Brisket

TMBBQFest, “23 Pitmasters in 23 Days:” Snow’s Barbecue

Oct 20, 2011 By RL Reeves Jr

Editor’s Note: The Texas Monthly BBQ Festival is almost here! Each day until then, we’ll be talking to one of the featured pitmasters, with questions from TM staffers, esteemed BBQ experts, Twitter followers and you, the readers of this blog. Today we bring you Kerry Bexley, 44, of Snow's Barbecue in Lexington, Texas [ed: while Tootsie Tomanetz is the pitmaster, Kerry gets the ball rolling on Friday night 'til Tootsie comes in at 2 a.m. on Saturdays.] For more info, visit their page on TMBBQ.com. Photo courtesy Daniel Vaughn What is your heat source? We only use oak wood and we cook our briskets on indirect heat. All other meats are slow cooked over a bed of coals. Why oak? Oak is plentiful in our area—Lee County, Texas. Who did you learn your craft from? I actually learned from Miss  Tootsie who has more than 45 years in the game. What's your signature meat? We take pride in everything we do but our brisket is the most popular item, after that would be our signature sausage, then chicken, pork and ribs, special care is taken with everything we do. Sauce or no sauce? We offer our own blend of sauce on the table but we do not put any on during cooking process. We use a dry rub on our meat.

TMBBQFest, “23 Pitmasters in 23 Days:” Hard Eight BBQ

Oct 18, 2011 By Alana Peden

Editor’s Note: The Texas Monthly BBQ Festival is almost here! Each day until then, we’ll be talking to one of the featured pitmasters, with questions from TM staffers, esteemed BBQ experts, Twitter followers and you, the readers of this blog. Today we bring you Chad Decker, 38, of Hard Eight BBQ in Stephenville, Brady, and Coppell. For more info, visit their page on TMBBQ.com. What is your heat source? Strictly mesquite wood. We burn it down in the incinerator until we get good coals, and then we take the coals from our heat box and shovel them and spread them out underneath our meat. Mesquite always gives the barbecue a good flavor. We derive from the Hill Country area, and mesquite wood tends to be the most favored flavor of meat down there. We’ve found it to be pretty popular up here in the North Texas area as well. Who did you learn your craft from? My dad, and my family. We grew up there in Llano, and this is the way we cook. This is how everybody does for every FFA meeting, livestock show, backyard barbeque, church on Sunday; everybody does this the same way. So that’s where I learned it. Did you previously work at another BBQ joint? I worked at Cooper’s for a little bit. You know, just in the summer there in Llano. One summer, three or four weeks there, it wasn’t a long term deal. I started this place with my mother-in-law and father-in-law, Phillip and Vicki Nivens. What’s your signature meat? A lot of people really do like our ribs. Our ribs are one of our main items. Of course, being a barbeque place, brisket and sausage are the most popular. But as far as one of our signature items, I’d say our ribs, and then we have our brush poppers. A brush popper is a small piece of turkey breast, wrapped with a jalapeno onion, then wrapped in bacon, and then grilled over mesquite coals. Do you make your own sausage? We have our own sausage recipe. It’s a beef-pork mixture that we wanted to be eaten as a meal. Somebody can come in here and have it as a meal, instead of a side item like most people do. I’ve got customers now that love our sausage so much they’ll just say, “Give me half a link of that,” and that’s all they want. It’s not that big, greasy, overwhelming, when-you-bite-into-the-grease-just-shoots-down-the-back-of-your-throat, it’s not that way. We use more of a coarse grind, so you get a taste of the meat itself. You get to actually taste the texture of the meat that’s used in the grind.

TMBBQFest, “23 Pitmasters in 23 Days:” Coleman’s BBQ

Oct 17, 2011 By Elizabeth Castro

Editor’s Note: The Texas Monthly BBQ Festival is almost here! Each day until then, we’ll be talking to one of the featured pitmasters, with questions from TM staffers, esteemed BBQ experts, Twitter followers and you, the readers of this blog. Today we bring you Wayne Coleman, 43, of Coleman's in Clarksville. For more info, visit their page on TMBBQ.com. What is your heat source? We use a fire oven and hickory. It’s the trademark that we decided to use. Hickory smoke. Who did you learn your craft from? I started at Coleman’s and have been in business 39 years. I learned at probably about 10, my dad taught me. What’s your signature meat? Beef. We smoke it and put sauce on it. Pretty much a family recipe. Sauce or no sauce? Sauce. We use a thin sauce, not thick. We prefer it. A lot people like our sauce, 'cause most of the time they prefer bread. They always want more bread and more sauce. The sauce has been around for 39 years, ever since we've been here. Do you make your own sausage? No, we buy it. Slow and low or high and faster? What temperature do you generally try to maintain? I like slow and low, it cooks it better to me and it always does. It’s the way we been doing it; We cook it for 15-16 hours.

TMBBQFest, “23 Pitmasters in 23 Days:” Louie Mueller BBQ

Oct 14, 2011 By Elizabeth Castro

Editor’s Note: The Texas Monthly BBQ Festival is almost here! Each day until then, we’ll be talking to one of the featured pitmasters, with questions from TM staffers, esteemed BBQ experts, Twitter followers and you, the readers of this blog. Today we bring you Wayne Mueller, 46, of Louie Mueller BBQ in Taylor. For more info, visit their page on TMBBQ.com. What is your heat source and what type of wood do you use? We use oak wood for all of our heat sources. It’s an abundant hard wood source here in our region. It provides a smoke that isn’t overpowering—it’s subtle but distinct. It works well for us and it’s readily available. There is plenty of it, so we don’t have to constantly change what type of wood we use, which would ultimately change how our product tastes. Who did you learn your craft from? Well, I started working in the family restaurant when my father took over from his father in 1972, when I was 8 years old. I worked in the restaurant until I left town to go to college, so about 10 or 11 years. I came back in 2007, when my father was ready to retire and we wanted to insure the restaurant stayed in the family. So I divested myself from an agency in Houston and moved back to Taylor. What’s your signature meat? Brisket is our number one entrée. I don’t want to say we have a cult following because that has a negative connotation, but we also have strong following of our beef ribs and sausages. Sauce or no sauce? No, we use a dry rub. We do offer a sauce, but it’s more of a complimentary hydration fluid. It doesn’t cover the meat. It’s not a thick, viscous sauce you would find in the south or anywhere else – like a ketchup kind of covering. Instead, it’s primarily made of the rubs. So it acts like a compliment to the meat instead of covering it up in sauce.

TMBBQFest, “23 Pitmasters in 23 Days:” Opie’s BBQ

Oct 13, 2011 By Jessica Huff

Editor’s Note: The Texas Monthly BBQ Festival is almost here! Each day until then, we’ll be talking to one of the featured pitmasters, with questions from TM staffers, esteemed BBQ experts, Twitter followers and you, the readers of this blog. Today we bring you Marco Oglesby, 30, of Opie's BBQ in Spicewood. For more info, visit their page on TMBBQ.com. Photo by Daniel Vaughn Who did you learn your craft from? To be honest, before I started working at Opie’s, I never used smoker before. I used a backyard circle grill with my dad, but when I worked at a gas station I became friend’s with the owner of Opie’s; when they had a spot open up, I jumped at the opportunity to start working there. Mike, the pitmaster who was already there, taught me how to use the smoker, and that was pretty much how I started. I’ve always loved BBQ, and I was born and raised in Austin, so I’ve just always cooked it. What's your signature meat? I like everything we cook. However, I’d say our most popular meat is our sweet and spicy baby back ribs. Sauce or no sauce? No, I don’t use sauce. The baby back ribs are the only thing we cook with sauce. But me personally? I think if you cook meat properly, the simpler the better. I prefer to taste the meat. Slow and low or high and fast(er)? We usually cook at about 250 degrees.We used to cook a bit hotter than that, but now we go low and slow. We do the briskets overnight, ribs for about three hours, and the chicken usually takes a couple hours.

TMBBQFest, “23 Pitmasters in 23 Days”: Big Daddy’s Roadhouse BBQ

Oct 12, 2011 By Stephanie Kuo

Editor’s Note: The Texas Monthly BBQ Festival is almost here! Each day until then, we’ll be talking to one of the featured pitmasters, with questions from TM staffers, esteemed BBQ experts, Twitter followers and you, the readers of this blog. Today we bring you Joe Arriago, 33 of Big Daddy’s Roadhouse BBQ in Lavon. For more info, visit their page on TMBBQ.com. Photograph by Daniel Vaughn. Who did you learn your craft from? We went to a school for this, and my boss paid for it. And everyday I try to learn more. We try to do the most we can here. I’ve been working here for all 16 years, and I love it. I love my job. There’s always something new every time to learn. What’s your signature meat? We got brisket, sausage, turkey, ham, ribs, chicken and pulled pork. We have all those seven different kinds of meats. My favorites are the brisket and the ribs. I think those are the best here at Big Daddy’s. Sauce or no sauce? I like the meat with no sauce. Sometimes, with the meat we cook, you don’t need the sauce. They already come in with real good flavor. But we do have a barbecue sauce here for customers. It’s Big Daddy’s own recipe. It tastes real good. It’s sweet sauce.

TMBBQFest, “23 Pitmasters in 23 Days”: Cousin’s Bar-B-Q

Oct 11, 2011 By Jessica Huff

Editor’s Note: The Texas Monthly BBQ Festival is almost here! Each day until then, we’ll be talking to one of the featured pitmasters, with questions from TM staffers, esteemed BBQ experts, Twitter followers and you, the readers of this blog. Today we bring you Cliff Payne, 58, of Cousin's Bar-B-Q, which has six locations around the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, including two nestled inside DFW Airport. Cousin's sausage and beef ribs both won People's Choice at last year's festival. For more info, visit their page on TMBBQ.com. What kind of wood do you use? Green hickoryWho did you learn your craft from? My dad started in the restaurant business in 1967 when we opened a seafood restaurant in San Antonio. My dad would work about one hundred hours a week so we’d go to the restaurant to visit him, and if we went to the restaurant we had to work. I started when I was twelve. I went from scrubbing floors and peeling potatoes to helping cook. We did that for about fifteen years, then we decided in 1982 to get into the barbecue business. Dad learned it from Walter Jetton, he was the big barbecue man, and my dad worked part time for him. In ‘83 we opened in Fort Worth and have been doing it ever since.What’s the best thing you smoke? Well, brisket is our biggest seller and everyone loves our ribs, but each one of our products has something special about it. We’ve got the best chicken in Fort Worth and we make our own sausage that won in Austin last year. So probably brisket, ribs, chicken and then sausage.Sauce or no sauce? We put sauce on the side. All the barbecue I eat there’s no sauce on it though.Do you make your own sausage? Yes, in two styles, smoked German sausage and jalapeno pepper sausage. About twenty years ago we brought over a young man from Germany—a sausage master, and he got us in the right direction with the German sausage with some trial and error. Our other kind is a hot link, with jalapeno and cheddar in it, which won at the festival last year. People were really talking about that. We make everything in small batches because it is all hands-on. We don’t have the big equipment to mass produce it.

TMBBQFest, “23 Pitmasters in 23 Days”: Buzzie’s Bar-B-Que

Oct 10, 2011 By Willa Cockshutt

Editor's Note: The Texas Monthly BBQ Festival is almost here! Each day until then, we'll be talking to one of the featured pitmasters, with questions from TM staffers, esteemed BBQ experts, Twitter followers and you, the readers of this blog. Today, it's 29 year-old Tad Honeycutt of Buzzie’s BBQ in Kerrville -- co-winner of last year's People's Choice award for brisket. For more info, visit their page on TMBBQ.com.What is your heat source? Oak wood only.Who did you learn your craft from? My stepfather Buzzie Hughes (pictured) taught me everything he knows. Buzzie grew up cookin’ and is self-taught, with a German background. Every weekend they [Buzzie and Tad's mom] would have big parties doing barbecue. The parties grew and grew and before we knew it we had two hundred people at the house. My mom said, "look we’re going to have to start charging people or start a restaurant."What’s your signature meat? Brisket - slow smoked, low temp. 275 degrees.Sauce or no sauce? We offer a tomato-base homemade barbecue sauce on the side. We've tried doing marinades. We just feel like our product comes out a lot better without injecting them with anything. We’ve just never got into it.What non-secret ingredients are in your spice rub, if you use one Fajita seasoning.

TMBBQFest, “23 Pitmasters in 23 Days”: Casstevens B-B-Q & Catering

Oct 7, 2011 By Emily Mitchell

Editor's Note: The Texas Monthly BBQ Festival is almost here! Each day until then, we'll be talking to one of the featured pitmasters, with questions from TM staffers, esteemed BBQ experts, Twitter followers and you, the readers of this blog (fire away in comments section). Today it's Angela Ashley, 54, of Casstevens B-B-Q & Catering, which is tucked inside a Diamond Shamrock "Cash and Carry" in the town of Lillian, just southeast of Fort Worth. For more info, visit their page on TMBBQ.com. Photograph by Daniel Vaughn What's your heat source? We use mesquite on two pits that are ancient! They are old. We’ve been cooking in those things for as long as I’ve been there and before. And we repair the ones that we have because we get much better service. When it develops a few holes, we get the welder to come out and fix it. Harold Casstevens, the founder, he had these two pits built for his specifications. He started the business in 1976, and was considered the "mayor" of Lillian. He had it up until six years ago, and he sold it to his son-in-law, and then he turned around and sold it to [current owner] Jameson Titus. Who did you learn your craft from? I’ve been here for 13 years. So either you got good at it or you weren’t there anymore! Harold Casstevens taught me everything that I need to know about the pit, and the quality of meat and everything. I worked for him for a lot of years. And he basically taught me how to build a fire, how to tell how hot the pits are, how to get them hot. Because we have one [pit] inside and one [pit] outside. We used to have both of ‘em that sat right on the street because I tell ya, that’s the best advertising that you can have. The pit sitting out front with the mesquite smell coming out… I mean, he taught me that from the very beginning. Instead of going and paying lots of money for your advertising, just keep those pits going all day with that smoke and that smell coming out all day. And he was right. But it’s been so dry, the fire chief from down the road, he said ‘Look. I’m not gonna give you a hard time about the pits…but can you please just move one of ‘em inside?’ So that’s what we did. What’s your signature meat? I will tell you, people come from miles around for our all-beef smoked bologna. I mean, I am not kidding you! You would not believe…it’s crazy. Cass [Casstevens] from the very beginning, he used nothing but all-beef bologna. And that stuff gets hard to find. And so we use all-beef bologna and we smoke it on the pit and we slice it ourselves. And it just hangs off the bun.  And these guys come in, and they will have one or two a day. We’re also very well-known for "Old Ike" hot links.* And when we don’t have ‘em, these guys get upset. And they love the black-brown crust on our brisket. And it really is the best I’ve ever had, and I’m not just sayin’ that.

Photo Preview: John Mueller’s JMueller BBQ Is (Finally!) Almost (Really!) Here

Oct 6, 2011 By Jason Cohen

It's been a long time in the making (a VERY long time in the making): John Mueller, sometimes called the black sheep of the Taylor smoked meat family, is almost back in business here in Austin. Mueller, who used to have a legendary place on Manor Rd. (and famously sold his smoker to Aaron Franklin), has a new trailer at 1501 South 1st St., and the fire has been lit. Visit his web site or follow @jmuellerbbq on Twitter for upcoming details (and while you're at it, follow us). The Smoker "Burning Out" Ribs to Prepare Smoker