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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.

1636 Articles

BBQ |
June 24, 2013

VIDEO: Hog Butchering

We bring you thirty minutes of a very detailed lesson on hog butchering. If you’re only interested in a lesson on pork ribs, skip ahead to the 19:00 mark. For a full list of pork cuts with their full food

BBQ |
June 21, 2013

Competitions and Convocations

Two weeks ago I was bathed in hickory smoke in the middle of New York City. For two days the streets surrounding Madison Square Park in Manhattan were taken over by pitmasters who had been invited to cook at the annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party. Eighteen barbecue joints from

BBQ |
June 20, 2013

BBQ News: 06/14 – 6/20

– Good news. We announced a couple weeks back that Hashknife on the Chisholm was closing. Word from owner Jim McLennan is that they’re reopening with a limited menu.After a hard 3 wks of thinking,refurbished kitchen,and a new staff,hashknife will reopen with bbq and burgers only,Opening wed june

BBQ |
June 19, 2013

Come back to Texas, John T.

I read your plea, John T. Edge. Until now I’ve been a great admirer of your writing. It’s hard to read the words without hearing your buttery Southern intonation like the read-along records of my youth. It is through your articles and lectures that I’ve learned much of

BBQ |
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

BBQ Joint Reviews |
June 18, 2013

The Brisket House

Even if you know where it is, this unassuming storefront in a beige brick strip mall is easy to miss. I almost drove by it even as I stared at the blue dot on my iPhone signaling its location. I’d had eaten some samples from The Brisket House at the

BBQ |
June 17, 2013

Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ Map

A kind soul names Chris has placed all of the barbecue joints in Texas Monthly’s Top 50 list along with the honorable mentions. Use it for your travels. We thank you, Chris. View Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ Joints in the World 2013 in a larger

BBQ |
June 14, 2013

In Defense of Gassers

For one night last week, Franklin Barbecue was transported from Austin to New York. Texas Monthly brought Aaron Franklin and his kitchen manager, Braun Hughes, to cook a little barbecue in the pit of Hill Country Barbecue Market in Manhattan. Tickets for the event sold out in less than a

BBQ |
June 13, 2013

BBQ News: 06/07 – 06/13

– Making the most recent Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ joint list has been big local news for a few barbecue joint across Texas. Among those is Fargo’s in Bryan, The Granary and Two Bros. BBQ Market in San Antonio, Hatfield’s in Rockport, Hays

BBQ |
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

BBQ Joint Reviews |
June 11, 2013

Circle J Bar-B-Que

Over a year ago a friend of mine, Steve Dean, sent me a photo of this joint. The ramshackle look of the building had an outdated “Bush/Cheney 2004” sign in the front window and a sign on the door read “SHUT”. Steve and I both assumed it was

BBQ |
June 10, 2013

Smoked in Texas: Ranger Creek Mesquite Smoked Porter

I sat down with a panel of beer drinkers to sample a smoked beer made in Texas. Ranger Creek in San Antonio makes a Mesquite Smoked Porter. According to their description it is “brewed with a Texas twist, using malt smoked in-house over Texas mesquite.” This is made

BBQ |
June 7, 2013

The Importance of Wrapping Brisket

There are plenty of ways to screw up a brisket, but when you get it right it’s a beautiful thing. If you’re smoking it at home, it’s not a terribly difficult process. Start by purchasing the right grade, then trim it properly, season it with your favorite rub, and

BBQ |
June 6, 2013

BBQ News: 5/31 – 6/06

– A look back at the life of Calvin “Boots” Payne, the founder of Cousin’s Bar-B-Q, who passed away last week.– Guns and Roses played a show in Dallas and took the opportunity to stop by Pecan Lodge and help make some sausage.Guns+Roses stopped

BBQ |
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

BBQ Joint Reviews |
June 3, 2013

3 Stacks Smoke & Tap House

Jason Hall may be the owner of 3 Stacks, but Trace Arnold is the personality. You may have seen Trace manning the Ultimate Smoker & Grill during one of their cross-country road trips. The rig is essentially a traveling billboard for hire that also happens to be able to

BBQ |
June 3, 2013

Best Letter to the Barbecue Editor Thus Far

Yesterday, we received an impassioned letter to the Barbecue Editor concerning The 50 Best BBQ Joints list. Here it is in full:I’ve just reviewed your Top 50 Best Barbecue Joints issue and it’s a total joke! How can you include _______ but not __________? And what

BBQ |
June 3, 2013

2013 Top 50 BBQ Joint Closes

The phone rang. “Mr. Vaughn, this is the Parker County Sheriff’s office.” There wasn’t actually an officer at the other end of the line. It was Big Jim McLennan calling, the pitmaster at Hashknife on the Chisholm in Peadenville, Texas. He has always been good at making jokes, but

BBQ |
May 31, 2013

BBQ Anatomy 101: Know Your Brisket

IF YOU’RE EATING BRISKET in Texas, chances are that your favorite pitmaster is ordering Item No. 120: a beef brisket, deckle-off, boneless. The number corresponds to the cut of meat defined by the Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications, or IMPS. No. 120 is “boneless,” meaning that ribs one through four have been

BBQ |
May 30, 2013

BBQ News: 5/23 – 5/30

–A deal was announced yesterday that “would be the biggest takeover of an American company by a Chinese concern.” That deal was for the Shuanghui Group to purchase Virginia based Smithfield Foods which is the largest pork processor in the world.-Tune in to Austin’s

BBQ |
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

BBQ |
May 28, 2013

Restaurant Impossible: Bryan’s Smokehouse

Robert Irvine is the host of Restaurant Impossible on the Food Network. He travels around the country to help bring failing restaurants out of the doldrums. In March he brought his crew and $10,000 to Lufkin. Lynn Bryan, the owner of Bryan’s Smokehouse was in desperate need of

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 28, 2013

Smitty’s Market

Fire is hypnotic. Staring into it can be mesmerizing and may even alter your state of mind. Take the fire at Smitty’s Market for example. Just inside the back door, which is really the primary entrance, an open fire is the first thing you encounter. The flames lick their

BBQ |
May 24, 2013

Four Reasons NYC Can’t Claim BBQ Capital Status

A month ago I wrote a friendly rebuttal to Robert Sietsema, the (former) Village Voice food critic who wrote an inflammatory piece back in March arguing that New York City was the country’s newest barbecue capital. I pointed out that Sietsema was simply a misguided

BBQ |
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

BBQ |
May 23, 2013

In Praise of “Old” Barbecue

Traditional barbecue is having a moment, not just in Texas but around the country. So it’s natural to wonder when the backlash might come. Though it may be overdoing it to call Josh Ozersky’s story in the Wall Street Journal, “The New Barbecue,” a call to arms, he does

BBQ |
May 17, 2013

Responding to Your Barbecusations

We have tweeted and you have spoken. Since Texas Monthly released the new 2013 Top 50 BBQ list two days ago via Twitter, we have gotten a mountain of feedback. A dedicated group of passionate barbecue eaters was assembled to create this list, so we’re happy to see that

BBQ |
May 15, 2013

The Barbecue Editor Disputes a Tar Heel

The following is a correspondence between Daniel Vaughn and John Shelton Reed. Reed lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and is the co-author, with his wife, Dale Volberg Reed, of Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue. Vaughn is the barbecue editor of Texas Monthly and the author of Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through

BBQ |
May 15, 2013

Consider the Pit

THE TERM “PIT” ORIGINATED back in the days when that’s just what it was—a pit in the ground, with wood coals inside and a grill made of wood or metal. Most people cooking with direct heat nowadays use an above-ground fire, but the method is essentially unchanged. It works well for

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 3, 2013

R&G Bar-B-Que

2011: When we arrived at about 2:00 in the afternoon, the place was empty. We grabbed a couple cans of High Life at $1.75 a piece, then settled down for a snack. The sausage link was well seasoned with plenty of smoke, but it was obvious that it had been

BBQ |
March 20, 2013

NYC Food Critic Moonlights as Satirical Publicist

Robert Sietsema, the Village Voice‘s food critic, is a cheerleader. Back in January he, along with nearly every other New York food writer, wrote a piece rah-rah’ing the New York barbecue scene. Maybe penning a promotional article about local barbecue is required for admission to the New York BBQ

Food & Drink |
February 25, 2013

Where There’s Smoke, There’s Ire

Two grease fires destroyed Louie Mueller Barbecue's 1959 brick pit in Taylor this past weekend—just as John Mueller's new trailer opened in Austin.

BBQ Joint Reviews |
January 11, 2013

Pappy’s Bar BQ

If it’s been a long day of poor-quality smoked meat, then I start ordering dessert. If the meat is bad, then the sweet stuff is usually pretty good. I watched the knife man cut the brisket and it looked tough and springy, so I added a slice

BBQ Joint Reviews |
January 4, 2013

Van’s Bar BQ

Van’s sits all alone along a long stretch of interstate between Corpus Christi and San Antonio. I had high hopes for this joint given the praise received from Texas Monthly in their 2008 Top 50 BBQ list, but little that they served on this day was worth

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