chic ingredient to pie crust, and noted author Michael Ruhlman just published The Book of Schmaltz: Love Song to a Forgotten Fat. No longer do we value

BBQ|
November 22, 2013

Pecan Lodge is Moving

The tenuous relationship between the Dallas Farmers Market and Pecan Lodge now has a path toward closure. Pecan Lodge has decided to move into a stand-alone location. In a report by the Dallas Morning News that they may take a sweet deal from

BBQ|
November 21, 2013

BBQ News: 11/15 – 11/21

– Black’s BBQ is coming to Austin. After announcing a new location in San Marcos in the summer, Black’s now reveals they’re coming to Barton Springs Road between S. First and S. Lamar:Mark & Michael Black,great-grandsons of Black’s founder,opening Black’s Barbecue Austin on Barton Springs

BBQ|
November 20, 2013

Interview: J&R Manufacturing

Owners: H.E. Finley and Mike HigginsCompany: J&R Manufacturing, since 1974Mike Higgins, a chemical engineer, and H. E Finley, a mechanical engineer, joined forces and families nearly forty years ago to start J&R Manufacturing. H. E. had just married Mike’s sister, and Mike had just started with the

BBQ Joint Reviews|
November 19, 2013

Cattleack BBQ

Along Alpha Road you’ll pass a few furniture stores, a discount mattress outlet and a block or two of banal single-story retail buildings. When you turn north on Gamma Road you’ll think for sure that you’re in the wrong neighborhood, but look for the sidewalk signs advertising BBQ. There will

BBQ|
November 18, 2013

True ‘Cue

True ‘Cue logoA campaign has been started in North Carolina that could turn into a national movement. It’s called True ‘Cue and it aims to certify those barbecue joints that use real wood to make their barbecue. “We think the world will be a better place when

BBQ|
November 18, 2013

Smoked in Texas: Southern Star Rauchbier

Schlenkerla in Bamberg, Germany makes what is probably the most famous smoked beer, or rauchbier, in the world. Recently they started selling it in the US, so I was able to get a bottle at my local Spec’s. On the same shelf was another rauchbier, but it came

BBQ|
November 15, 2013

No Country for Old Luddites

So, you call yourself a barbecue traditionalist. You eschew modern innovations in the world of barbecue, like using charcoal to start your fires, and you certainly don’t believe there’s any room on American menus for “nouveau” barbecue, whatever the hell that means. To you, good sir or madam, I commend

BBQ|
November 14, 2013

BBQ News: 11/8 – 11/14

– Meat Fight is a barbecue competition held in Dallas this weekend. Chefs compete with their versions of barbecue, while pitmasters (and Ron Swanson) do the judging. One of the competing chefs is Dallas’s Brian Luscher, and he helped (we think) produce this parody video of

BBQ|
November 13, 2013

Interview: Dirk Miller of Miller’s Smokehouse

Dirk Miller. Photo by Nicholas McWhirterPitmaster: Miller’s Smokehouse, opened 2008Age: 48Smoker: Wood-fired offset smokerWood: OakDirk Miller has never been this busy in his life. He called me from a van outside of his barbecue joint so nobody would bug him. He hasn’t taken a vacation in

BBQ|
November 12, 2013

Smoked in Texas: Fort Worth Cheesesteak

Hans Peter Muller is a second generation baker. His father came over from Switzerland and started the Swiss Pastry Shop in 1973. While Hans is a great baker and I’ve enjoyed every pie and cake he can dish out, he also has a passion for barbecue. He runs

BBQ Joint Reviews|
November 12, 2013

Big Al’s Smokehouse Barbecue

Big Al’s Smokehouse Barbecue has been smoking meats in Dallas for forty years. I recently sat down with owner Al Plaskoff to discuss a little Dallas barbecue history, and to learn where Big Al’s fits into the local story. It’s quite a legacy. There aren’t many restaurants of

BBQ|
November 11, 2013

The Great Texas BBQ Map

We made a map. A giant barbecue map to be specific. It’s the best way I, as the Barbecue Editor, could come up with to keep track of where I’ve been and where I need to go. The map is accessible to all, so it can also be

BBQ Joint Reviews|
November 11, 2013

American Smoke

“This is my crack habit right here.” That’s how Tom Bera of the Philly Blind Pig BBQ team describes competition barbecue in a new documentary, American Smoke. Bera’s comparison is not only a comment on how addictive the competitions are and the high of winning one, but he’s also

BBQ|
November 8, 2013

Cattle Driving for BBQ

I cursed the Dallas traffic as I tried to get out of town on a rainy Tuesday morning. Secluded fields and old river crossings were my destination, and I was eager to leave the city behind me. I wanted to find the best barbecue along North Texas’s historic cattle trails.

BBQ|
November 7, 2013

BBQ NEWS: 11/1 – 11/7

– Lonely Planet just included Texas as a Top 10 regional destination in the world.  That’s flattering, but their BBQ choices across the state are pretty ill-informed, especially Harold’s in Abilene which has been closed for two years.– Here’s what they learned about how

BBQ|
November 6, 2013

Interview: Travis Mayes of Meshack’s Bar-Be-Que

Travis Mayes at his walk-up window.Pitmaster: Meshack’s Bar-Be-Que, opened 2009Age: 64Smoker: Wood-fired Brick Smoker w/ gas assistWood: PecanIt was a Monday morning and Meshack’s was closed like normal. Travis and I had arranged this time to meet since the tasks to get ready for Tuesday were pretty slow-paced. There

BBQ|
November 5, 2013

Wine & Swine

This incredible line-up for the 3rd Annual Wine & Swine should be enough to get you there. Well, that and the fact that it’s only $75 for a ticket. It will be from 1-4 on Sunday, November 10th.Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue (Austin) – South Carolina-Style Whole Hog Sliders with Vinegar

BBQ Joint Reviews|
November 5, 2013

Billy’s Pit Bar-B-Q

On his 1994 album Gringo Honeymoon, Texas singer/songwriter Robert Earl Keen recorded a song entitled “Barbeque.” It has become the anthem for many of my smoked meat adventures along with most every other REK song. When I had a chance meeting with he and Lyle Lovett at the

BBQ|
November 1, 2013

Missed out on TMBBQ Fest Tickets?

The Texas Monthly Barbecue Festival is coming up this Sunday, but it’s been sold out since a few hours after tickets went on sale. There’s still a way to attend for just $35. Here’s the official explanation:NEW IN 2013: A limited quantity of Walk Up tickets

BBQ|
October 31, 2013

A New Menu Item

In this age of barbecue’s expansion and experimentation we see cuts of meat enter the smoker that have never previously been even figments of barbecue culture. But, there’s one protein that has gone largely ignored in real life, but has a rich history in art and film – human flesh.

BBQ|
October 31, 2013

BBQ News: 10/25 – 10/31

– First, a lesson from Evan LeRoy of Freedmen’s Bar on what a properly smoked brisket looks like:Perfectly cooked brisket https://t.co/PDIpksEQ6o — Evan LeRoy (@evanleroy) October 29, 2013 – Barbecue & Blues was held in New York at last week’s New York City Wine & Food Fest. Here’s

BBQ|
October 30, 2013

Interview: Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88

Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Hard Eight Pit BBQ“The further west I go, the more I seem to like the barbecue.” That’s a curious way for a native of North Carolina to start off a press conference, but NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr. was just being honest. He doesn’t much

BBQ|
October 29, 2013

BBQ Photographs by Wyatt McSpadden

This weekend Wyatt McSpadden will have his first photo exhibit. Entitled Two Meat Plate, it features many of the terrific images he shot for the recent Texas Monthly BBQ issue (including the cover), along with a number of his classic barbecue photographs. This weekend,

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