The Distant Relatives truck is located in the lot by Meanwhile Brewing Company, in South Austin, and diners can take advantage of the brewery’s expansive outdoor seating (and excellent beer). When owner and pitmaster Damien Brockway first opened his truck, in late February, brisket wasn’t on the menu (he preferred beef chuck). But that’s changed. Distant Relatives now serves up flavorful brisket with smoked-mustard butter, as well as pork spareribs and pulled pork. The “modern African American” menu is Brockway’s interpretation of dishes from various African American cuisines, such as black-eyed peas, which originated in West Africa and are a part of New Year’s traditions in the South. In this hearty version, the beans are cooked with burnt ends. A standout item is the juicy, well-seasoned chicken leg quarters. Small but impressive upgrades—such as toasted slices of Pullman sourdough instead of generic white bread—seal the deal.
Method: Pecan; offset smoker
Pitmaster: Damien Brockway, 38; Omari Mackey, 27; Wesley Robinson, 28
Pro-tip: If you’re a fan of subtle heat, grab some spicy smoked peanuts as a snack.
Former fine-dining chef Damien Brockway shows off his barbecue chops and nods to his ancestors with West African spices and unexpected cuts of meat.