Interviews

Interview: Alice Lassaude of Meat Fight

Nov 2, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Alice Lassaude. Image from her Facebook page Alice Lassaude is an incredibly funny writer with a James Beard award to show for it. She’s also the Meat Queen of Meat Fight, or more properly, the CEO of Meat Fight, Inc. Meat Fight is a barbecue…

Interview: Arnis Robbins of Evie Mae’s Bar-B-Que

Aug 26, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Mallory and Arnis Robbins. Photo by Wyatt McSpadden Owner/Pitmaster: Evie Mae’s Bar-B-Que; Opened 2015 Age: 32 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Oak Arnis and Mallory Robbins opened Evie Mae’s Bar-B-Que last year in Wolfforth. They started in a food trailer along the highway, and quickly gained a following. A year…

Interview: Dwight Harvey of Off The Bone Barbeque

May 3, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner/Pitmaster: Off the Bone Barbeque; Opened 2009 Age: 70 Smoker: Wood-Fired Rotisserie Smoker Wood: Pecan and Mesquite Off the Bone was once a tiny joint in a neighborhood without much of an identity. Since it opened seven years ago, The Cedars has grown into a destination, and the barbecue…

Interview: Laura Loomis of Two Bros. BBQ

Apr 25, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Pitmaster: Two Bros. BBQ; Opened 2009 Age: 28 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Oak A few years ago, Laura Loomis didn’t think much of Texas barbecue. Neither cooking nor eating it was a big deal in her family, and she admits to never really having a favorite joint growing up.

Interview: Johan Fritzell of Holy Smoke BBQ

Feb 2, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner/Pitmaster: Holy Smoke BBQ; Opened 2014 Age: 43 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Oak Swedes love to grill, but low-and-slow, Texas-style barbecue is a concept so foreign that only one restaurant in the country serves it. They opened in 2014 when Johan Fritzell turned his passion into a rural barbecue stop in a…

Interview: John Rivers of 4 Rivers Smokehouse

Sep 23, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner/Pitmaster: 4 Rivers Smokehouse; Opened 2009 Age: 49 Smoker: Gas-fired rotisserie Wood: Hickory Sitting with a 2003 copy of the Texas Monthly Top 50, John Rivers occupied a table inside Rusty Taco in Dallas waiting for me. His travel schedule didn’t allow for a barbecue lunch, so bacon, eggs, cheese, and avocado…

How the East Was Won

Jul 8, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

TMBBQ welcomes guest writer Megan Giller who takes us to Japan for some Texas barbecue.  Craig White. Photo from White Smoke’s Facebook page. Craig White is a Texan. He’s a pitmaster and an expert in smoked meats, and like many of his breed he can be secretive.

Interview: Bennie Washington of Whup’s Boomerang Bar-B-Q

Jun 24, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner/Pitmaster: Whup’s Boomerang Bar-B-Q; Opened 2000 Age: 64 Smoker: Wood-fired Offset Smoker Wood: Mesquite, Post Oak, and Pecan Bennie Washington’s business may only be fifteen years old, but his barbecue experience goes back four decades. As a delivery truck driver for Pepsi, barbecue was a hobby, then a short-lived foray…

Interview: Marshall Prichard of Sammy’s BBQ

Jun 10, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner/Pitmaster: Sammy’s BBQ; Opened 1992 Age: 45 Smoker: Wood-Fired Rotisserie Wood: Hickory Marshall Prichard could pass for a decade younger than his forty-five years. Somehow the barbecue business has been kind to him in the aging process. He was there on day one when Sammy’s BBQ opened in 1992, and he…

Interview: Gary Williams of Gary’s BBQ

May 27, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

  Former Owner: Gary’s Barbeque Age: 75 When he was twenty-six, Gary Williams said doctors told him he was bipolar and diagnosed him with depression and a chemical imbalance. “That’s a load, but I made it. I had a great doctor,” he told me while we sat across from…

Interview: Roland Lindsey of Bodacious Bar-B-Q

May 13, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Founder: Bodacious Bar-B-Q; Opened 1968 Age: 76 Smoker: Wood-fired Offset Smoker Wood: Oak Roland Lindsey went from running the pits for his dad in Dallas when he was fifteen, to running a chain of barbecue joints in (mostly) East Texas. He officially started Bodacious Bar-B-Q in Longview in 1968, and it has grown significantly…

Interview: Edward Davila of Davila’s BBQ

Apr 29, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner/Pitmaster: Davila’s BBQ; Opened 1959 Age: 65 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Mesquite Edward Davila has just hit retirement age, but he can’t imagine life without working at the barbecue joint. He’s been doing it since he was a boy, and now he’s teaching his son to follow in his…

Interview: LeAnn Mueller of La Barbecue

Mar 25, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner: La Barbecue; Opened 2012 Age: 42 LeAnn Mueller hails from a famous barbecue family, but all she ever wanted was to be a professional photographer. Now she has the photography career and one of the state’s most highly regarded barbecue joints, which is ironic for someone who…

Interview: Trent Brooks of Brooks’ Place

Mar 18, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner/Pitmaster: Brooks’ Place; Opened 2009 Age: 45 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Red Oak, Pecan, Hickory, and Mesquite Brooks’ Place isn’t exactly easy to get to, but that’s part of its charm. Cypress is at least a thirty minute drive from downtown Houston. It’s a destination,…

Interview: James Davis of Davis Meat Market

Mar 4, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner/Pitmaster: Davis Meat Market; Opened 1988 Age: 76 Smoker: Gas-fired Rotisserie Smoker Wood: Oak I rang a buzzer outside this bright red metal building in Houston’s Fifth Ward, and owner James Davis met me at the door. As soon as I stepped inside the smell of…

Interview: Tim Byres of Smoke

Feb 25, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Co-Owner/Chef: Smoke; Opened 2009 Age: 39 Smoker: Wood-fired Offset Smoker Wood: Various Tim Byres is a man who is hard to pin down, mainly because he despises labels. He has been chef, pitmaster, author, culinary diplomat, and almost a food stylist. Six years ago he opened Smoke in West Dallas along with…

Interview: Michael Hernandez of Hays Co. Bar-B-Que

Feb 11, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner/Pitmaster: Hays Co. Bar-B-Que; Opened 2007 Age: 41 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Post Oak In just eight short years, Michael Hernandez has gone from complete barbecue newbie to running one of the best barbecue joints in Texas. He was a fast learner and was dedicated to learning a…

Interview: Shane Wilkinson and Lynn Owens of Bartley’s BBQ

Jan 28, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Business: Bartley’s BBQ; Opened 1968 Owner: Lynn Owens Pitmaster: Shane Wilkinson, 36 Smoker: Wood-Fired Rotisserie Pit Wood: Hickory Bartley’s BBQ has changed hands a number of times since it opened in 1968, and it was forced to change locations in the nineties. Shane Wilkinson is the pitmaster, and son-in-law of owner…

Interview: Eddie Deen of Eddie Deen and Co.

Jan 21, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner/Pitmaster: Eddie Deen and Co.; Opened 1994 Age: 58 Smoker: Wood Fired Rotisserie Smoker Wood: Hickory In the last twenty years, Eddie Deen has quietly built a barbecue empire. His restaurants include Crossroads BBQ in Arlington, Hickory Roots BBQ in Terrell, and Eddie Deen’s BBQ in Rockwall. There’s also a giant…

Interview: Jamie Geer of Jambo Pits

Jan 14, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner: Jambo Pits; Opened 2007 Age: 59 Jamie Geer isn’t some one-dimensional competition barbecue cook. After a career in welding, he started building smokers. They were some of the prettiest ones out there, but also made other cooks a lot more competitive. These days you don’t have to…

Interview: Chris Manning of Smokey Joe’s BBQ

Dec 17, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Chris Manning, Siretha Davis, and Earl Harris Owner: Smokey Joe’s BBQ; Opened 1985 Age: 24 Smoker: Wood-fired Brick Smoker Wood: Hickory Thirty years is a long time to keep a barbecue joint going, but Chris Manning wasn’t even born when Smokey Joe’s opened in 1985. The twenty-four year old swore…

Interview: Samuel Jones of Skylight Inn

Oct 29, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Samuel Jones (right) with NC BBQ legend Ed Mitchell (left) Co-Owner/Pitmaster: Skylight Inn; Opened 1947 in Ayden, North Carolina Age: 33 Cooker: Direct heat brick pit Wood: Oak and Hickory Samuel Jones is part of a North Carolina family that was cooking barbecue back in the nineteenth century. He’s been at the…

Interview: Leon O’Neal of Leon’s World’s Finest In & Out Bar-B-Que

Oct 8, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner/Pitmaster: Leon’s World’s Finest In & Out Bar-B-Que; Opened 1987 Age: 74 Smoker: Wood-fired Rotisserie Smoker Wood: Post Oak Leon O’Neal didn’t get into the barbecue business until he was forty-five years old, but he’s managed to be successful in Galveston for nearly three decades in a converted…

Interview: Johnny Fugitt of Barbecue Rankings

Sep 24, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Photo from Fugitt’s Facebook page Writer: 100 Best Barbecue Restaurants in America Age: 29 Johnny Fugitt is nearing the end of a one year tour around the country looking for the best barbecue joints in the country – one hundred of them to be exact. He was…

Interview: Jimmy Harris of David’s Barbecue

Sep 10, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner/Pitmaster: David’s Barbecue; Opened 1988 Age: 49 Smoker: Wood-fired Rotisserie Smoker Wood: Hickory Jimmy Harris doesn’t have much time for barbecue reviewers. “The real judge is that cash register.” And it hasn’t let him down for over two decades since he and his…

Interview: Cliff Payne of Cousin’s BBQ

Aug 20, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner/Pitmaster: Cousin’s BBQ; Opened 1983 Age: 59 Smoker: Wood-fired Rotisserie Smoker Wood: Hickory & Pecan As the name suggests, Cousin’s BBQ is about family. Calvin “Bootsie” Payne III opened the place on McCart Avenue in Fort Worth in 1983 along with his wife and three of his…

Interview: Nina Sells of Smitty’s Market

Jul 30, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner: Smitty’s Market; Opened 1999 Age: 64 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Oak There’s plenty more to Smitty’s Market in Lockhart (formerly Kreuz Market) than the family split that occurred fifteen years ago. Nina Sells grew up in…

Interview: Ronnie Killen of Killen’s Barbecue

Jul 23, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner/Pitmaster: Killen’s Barbecue; Opened 2014 Age: 47 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit, Wood-Fired Rotisserie Smoker Wood: Oak, Pecan, Hickory, and Mesquite Last week, we reviewed Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland. It received one of the highest ratings on TMBBQ, which…

Interview: Roy & Tim Hutchins of Hutchins BBQ

Jul 16, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner/Pitmaster: Hutchins BBQ; Opened 1978 (current location 1991) Age: Roy 65, Tim 33 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Pecan and Oak Roy Hutchins started his family in the barbecue business in 1978 with a tiny smokehouse in Princeton, Texas. Since then his…

Interview: Greg Gatlin of Gatlin’s BBQ

Jul 9, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Photo by Nicholas McWhirter Owner/Pitmaster: Gatlin’s BBQ; Opened 2010 Age: 34 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Hickory Greg Gatlin went from breaking up pass plays as a member of the Rice Owls to the world of corporate real estate, but he…

Interview: Will Buckman of Corkscrew BBQ

Jul 2, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Pitmaster: Corkscrew BBQ; Opened 2011 Age: 35 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Red Oak “If I’m not here, we’re closed.” That’s why Will Buckman doesn’t take many vacation days away from Corkscrew BBQ. The hours are long, which leaves just…

Interview: Will Fleischman of Lockhart Smokehouse

Jun 25, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Pitmaster: Lockhart Smokehouse, Plano; Opened 2014 Age: 42 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Oak Will Fleischman has tattoos and steel hoops in his ears, but his most distinguishing feature is the beard. He’s hard to miss when behind the counter slicing, but…

Interview: Lance Kirkpatrick of Stiles Switch BBQ

Jun 18, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Pitmaster: Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew; Opened 2011 Age: 44 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Post Oak Lance Kirkpatrick didn’t grow up cooking barbecue. He didn’t come from a long line of barbecue cooks, but at the age of thirty-one he answered the…

Interview: Steve Kapchinskie of Martin’s Place

Jun 11, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner/Pitmaster: Martin’s Place; Opened 1925 (current location 1939) Age: 57 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Oak A Kapchinskie has been cooking barbecue at Martin’s Place in Bryan, Texas since 1925. That makes it older than Black’s BBQ in…

Interview: Kirby Hyden of Kirby’s Barbeque

Jun 4, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner/Pitmaster: Kirby’s Barbeque; opened 1991 (2007 in current location) Age: 59 Smoker: Offset steel smokers Wood: Oak Until Anna Nicole Smith came along, the most famous area resident of Limestone County was Cynthia Ann Parker. She was abducted from Fort Parker at a…

Interview: Joe Davidson of Oklahoma Joe’s Bar-B-Cue

May 28, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner/Pitmaster: Oklahoma Joe’s Bar-B-Cue; Opened 2011 Age: 52 Smoker: Gas-Fired Rotisserie Smoker Wood: Pecan Joe Davidson has been involved in all aspects of the barbecue world. He became a successful entrepreneur when his smoker company got off the ground in the…

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

May 21, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Photo by Nicolas McWhirter Owner/Pitmaster: Virgie’s Bar-B-Que; Opened 2005 Age: 49 Smoker: Wood-Fired Offset Smoker Wood: Post Oak On Virgie’s website they have a brief description of their restaurant, but what has stuck with me was their promise…

Interview: Tim Rattray of The Granary

May 14, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner/Pitmaster/Chef: The Granary; Opened 2012 Age: 31 Smoker: Wood-Fired Rotisserie Smoker Wood: Live Oak  There isn’t another barbecue joint in Texas with as many menus to deal with as The Granary. They have a lunch menu with traditional barbecue items and a rotating…

Interview: Nicole Davenport

May 7, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Pitmaster: BBQ Pitmasters (2010), Sugar & Smoke (2012), Chopped (2012) Age: 43 I visited Sugar & Smoke restaurant in Fredericksburg in early 2012. That’s the first time I was introduced to Nicole Davenport. The menu was long, with only a few items of true barbecue. When…

Interview: Buzzie Hughes of Buzzie’s Bar-B-Q

Apr 30, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Photo by Robert J. Lerma Owner/Pitmaster: Buzzie’s Bar-B-Q, opened 1993 (current location since 1997) Age: 54 Smoker: Wood-fired smoker Wood: Live Oak I had just started a phone conversation with Harold “Buzzie” Hughes. “Let her rip potato chip” was his way of getting our interview kicked off. Buzzie is a…

Interview: Steve Olson of Hidden Canyon Farm

Apr 23, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Steve Olson from one of many NAMP videos Owner: Hidden Canyon Farm in Lyons, New York Author: Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications (IMPS) If you’ve ever purchased a cut of meat then you’ve been impacted by IMPS. IMPS, or the Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications are the…

Interview: Thomas Abramowicz of The Beast

Apr 16, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner: The Beast: Maison Deviandes Fumees, opened 2014 Age: 31 Smoker: Wood-fired rotisserie smoker (once it’s delivered) Wood: Oak I was in line for the bathroom at Hill Country BBQ Market in New York when a man who recognized me approached. He wanted to know if I could…

Interview: John Raven PhB

Apr 9, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Title: Commissioner of Barbecue, PhB Age: 76 “Allow me to introduce myself. I am John Raven. I am the individual who has done more for barbecue than anyone else.” Those were the first three sentences in a letter I received about a year ago. It was the first letter…

Interview: J. D. Bost of Jasper’s Bar-B-Q

Apr 2, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Pitmaster: Jasper’s Bar-B-Q, opened 1915 (or 1918) Age: 52 Smoker: Gas-fired rotisserie smoker Wood: Pecan and Oak About six weeks ago I sat down with J. D. Bost at Jasper’s Bar-B-Q in Waco. He’s the general manager of this nearly century-old barbecue restaurant on Elm Street started by an…

Interview: Matt Hamilton of Local Yocal Market

Mar 26, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner: Local Yocal Farm to Market in McKinney, opened 2010 Age: 37 Matt Hamilton grew up on a ranch in southern Oklahoma, but just a few years back he was using his college degree in the corporate world. It wasn’t until 2009 that he decided to go full bore into…

Interview: Ernestine Edmond of Mama E’s BBQ

Mar 19, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Owner/Pitmaster: Mama E’s BBQ & Home Cooking, opened 2006 Age: 61 Smoker: Wood-fired offset smoker Wood: Pecan, Oak, Pear Ernestine 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…