Interviews

BBQ |
November 2, 2016

Interview: Alice Lassaude of Meat Fight

Alice Lassaude. Image from her Facebook pageAlice 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 competition

BBQ |
August 26, 2016

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

Mallory and Arnis Robbins. Photo by Wyatt McSpaddenOwner/Pitmaster: Evie Mae’s Bar-B-Que; Opened 2015Age: 32Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired PitWood: OakArnis 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 after opening, they celebrated a new

BBQ |
May 3, 2016

Interview: Dwight Harvey of Off The Bone Barbeque

Owner/Pitmaster: Off the Bone Barbeque; Opened 2009Age: 70Smoker: Wood-Fired Rotisserie SmokerWood: Pecan and MesquiteOff 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 joint has grown with

BBQ |
April 25, 2016

Interview: Laura Loomis of Two Bros. BBQ

Pitmaster: Two Bros. BBQ; Opened 2009Age: 28Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired PitWood: OakA 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. She doesn’t remember eating

BBQ |
February 2, 2016

Interview: Johan Fritzell of Holy Smoke BBQ

Owner/Pitmaster: Holy Smoke BBQ; Opened 2014Age: 43Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired PitWood: OakSwedes 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 field in southwestern Sweden,

BBQ |
September 23, 2015

Interview: John Rivers of 4 Rivers Smokehouse

Owner/Pitmaster: 4 Rivers Smokehouse; Opened 2009Age: 49Smoker: Gas-fired rotisserieWood: HickorySitting 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 on a tortilla became

BBQ |
July 8, 2015

How the East Was Won

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. White

BBQ |
June 24, 2015

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

Owner/Pitmaster: Whup’s Boomerang Bar-B-Q; Opened 2000Age: 64Smoker: Wood-fired Offset SmokerWood: Mesquite, Post Oak, and PecanBennie 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 as a professional in

BBQ |
June 10, 2015

Interview: Marshall Prichard of Sammy’s BBQ

Owner/Pitmaster: Sammy’s BBQ; Opened 1992Age: 45Smoker: Wood-Fired RotisserieWood: HickoryMarshall 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 still brings a youthful

BBQ |
May 27, 2015

Interview: Gary Williams of Gary’s BBQ

 Former Owner: Gary’s BarbequeAge: 75When 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 one another at

BBQ |
May 13, 2015

Interview: Roland Lindsey of Bodacious Bar-B-Q

Founder: Bodacious Bar-B-Q; Opened 1968Age: 76Smoker: Wood-fired Offset SmokerWood: OakRoland 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 since then.Since it was

BBQ |
April 29, 2015

Interview: Edward Davila of Davila’s BBQ

Owner/Pitmaster: Davila’s BBQ; Opened 1959Age: 65Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired PitWood: MesquiteEdward 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 footsteps.After our interview, Davila wanted

BBQ |
March 25, 2015

Interview: LeAnn Mueller of La Barbecue

Owner: La Barbecue; Opened 2012Age: 42LeAnn 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 wanted nothing

BBQ |
March 18, 2015

Interview: Trent Brooks of Brooks’ Place

Owner/Pitmaster: Brooks’ Place; Opened 2009Age: 45Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired PitWood: Red Oak, Pecan, Hickory, and MesquiteBrooks’ 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, and those in line

BBQ |
March 4, 2015

Interview: James Davis of Davis Meat Market

Owner/Pitmaster: Davis Meat Market; Opened 1988Age: 76Smoker: Gas-fired Rotisserie SmokerWood: OakI 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 raw meat was present, but not

BBQ |
February 25, 2015

Interview: Tim Byres of Smoke

Co-Owner/Chef: Smoke; Opened 2009Age: 39Smoker: Wood-fired Offset SmokerWood: VariousTim 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 Chris Zielke and Chris

BBQ |
February 11, 2015

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

Owner/Pitmaster: Hays Co. Bar-B-Que; Opened 2007Age: 41Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired PitWood: Post OakIn 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 new craft that he

BBQ |
January 28, 2015

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

Business: Bartley’s BBQ; Opened 1968Owner: Lynn OwensPitmaster: Shane Wilkinson, 36Smoker: Wood-Fired Rotisserie PitWood: HickoryBartley’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 Lynn Owens, and he jokes that

BBQ |
January 21, 2015

Interview: Eddie Deen of Eddie Deen and Co.

Owner/Pitmaster: Eddie Deen and Co.; Opened 1994Age: 58Smoker: Wood Fired Rotisserie SmokerWood: HickoryIn 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 event space south of

BBQ |
January 14, 2015

Interview: Jamie Geer of Jambo Pits

Owner: Jambo Pits; Opened 2007Age: 59Jamie 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 look very

BBQ |
October 29, 2014

Interview: Samuel Jones of Skylight Inn

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

BBQ |
October 8, 2014

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

Owner/Pitmaster: Leon’s World’s Finest In & Out Bar-B-Que; Opened 1987Age: 74Smoker: Wood-fired Rotisserie SmokerWood: Post OakLeon 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 house that once contained

BBQ |
September 24, 2014

Interview: Johnny Fugitt of Barbecue Rankings

Photo from Fugitt’s Facebook pageWriter: 100 Best Barbecue Restaurants in AmericaAge: 29Johnny 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 sick of all

BBQ |
September 10, 2014

Interview: Jimmy Harris of David’s Barbecue

Owner/Pitmaster: David’s Barbecue; Opened 1988Age: 49Smoker: Wood-fired Rotisserie SmokerWood: HickoryJimmy 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 dad opened the

BBQ |
August 20, 2014

Interview: Cliff Payne of Cousin’s BBQ

Owner/Pitmaster: Cousin’s BBQ; Opened 1983Age: 59Smoker: Wood-fired Rotisserie SmokerWood: Hickory & PecanAs 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 children. His son Cliff

BBQ |
July 30, 2014

Interview: Nina Sells of Smitty’s Market

Owner: Smitty’s Market; Opened 1999Age: 64Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired PitWood: OakThere’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 this barbecue joint, and

BBQ |
July 23, 2014

Interview: Ronnie Killen of Killen’s Barbecue

Owner/Pitmaster: Killen’s Barbecue; Opened 2014Age: 47Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit, Wood-Fired Rotisserie SmokerWood: Oak, Pecan, Hickory, and MesquiteLast week, we reviewed Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland. It received one of the highest ratings on TMBBQ, which likely wasn’t enough for

BBQ |
July 16, 2014

Interview: Roy & Tim Hutchins of Hutchins BBQ

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

BBQ |
July 9, 2014

Interview: Greg Gatlin of Gatlin’s BBQ

Photo by Nicholas McWhirterOwner/Pitmaster: Gatlin’s BBQ; Opened 2010Age: 34Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired PitWood: HickoryGreg Gatlin went from breaking up pass plays as a member of the Rice Owls to the world of corporate real estate, but he always knew he wanted to

BBQ |
July 2, 2014

Interview: Will Buckman of Corkscrew BBQ

Pitmaster: Corkscrew BBQ; Opened 2011Age: 35Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired PitWood: 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 a little time each

BBQ |
June 25, 2014

Interview: Will Fleischman of Lockhart Smokehouse

Pitmaster: Lockhart Smokehouse, Plano; Opened 2014Age: 42Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired PitWood: OakWill 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 it might be a

BBQ |
June 18, 2014

Interview: Lance Kirkpatrick of Stiles Switch BBQ

Pitmaster: Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew; Opened 2011Age: 44Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired PitWood: Post OakLance 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 most important newspaper ad

BBQ |
June 11, 2014

Interview: Steve Kapchinskie of Martin’s Place

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

BBQ |
June 4, 2014

Interview: Kirby Hyden of Kirby’s Barbeque

Owner/Pitmaster: Kirby’s Barbeque; opened 1991 (2007 in current location)Age: 59Smoker: Offset steel smokersWood: OakUntil 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 young age, and her

BBQ |
May 28, 2014

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

Owner/Pitmaster: Oklahoma Joe’s Bar-B-Cue; Opened 2011Age: 52Smoker: Gas-Fired Rotisserie SmokerWood: PecanJoe 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 eighties. He hit his

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 |
May 14, 2014

Interview: Tim Rattray of The Granary

Owner/Pitmaster/Chef: The Granary; Opened 2012Age: 31Smoker: Wood-Fired Rotisserie SmokerWood: 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 daily lunch special that

BBQ |
May 7, 2014

Interview: Nicole Davenport

Pitmaster: BBQ Pitmasters (2010), Sugar & Smoke (2012), Chopped (2012)Age: 43I 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 I asked

BBQ |
April 30, 2014

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

Photo by Robert J. LermaOwner/Pitmaster: Buzzie’s Bar-B-Q, opened 1993 (current location since 1997)Age: 54Smoker: Wood-fired smokerWood: Live OakI 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 man of steadfast opinions on

BBQ |
April 23, 2014

Interview: Steve Olson of Hidden Canyon Farm

Steve Olson from one of many NAMP videosOwner: Hidden Canyon Farm in Lyons, New YorkAuthor: 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 guidelines for most

BBQ |
April 16, 2014

Interview: Thomas Abramowicz of The Beast

Owner: The Beast: Maison Deviandes Fumees, opened 2014Age: 31Smoker: Wood-fired rotisserie smoker (once it’s delivered)Wood: OakI 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 find a Texas pitmaster

BBQ |
April 9, 2014

Interview: John Raven PhB

Title: Commissioner of Barbecue, PhBAge: 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 I received

BBQ |
April 2, 2014

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

Pitmaster: Jasper’s Bar-B-Q, opened 1915 (or 1918)Age: 52Smoker: Gas-fired rotisserie smokerWood: Pecan and OakAbout 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 Italian immigrant. Since the

BBQ |
March 26, 2014

Interview: Matt Hamilton of Local Yocal Market

Owner: Local Yocal Farm to Market in McKinney, opened 2010Age: 37Matt 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 the ranching

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