Gary Vincek seems to do it all. He doesn’t run a just a barbecue joint, a sausage factory, a meat market, a processing facility, or a bakery. As owner and pitmaster at Vincek’s Smokehouse, he and his crew provide the Southeast Texas town of East Bernard with all of those things. In one place.

In our collective rush to ogle over the latest slice of fatty, prime-grade brisket at a big-city barbecue joint, we sometimes forget the role that small-town barbecue joints provide in their communities. Take, for instance, a visit to Vincek’s on a recent Friday. The most popular order of the day was fried catfish, an option for those who observe Lent. Not only was it a thoughtful addition to the menu—one with the community in mind—the dish was flat-out good. The salty, crispy fish played nicely as the surf to the turf of pecan-smoked barbecue (I was not observing Lent).