Black BBQ

BBQ |
May 23, 2014

Eatin’ on Tulsa Time

Last week I went searching for good barbecue in Oklahoma. I wasn’t looking just for barbecue joints in the state, but was instead trying to find a defining factor of how barbecue in Oklahoma is unique to that state. With my wife’s family still living in Oklahoma City, I’d canvassed the

BBQ |
May 21, 2014

Interview: Adrian Handsborough of Virgie’s Bar-B-Que

Photo by Nicolas McWhirterOwner/Pitmaster: Virgie’s Bar-B-Que; Opened 2005Age: 49Smoker: Wood-Fired Offset SmokerWood: Post OakOn Virgie’s website they have a brief description of their restaurant, but what has stuck with me was their promise of a “barbecure.” It’s a

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 13, 2014

Ed’s Smok-N-Q

A accolade from two years back brought me to this renovated Sonic on the east side of San Antonio. A local media outlet (I don’t recall which one) wrote that Ed’s Smok-N-Q served the best brisket in the city. That claim in San Antonio doesn’t carry quite the weight as the same

BBQ |
May 2, 2014

Smokin’ in the Girls’ Room

Arguably the most beloved figure in Texas barbecue is Tootsie Tomanetz, a septuagenarian pitmaster who’s been tending the fires at Snow’s BBQ since it opened in 2003.  She was first discovered by Texas Monthly in 2008, stooped over the hot smoker on the outskirts of Lexington,

BBQ |
March 28, 2014

Barbecue Sequels

If 2013 was the year of the new barbecue joint, 2014 will be the year of barbecue expansion. Some legendary Texas barbecue stalwarts who for decades were happy to be one-offs are looking to write their sequels. Southside Market (1882), in Elgin,

BBQ |
March 19, 2014

Interview: Ernestine Edmond of Mama E’s BBQ

Owner/Pitmaster: Mama E’s BBQ & Home Cooking, opened 2006Age: 61Smoker: Wood-fired offset smokerWood: Pecan, Oak, PearErnestine Edmond has cooked most of her life. She learned about killing and processing chickens from her mother, and her mother-in-law taught her about cleaning a fresh hog. She’s never looked at chitterlings the

BBQ |
February 14, 2014

Texas’s Best BBQ Sandwiches

At Prause Meat Market in La Grange, there is a green paper sign right next to the barbecue counter. It reads “Sorry We Do NOT Make Sandwiches.” It’s a reminder to customers that this is a meat market where meat—smoked or raw—is sold by the pound. If you want a

BBQ |
February 7, 2014

The Antebellum Chef in Texas

Michael Twitty was cold, and his pig wasn’t much warmer. He was six hours into an eight hour cook, and the February winds were whipping across the top of the hill at the French Legation in Austin. A makeshift pit about the size

BBQ |
January 10, 2014

Fargo’s Pit Unveiled

Alan Caldwell, the pitmaster at Fargo’s Pit BBQ in Bryan, has been making great barbecue for fourteen years. And for all of those fourteen years, he has denied people access to his pit room. When he denied my first request to take a look at his pit, in 2010, he

BBQ |
December 11, 2013

Interview: Bob Allen of Bob’s Bar-B-Que

Photo by Nicholas McWhirterOwner/Co-Pitmaster: Bob’s Bar-B-Que, opened 1980Age: 74Smoker: Wood-fired offset smokerWood: HickoryHenderson, Texas is a small town of about 13,000 between Tyler and Nacogdoches in East Texas. This is where Bob Allen was born and raised, and where he aims to stay. He’s seen a lot of

BBQ |
November 6, 2013

Interview: Travis Mayes of Meshack’s Bar-Be-Que

Travis Mayes at his walk-up window.Pitmaster: Meshack’s Bar-Be-Que, opened 2009Age: 64Smoker: Wood-fired Brick Smoker w/ gas assistWood: PecanIt was a Monday morning and Meshack’s was closed like normal. Travis and I had arranged this time to meet since the tasks to get ready for Tuesday were pretty slow-paced. There

BBQ Joint Reviews |
October 22, 2013

Larrie’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que

If you live in Austin, chances are you wouldn’t pass by Larrie’s Smokehouse in Bastrop. Billy’s, Cartwright’s and Fittie’s along busy four-lane Highway 71 may be familiar, but Larrie’s sits on the north side of town along tree-lined Highway 95. Coming south from Elgin the sign is hard to miss.

BBQ |
August 30, 2013

BBQ Anatomy 101: Pork Ribs

The Texas Trinity combo plate—beef, ribs, and sausage—is probably the most commonly served dish at Texas barbecue joints, and usually, the beef brisket gets all the glory. But we should shine a little more light on pork ribs, which are often a joint’s better tasting meat (it’s difficult to perfectly

BBQ Joint Reviews |
August 27, 2013

Harris Bar-B-Que

If you’re headed south on Highway 77 you won’t see the sign for Harris Bar-B-Que, but it doesn’t matter. A huge, black offset smoker will likely be blowing smoke across the road just south of downtown Waxahachie. Kelvin Harris used this smoker when he was darting around Cedar Hill and

BBQ |
July 31, 2013

Interview: Alan Caldwell of Fargo’s Pit BBQ

Owner/Pitmaster: Fargo’s Pit BBQ, opened 2000Age: 50Smoker: Wood-fired offset pitWood: Oak with a bit more mixed inAs we sat at a table inside Fargo’s Pit BBQ in Bryan, I asked owner and pitmaster Alan Caldwell if I could see his pit. He said no. In total I probably asked

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 |
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 |
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 |
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

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

BBQ Joint Reviews |
April 2, 2011

Meshack’s Bar-B-Que

Travis Mayes, the pitmaster at Meshack’s, poked his head out through the side door to ask when he’d get his fifth star. He knows the power that his barbecue has over the locals, and he was feeling his oats today. No wonder with all of the accolades, long

BBQ Joint Reviews |
July 10, 2010

Virgie’s Bar-B-Que

Update: This joint had a fire on 03/11/11, but they have reopened and are back in business. BBQ Snob: “Who is your hot link supplier?” Virgie: “That’s my secret. Are you folks food critics or something?” BBQ Snob: “That’s our secret.”This is how my experience at Virgie’s began

BBQ Joint Reviews |
March 4, 2010

The Smokehouse

As I pondered my order, a surly pitmaster noticed my FCGBBQ T-shirt and made some smart comments about me spying on his joint to get some tips for mine. He didn’t know I was just there to review it, so it was great to talk with him

BBQ Joint Reviews |
February 16, 2010

New Zion Bar-B-Q

Sometimes known as the “Church of the Holy Smoke,” this joint is a destination for BBQ lovers all over the state. It has made it onto countless “best of” lists when Texas BBQ is being discussed, and the church’s incredible story has been told in magazines and television.

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 14, 2009

Baby J’s Bar-B-Que & Fish

Sweet Baby J’s may be a more appropriate name for this joint. The sauce was sweet, the greens were nearly candied, and the tea was downright syrupy. Even cut with half a glass of unsweet tea, this was liquid sugar that required a water chaser.The meats were