Many years ago, before he moved away from Austin to the Frozen North (the D.C. area), journalist Jim Shahin was one of the people I turned to in times of freelance need. He contributed to food stories for Texas Monthly, but mainly, he distinguished himself by possessing a barbecue fanaticism that was almost scary in its intensity and purity. After Jim left the state, we lost touch. But, as they say, you can take the boy out of the barbecue belt, but you can’t take the barbecue out of the boy. Yesterday, a friend forwarded me this blog post by writer Tim Carman from, detailing Jim’s continuing obsession, which has obviously not diminished one iota. I loved reading about his star-crossed quest to contrast and compare the top five briskets from Texas Monthly’s story on the fifty best barbecue joints in Texas, and thought you would get a kick out of it, too. (The photo is from the post.)