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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.

1754 Articles

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

BBQ Joint Reviews|
February 5, 2013

John Mueller Meat Co.

You may remember last October when John Mueller was shut out of his well-regarded JMueller BBQ trailer on South First Street in Austin. He wasn’t happy about it, to say the least, but stayed quiet, plotting his return. That

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 10, 2013

Johnny’s Bar-B-Q

The smoke was thick coming out of the Oyler smoker in the back of this joint, and the neon was bright over the door as we entered. Toward the back of the room was a long cafeteria style counter with the meats on display, but the bright

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

BBQ Joint Reviews|
January 4, 2013

The Original Willie’s Bar-B-Q

They’ve got lots of meat options at Willie’s, and the longer we stood in the cafeteria line, the easier it was to convince myself to order them all. Well, I didn’t quite get them all, but I do admire that Willie’s will sell you any amount of

BBQ Joint Reviews|
January 3, 2013

McMillan’s Bar-B-Q

The sign outside reads “World Famous” and Louis McMillan won’t hesitate to tell you how good his barbecue is. He was about done for the day, so we admittedly got the tail end of the days offering, but this wasn’t praiseworthy.Sausage was barely warmed through, and

BBQ Joint Reviews|
December 13, 2012

City Market (Luling)

There are many folks around the country that may have just been introduced to the existence of City Market, in Luling, earlier this year when Newsweek published their list of the “101 Best Places to Eat” around the world. I myself

BBQ Joint Reviews|
September 26, 2012

Baker’s Ribs

You may have been familiar with the Baker’s Ribs location in Deep Ellum. It stood for decades in a brick building on Commerce Street with a large pig painted on the side. They leased that building but were looking for a permanent home, so they bought

BBQ|
September 24, 2012

Woodshed Smokehouse

FORT WORTH: Woodshed Smokehouse 3201 Riverfront Dr. Fort Worth, TX 76107 817-877-4545 Open Daily 11-’til www.woodshedsmokehouse.comWhere’s the beef, or more specifically brisket? Just a few days ago chef and owner Tim Love bragged via Twitter that a record number of animals were cooking at his popular Woodshed

BBQ Joint Reviews|
September 21, 2012

Wilhite’s Barbeque

Robert Wilhite is both mayor and resident pitmaster in Creedmoor. He runs one of the few restaurants in town, and I’d guess this is the best one. Don’t let the adjoining Valero station fool you into thinking this is some fly-by-night barbecue stand. Robert’s dad started this place back in

BBQ Joint Reviews|
August 20, 2012

Bob’s Bar-B-Que

This joint is a family affair run by the tight-lipped Bob Allen, his wife, and son. A steel wood-fired pit was hidden by a fence, and they weren’t willing to give us a tour. Bob assured us that “there’s no gas up on this hill.” It’s all hickory

BBQ Joint Reviews|
August 3, 2012

Pecan Lodge

You may have heard that this joint is getting a bit popular. While I may lament not being able to visit my go-to barbecue joint without braving a long line, I’m happy for the proprietors. Justin and Diane Fourton are friends in the barbecue world, and I’ve sought some bit

BBQ Joint Reviews|
July 21, 2012

JMueller BBQ – Closed

Update: This joint is CLOSED. Pitmaster John Mueller was unceremoniously relieved of his duties by his sister LeAnn Mueller who owns the place. She has reopened with the new name La Barbecue. I’ll

BBQ Joint Reviews|
July 20, 2012

Louie Mueller Barbecue

In the words of owner Wayne Mueller, black pepper is a food group at Louie Mueller Barbecue, in Taylor. There isn’t a whole lot that it doesn’t go into, and its pervasiveness around the restaurant means it will find its way into unexpected places like your cup of

BBQ Joint Reviews|
June 12, 2012

Tyler’s Barbeque

I have a GUEST REVIEWER from the Lubbock area. I met Marshall Scott over a plate of brisket at Pecan Lodge. He’s been searching all over the Panhandle and West Texas for decent smoked meats with little success until landing on Tyler’s in Amarillo. I asked if he’d write a

BBQ Joint Reviews|
June 12, 2012

Buzzie’s Bar-B-Q

The original Buzzie’s burned down, so a newer building clad in stone and sitting off the main drag houses it now. The classic ordering process at the counter went smoothly and I was able to point directly to the crusty slices of beef that I preferred. As I

BBQ Joint Reviews|
April 24, 2012

Cooper’s Bar-B-Q & Grill (Junction)

The sign may claim that they’ve been smoking since 1953, but this joint opened in 1999. Current owner Mark Cooper is a grandson of George Cooper, so they’re sort for taking credit for a few decades of Cooper’s operation in Mason. The woodpiles and pits are just as impressive as

BBQ Joint Reviews|
April 5, 2012

Pody’s BBQ

Israel “Pody” Campos needed a new direction in life. He had been training police recruits in Austin before being laid off. He then decided to move back home to Pecos, buy a laundromat, and convert it into a barbecue joint. Open for just six months, Pody’s is an

BBQ Joint Reviews|
March 31, 2012

Heavy’s BBQ

The former McBee’s in Hondo has gotten a new lease on life. Heavy purchased the joint after moving back home from Austin where he had worked at Bert’s BBQ. He’s using the same methods of indirectly smoking with mesquite in the same brick pit

BBQ Joint Reviews|
March 28, 2012

Miller’s Smokehouse

Dirk Miller knows his way around meat. He’s a deer processor, taxidermist, sausage maker and a master at the barbecue pit. Hidden a couple blocks down a side street in Belton you’ll find his small but expanding storefront. On the way there it’s hard to ignore the billboards

BBQ Joint Reviews|
March 26, 2012

Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Que

I’m not here to tell you that I’m an authority on barbacoa. I know enough about it to be dangerous, and I’ve eaten enough of it to know that what I ate at Vera’s was something special. The funny part is that the best place to get barbacoa

BBQ Joint Reviews|
March 24, 2012

Mumphord’s Place BBQ

Barbecue south of San Antonio generally means indirectly smoked meats done with mesquite. As we walked up to Mumphord’s the smell coming from the screened in pit room at the back of the joint was unmistakably from direct heat BBQ. We started our visit right there with

BBQ Joint Reviews|
March 5, 2012

Hays Co. Bar-B-Que and Catering

You won’t find it if you’re not looking for it. Hidden at a blind curve a good ways outside of town, and definitely not in view of the Interstate, Hays Co. Bar-B-Que has been flying under the radar. It didn’t help that they’ve already changed names since

BBQ Joint Reviews|
February 22, 2012

Vincek’s Smokehouse

Between the deer processing, sausage making and meat smoking, Gary Vincek is a busy man. He is also a great host who showed us around the entire operation at this gem of a barbecue joint southwest of Houston. A couple of skinned deer legs peeking out of the

BBQ Joint Reviews|
February 20, 2012

Austin’s BBQ and Catering

Only two BBQ joints in Texas have made it into Texas Monthly’s Top 50 BBQ in 1997, 2003, and 2008 without being in the top 5. One is Schoepf’s in Belton and the other is Austin’s in Eagle Lake. I’ve had this one on my wish

BBQ Joint Reviews|
February 12, 2012

Maywald’s Sisterdale Smokehouse

In 2007, John Maywald had a restaurant building that he couldn’t lease out, and he was more than skeptical about using it to run his own place. After nearly four years of sitting vacant, he decided along with his spouse and some friends to fish rather than cut

BBQ Joint Reviews|
February 5, 2012

Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew

Austin has traditionally been a jumping off point for barbecue trips to famous towns like Lockhart, Luling, Taylor, and Llano. Great barbecue seems to surround Austin, but the city has been getting a reputation of its own as a barbecue destination. Some have even started

BBQ Joint Reviews|
February 1, 2012

Whup’s Boomerang Bar-B-Que

This is a tiny joint in a small town with a compact patio and a tight parking situation. I was momentarily trapped between another car and a sleeping dog in the narrow drive that leads past the smoker to the gravel road behind the joint. Orders are taken

BBQ Joint Reviews|
January 27, 2012

Fargo’s Pit BBQ

Most professional food critics will make at least three visits to a restaurant before completing a review or issuing a star rating. Given the miles that I travel (without a traveling budget) in search of smoked meats around Texas, I don’t get this luxury. I routinely provide

BBQ Joint Reviews|
January 6, 2012

Gatlin’s BBQ & Catering

It was the end of a long day. My friends Nick and Clark had stayed with me bite for bite through six other barbecue joints and we were on our way to Houston to eat at this mightily heralded joint in northwest Houston

BBQ Joint Reviews|
December 6, 2011

The Salt Lick Bar-B-Que

I’ve often thought that the Salt Lick is a joint that serves very respectable smoked meat, and is vastly overrated at the same time. The wait for a table on this sprawling campus of barbecue can exceed and hour, but no worries as you can enjoy drinks and live music

Eat My Words|
October 27, 2011

Second fiddle barbecue

The luminaries of Texas barbecue are justly revered—from Lockhart's century old Kreuz Market, to Taylor's estimable Louie Mueller Barbecue to the ever-popular Cooper's Old Time Pit BBQ in Llano. For the BBQ dabbler these names are familiar, but their pitmasters may as well be Hollywood celebrities

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