A Texas BBQ Podcast highlighting the food, personalities, and traditions of the Lone Star State's smoked meats.
Brothers Jonathan and Justin Fox grew up in Texas, moved to Atlanta, and over time have built an amazing barbecue footprint in that area. From humble beginnings of backyard barbecue parties to eventually opening their first restaurant, the Fox brothers have continued to grow their business. Now fifteen years into being restaurant owners, they opened a massive second location serving their signature menu of barbecue focused favorites with creative touches. As new opportunities have come about for them to grow their brand, they've seized them all while keeping a focus on quality. Never ones to settle, the Fox brothers have now turned their attention to a new counter service style spot they're building in the Brookhaven area north of Atlanta that's slated to open in 2023.
If you've listened to our show you know we love road trips and experiencing different BBQ across the U.S. We traveled through ten states over six days, traversing over 3,400 miles to try over a dozen barbecue places that served different regional styles and visited multiple distilleries for a variety of different experiences. Tune in to hear what stood out along the way and learn a little bit about the different barbecue and bourbon we got to sample. We're proud to partner with Pitts and Spitts for this episode. Please visit www.pittsandspitts.com/tales and use promo code tales for a special spice rub inclusion with your purchase of $500 or more from this trusted Houston pit builder.
We asked our listeners what questions they'd like to ask pitmasters, and as always you came through with some good ones! We sent out questionnaires to several of the best in the barbecue world and many were kind enough to respond. Want to know what Todd David, Lane Milne, Evan LeRoy, Leonard Botello, Arnis Robbins and Joe Zavala have to say about things like tallow, prime grade beef, reheating brisket, their favorite bites in BBQ and more? Tune in for this fun episode. We're proud to partner with Pitts and Spitts for this episode. Please visit www.pittsandspitts.com/tales and use promo code tales for a special spice rub inclusion with your purchase of $500 or more from this trusted Houston pit builder.
Our recent trip to the Rio Grande Valley was filled with so many memorable food experiences. From innovative new school barbecue to classic barbacoa to chef driven tacos and even an over 100 year old gordita place serving out of an alley, it's a trip we'll be thinking about for quite some time. We go over all our stops on this trip and highlight all the standouts. We know the cost of everything in life has gone up considerably over the last few years. Barbecue has certainly not been immune to these rising costs. In this episode we also gives you some tips on how to keep supporting your favorite barbecue places while being mindful that we all have budgets for our disposable income. We're proud to partner with Pitts and Spitts for this episode. Please visit www.pittsandspitts.com/tales and use promo code tales for a special spice rub inclusion with your purchase of $500 or more from this trusted Houston pit builder.
One of the fastest growing barbecue scenes in Texas is taking place in the Rio Grande Valley where local pitmasters are showcasing both the popular modern craft style along with menu items and ingredients they grew up with. We had a chance to sit down with many of the great business owners in this area for a special roundtable episode. Check it out! We're proud to partner with Pitts and Spitts for this episode. Please visit www.pittsandspitts.com/tales and use promo code tales for a special spice rub pack inclusion with your purchase of $500 or more from this trusted Houston pit builder. Follow our roundtable participants on Instagram! @teddysbarbecue @smokecraftersbbq @gwssbbq @elsanchobbq @hicobbqcompany @tghostbbq
When Kris Manning took over Smokey Joe's BBQ from his father Kenneth Manning and Joe Melton, the original owners, he had a delicate balance to strike: balancing the traditions of a restaurant serving the community since 1985 with the desire to improve the overall menu by modernizing the cooking process. Kris along with longtime Smokey Joe's pitmaster Earl Harris eventually swapped out their trusted but troublesome brick pit for well built custom offset smokers. Armed with newfound cooking knowledge provided by the tutelage of the Guess Family BBQ crew, Kris began making changes to some of the menu. The sides on the menu are a great homage to Kris' upbringing and the simply seasoned hickory smoked ribs are a Smokey Joe's staple that will never change, but the brisket they serve today is definitely the more consistent modern style familiar to today's barbecue audience. It's safe to say Kris has done a great job straddling the line between tradition and evolving with the times. Smokey Joes BBQ 6403 South RL Thornton Freeway Dallas, TX 75232. Business Hours: Sunday -- 11am-5pm Monday -- Closed Tuesday -- Closed Wednesday -- 11am-8pm or til Sold Out Thursday -- 11am-8pm or til Sold Out Friday -- 11am-9pm or til Sold Out Saturday -- 11am-9pm or til Sold Out
In 2015 Ryan Zboril bought the well known Houston based pit builder, Pitts and Spitts, and saw an opportunity to grow the brand of this longtime trusted company. Working alongside his National Sales Director, Coy Christoffel, Ryan and the Pitts and Spitts team have stayed true to the core of the business while smartly expanding its product line to appeal to everyone from backyard novices to competition cookers and seasoned pros. Listen to our interview with Ryan and Coy and check out Pitts and Spitts website to see a full range of their product line. Contact them to order your pit or grill and let them know you heard about it on Tales from the Pits! www.pittsandspitts.com
As much as we love Texas barbecue, both the traditional and the modern styles, we've developed a strong affinity and appreciation for the different whole hog preparations in many of the southern states. A curiosity born from a few Houston area pitmasters that had done some whole hog specials over the years, in 2018 we embarked on an ambitious tour through Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia to sample and learn more about wood coal fired whole pig cookery. We returned to Texas with a new perspective on the barbecue served in those different regions. Coincidentally it was not long after this trip that whole hog cooking began gaining traction within Texas and it is fortunately much more readily available these days in the lone star state. That said, nothing compares to experiencing the history of some of the long time establishments. We highly encourage anyone who has an appreciation for BBQ culture or who wants to perhaps cook whole hog to visit as many of these places as possible. We're excited to share that we've planned yet another trip through the south to revisit many of these places as well as try some spots we haven't previously been to. Labor day weekend 2022 we are headed out for round two of #hogtripping and this time we're carving out some time to experience Kentucky's regional BBQ and visit some of our favorite bourbon distilleries! Be sure to follow along on our social media and if you're interested in being a sponsor for this upcoming trip's episodes, reach out to us.
Having been involved in competition barbecue and running pop ups for decades, Derrick Walker is not new to the barbecue world. After years of working his way through the kitchen ranks at a hospital and getting a culinary degree, Derrick and his family launched their passion project, Smoke-A-Holics BBQ. After operating a food truck for a year, the Walkers opened their brick and mortar in Fort Worth just a short distance from where Derrick grew up. The community took an immediate liking to the food and the accolades would soon follow, including making the Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ List in 2021. With a menu that is a welcome combination of barbecue classics that also draws from Derrick's childhood food memories and utilizes his culinary skills, Smoke-A-Holics BBQ has something on the menu to please all palates with their “Tex-Soul” barbecue. Smoke-A-Holics BBQ Tues: 11a-3p (Turkey Leg Tuesday) Wed-Sat: 11a - sold out Instagram: smokeaholicsbbq
Five years ago we launched Tales from the Pits to help tell the stories behind the people in barbecue. Daniel Vaughn's writing and documenting of Texas barbecue has been one of our (and everyone else in the state's) biggest resources in seeking out new places and visiting the classic joints. We were excited to have Daniel join us on this episode to discuss all things barbecue past, present and future, lists, Texas Monthly, and more. A big thanks to Daniel for sitting down with us and to everyone who's tuned in over all these years! Thanks to Texas Monthly BBQ Club for sponsoring this episode. Get 50% off your first year subscription to the TMBBQ Club if you sign up during May for national BBQ month: https://txmnth.ly/3FEvrJu
We were thrilled to have the chance to sit down with Robert F. Moss during our recent trip to South Carolina for the Charleston Wine + Food Festival. Robert is a wealth of culinary knowledge and the research he's done on barbecue history is second to none. Born and raised in South Carolina, Robert is an accomplished author who has had several books published on Barbecue, spirits, and other facets of culinary history. He's an absolute wealth of information and in this episode we discussed topics ranging from modern barbecue, historical barbecue, and Robert's daunting task of composing Southern Living's 50 Best Barbecue Places in the South list. Tune in to hear some great stories on barbecue history and be sure to pick up Robert's incredible books. Go to his website to sign up for his 'Cue Sheet newsletter. Robert F. Moss Twitter: mossr Instagram: robertfmoss Website: robertfmoss.com Thank you to Charleston Wine + Food for helping to facilitate our recordings during this trip Website: charlestonwineandfood.com Audio support provided by Arvaughnna Audio Website: arvaughnnaaudio.com
We joined up with some of our friends in barbecue for a BBQ road trip to some of our favorite old school barbecue joints. For some of us it was a revisit to these classic places and for others it was their first visit. We ended the day in Lockhart where we recorded this episode reflecting on our favorite bites and memorable experiences. We all agreed that while we love modern barbecue, it is great to stop in to the historic places to see where barbecue came from and get a taste of more simple flavors. Thanks to Joe and CJ from Zavala's Barbecue, Jay Arnold from Barbecue, Bets and Beats, and Terry Osborn for joining us on the trip. Stops along the route: City Meat Market (Giddings) Snow's BBQ Kolacny Bar-B-Q Spoetzl Brewery City Market (Gonzales) City Market (Luling) Kreuz Market Smitty's BBQ Thank you to The Texas Monthly BBQ Club for sponsoring this episode. Sign up via the link in our show notes for a 25% off discount on your first year of membership and be on the lookout for new details coming from Texas Monthly on their BBQ festival which will be held in Lockhart this year! Sign up: https://subscription.texasmonthly.com/pubs/TZ/TXP/TXP-bbqclub-discount.jsp?cds_page_id=265055&cds_mag_code=TXP&id=1650774107345&lsid=21132321473027775&vid=1
Hector Garate has combined the inspiration of his heritage, his upbringing, and modern techniques to create a menu at Palmira BBQ in Charleston that produces high quality items from top to bottom. Serving high quality meats and flavorful, carefully crafted sides, Palmira has burst onto the barbecue scene and quickly become one to watch. In addition to being open seven days a week, Hector and his partner chef Graham Calabria have also launched Cienfuegos, a pit building business inspired by the direct heat cookers Hector built to cook the heritage breed hogs he serves at Palmira. Check out Hector's story and be sure to add a stop at Palmira BBQ to your next Charleston trip. Palmira BBQ Instagram: PalmiraBBQ Located inside Port of Call Food Hall 99 S Market St Charleston, SC Special thanks to Charleston Wine + Food, Hed Hi Media, and Arvaughnna Audio for helping to put this episode together. Charleston Wine + Food Instagram: chswineandfood www.charlestonwineandfood.com Arvaughnna Audio Instagram: Arvaughnnaaudio www.Arvaughnnaaudio.com Hed Hi Media Instagram: hed_hi_media
Michael Johnson of Centex Smokers had welding in his blood, growing up with a father who was a professional welder. Though Michael originally resisted the idea of making it into a career, he quickly fell back on his years of training to embark on a successful career in the pipeline welding industry. Growing up in Luling, barbecue was always a part of Michael's life but it wasn't until later that he'd start down the road of pit building. Through a few lucky breaks and word of mouth about the top notch quality of his work, Michael's pit building business grew rapidly and he now makes pits for some of the best in the industry. Tune in to hear Michael's story and contact him via Facebook and Instagram to start your custom pit build! Centex Smokers Facebook: CenTexSmokers Instagram: centex_smokers Sign up via our link to get 25% off the Texas Monthly BBQ Club! https://txmnth.ly/36qfadF
The Charleston Wine + Food festival is an amazing showcase of so many talented chefs and spirits professionals from not just South Carolina but all around the country. We were thrilled to be invited back to cover the event and made the most of our five days in the Lowcountry. Tune in to hear about the whole hog road trips we made in between going to festival events, including one of the best bites of whole hog we've ever had. We had an awesome time attending the CHSWF events, supporting local Charleston restaurants, and eating old school South Carolina BBQ. Start planning for your CHSWF experience in 2023! Festival dates for next year are March 1-5! https://charlestonwineandfood.com/
Cole Parkman developed a passion for barbecue at a young age and after trying the conventional college route, ended up chasing his smoked meat dreams. After being hired at Truth BBQ's Houston location when it opened at 2019, Cole did everything from bussing tables to cutting meat and working pit shifts all the while learning from Leonard Botello, Corey Taylor, Reid Carson and the Truth crew. After building a solid foundation in barbecue Cole was ready for a change of scenery and set his sights on Austin. LeRoy & Lewis BBQ was where he had hoped to work when deciding to move to Austin and he jumped at the opportunity when it arose. Nearly two years later Cole is one of the key members of LeRoy & Lewis where he's able to learn everything about running a business and expanding his knowledge as a cook and service professional from Sawyer Lewis, Evan LeRoy and their team. Cole and his girlfriend Kasey are working towards their ultimate goal of opening their own place but in the meantime you can catch this dedicated, talented barbecue pro on Pickle Road cooking and serving up some of the best food in Texas. Cole Parkman Instagram: cole_parkman23 LeRoy & Lewis BBQ Open Weds-Sun 11a - 9p 121 Pickle Rd. Austin, Texas Instagram: leroyandlewis SIGN UP FOR THE TEXAS MONTHLY BBQ CLUB via our link: https://txmnth.ly/3HU72jJ
John Bates had a long and successful cooking career before turning his attention to barbecue. After a decade running a scratch sandwich shop which included in-house pickling, bread baking and meat curing, he was ready for a change. Interstellar BBQ launched in 2019 and quickly began receiving acclaim for their meats, inventive specials and exemplary sides. But the attention for Bates' team grew tenfold in October 2021 when Texas Monthly named it the second best barbecue place in the entire state. The achievement of being named near the top of the Texas Monthly Top 50 list has been life changing for the Interstellar team. Tune in to hear all about John's career, the menu, and how they've navigated the recent change in business brought on by this accolade. Interstellar BBQ 12233 Ranch Road 620 N. Suite 105 Austin, TX 78750 Hours of operation: Wed-Sun 11a-5p Instagram: InterstellarBBQ Website: www.TheInterstellarBBQ.com This episode is sponsored by The Texas Monthly BBQ Club. TMBBQ Club is your destination for all things barbecue. Subscribe today to gain access to exclusive content including in-depth interviews, members only events to be held throughout 2022, early access to Texas Monthly BBQ Fest tickets, and a whole lot more! https://www.texasmonthly.com/tmbbqclub/
Having owned a BBQ restaurant for over twenty years, Russell and Misty Roegels are no strangers to the barbecue industry. After being part of a chain for many years, the Roegels struck out on their own in 2015 to great acclaim. Check our archives for episodes 39 and 40 to hear the story of Russell's early career. Their original restaurant on Voss Road in Houston has long been one of the top BBQ joints the city has to offer, and in 2021 they saw an opportunity to expand their brand in the ever-growing Houston suburb of Katy, Texas. Towards the end of the year Russell and Misty began the process of opening their second location. Roegels Barbecue in Katy - set to open any day now at the time of this episode posting - will be serving the same great ‘cue they've become known for alongside their rotating specials menu that features items like their smoked pastrami Reuben, turkey katsu sandwich, and housemade sausages. The Roegels' standout pit crew that includes Alfredo Tapia and Fletcher Sheridan will keep leading the operations on Voss and Katy respectively, so longtime fans of the original location can expect the same level of quality at both spots. Tune in to hear Russell and Misty provide details on how this new spot came to be and what some of the differences will be at the new spot which will include a full bar and dinner service. Please note hours of operation are subject to change as this new location find its footing and staffs up. Roegels Barbecue Co. - Katy Location 20702 Katy Freeway Katy, TX 77449 Monday and Tuesday - closed Weds, Thur, Sun - 11a - 8p Friday and Saturday - 11a - 9p Roegels Barbecue Co. on Boss 2223 S. Voss Rd. Houston, TX 77057 Open 7 days a week 11a - 3p Roegels on Social Instagram: Roegelsbarbecue Twitter: Roegelsbarbecue Website: www.Roegelsbarbecue.com Tales From The Pits on Social Instagram: talesfromthepits Twitter: bbqpodcast Website: www.TheBBQPodcast.com
Welcome to season three of Tales from the Pits! Season two was a whirlwind of travel and fun, and we have exciting news on what we have planned for 2022. Tune in as we reflect a bit on last year, highlight some of our favorite episodes to date, and provide details on some of our big show plans for the new season including a big announcement on our return to one of our favorite food events. The barbecue world suffered numerous losses in 2021, and we spend a few moments reflecting on memories we have with two figures in barbecue. Our site: www.TheBBQPodcast.com Instagram: talesfromthepits Twitter: bbqpodcast
The much anticipated 2021 Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ List has finally arrived! Hear our thoughts on the top ten, the list overall, and some fun facts and tidbits about the long awaited list that always has BBQ nerds talking. Congratulations to all of the great spots that made the list, and make sure you go out and support all of your favorite local BBQ regardless of whether they're on a list or not. TheBBQpodcast.com Instagram: talesfromthepits Twitter: bbqpodcast
One of the most exciting times for both BBQ restaurant owners and fans alike is the release of the latest Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ list. Always a great resource for BBQ travels as well as a hot topic for spirited debate, the list is one of the most coveted accolades a BBQ place can receive. We both decided to predict the entire top 50 this time around, as well as the order of the top ten. While we have a lot of common selections, there are a few differences. We'll see which of us had more correct predictions soon! Send us some of your predictions on our social media, it's always fun to hear what our fellow fanatics are thinking. And remember, have fun with this list and eat at your favorite spots as much as you can! Instagram: talesfromthepits Twitter: bbqpodcast Website: TheBBQpodcast.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We finish our countdown of the top 20 BBQ Spots in Texas with our final five spots. All of these places represent the best of the best that Texas ‘cue has to offer, and each one should be on every BBQ fanatic's bucket list. Follow us on social media for more updates as we launch our website which will have show updates as well as additional information on our big Texas BBQ Hunt, including a map of all 100 spots we considered. Instagram: talesfromthepits Twitter: bbqpodcast Email: email@example.com
We continue to countdown the best BBQ places in Texas! With this episode we highlight our 10th through 6th rated spots, a diverse group that all offer different and delicious menus of meats, sides, desserts with varied experiences. Let us know your thoughts on the list so far, we enjoy hearing the feedback and are always up for a spirited debate. It was no easy task ranking the best of the best, but we were rewarded with so much excellent barbecue along the way.
After months spent crisscrossing Texas in search of the best barbecue we could find, we've completed our research, debated dozens of restaurants, and are ready to start unveiling our top 20. Tune in to this episode to hear us begin our countdown from the 20th best BBQ spot in Texas all the way to the 11th best. The next two episodes will unveil the final ten. With so much great barbecue available all across the state, this was no easy task!
When we began our quest to determine the 20 best BBQ spots in Texas, we knew it would be difficult. It proved even harder than we suspected, but we're finally finished with our search and will soon be unveiling our rankings. Tune in to this one to hear which 100 places we considered and what our ranking criteria was. We spent much of 2021 on the road traveling all over Texas, eating a lot of great barbecue and trying to narrow down a very crowded field of quality spots. A huge thanks goes out to all of the friends we met along the way who helped us take on this ambitious task. We will be launching a companion website in the near future to keep you up to date on the show and provide more detail on our Great Texas BBQ Hunt. We will be including a map of all the spots, specific items to order, and episode links to places we've had on the podcast. Instagram: talesfromthepits Twitter: bbqpodcast
No region of Texas has seen a larger increase in both the quality and quantity of good barbecue options the last few years than the Fort Worth area. While other cities have gotten plenty of rightful acclaim for their roster of BBQ spots, not as much focus has been placed on what has developed in North Texas. We were fortunate to be able to get together with some of the finest cooks and business owners in the region to help shine more light on this burgeoning scene. Note: there is some colorful language in this episode, please be advised. A huge thank you to Chelsea Machuca from Ben E Keith Foods for providing the beverages for this episode, thanks to Goldee's for hosting this event, and of course thank you to all of the participants who carved out time to sit down and chat with us about their business and the Fort Worth/Mid Cities BBQ Scene. Please give us (talesfromthepits) and all of these fine BBQ places a follow on Instagram and if you enjoyed this episode please subscribe, rate and review us on your preferred podcast listening app. Heim BBQ: One of the early spots in the area when they began operating out of a food truck in 2015, Travis and Emma Heim have grown their business over the years to include multiple locations serving lunch and dinner all across the DFW area. Instagram: heimbarbecue Goldee's BBQ: This talented crew cut their teeth learning craft BBQ in Austin before moving back home to open a brick and mortar in Fort Worth. Goldee's has quickly earned acclaim for their well smoked meats and the meticulous care taken in producing strong sides and even housemade bread. Instagram: goldeesbbq Smokeaholics BBQ: Derrick Walker has been a part of Fort Worth barbecue for many years, starting with pop ups om 2006. His brick and mortar spot in south Fort Worth serves what he calls “Tex Soul,” incorporating flavors he grew up with into Texas ‘cue. Instagram: smokeahlicsbbq Zavala's BBQ: Joe Zavala evolved his dream of “just serving brisket and beans” into a full fledged menu of sides, an array of meats, and specials such as cirispitos and cheese and fajitas out of his brick and mortar in Grand Prairie. The Zavala's building is also home to their second business, Mas Coffee Co, serving artisan coffee alongside Zavala's breakfast tacos. Instagram: zavalasbarbecue Panther City BBQ: Chris Magallanes and Ernest Morales started in a small food truck in the original Heim BBQ spot partnered with a bar in Fort Worth. Their business has grown to include a large covered patio and indoor dining spot where locals can get their signature food, a mix of central Texas style barbecue and the Mexican food culture they grew up with. Instagram: panthercitybbq Hurtado BBQ: Brandon Hurtado burst onto the scene doing pop ups at local breweries. The business quickly evolved into a food truck and just as quickly outgrew that as they gained more notoriety. Hurtado can now be found at their brick and mortar location in Arlington serving an eclectic menu of Central Texas meets Mexican influence. Instagram: hurtadobbq Brix BBQ: Trevor Sales might be a relatively new Texan, migrating to Fort Worth from the Midwest in 2017, but he quickly fell in love with Texas barbecue when he arrived. The Brix menu has the staple Texas items, but their team has also added a lot of creativity to the mix by drawing on things they love to eat like such as hot chicken sandwiches. They can currently be found across from a brewery in Fort Worth, but recently announced plans for a permanent restaurant in the same area. Instagram: brixbarbecue Dayne's Craft BBQ: Dayne Weaver is another self taught Texan who caught wind of the craft barbecue movement and was soon obsessed with learning the processes. After a couple of years of pop ups (both from his house and partnered with local spots), the Dayne's team bought a food trailer and set down roots at Lola's, a bar in Fort Worth. Instagram: daynetxbbq
Aaron and Christina Rejino grew up in West Texas enjoying family barbecues, but it was their first encounter with craft barbecue on a trip to Houston that started them along a path that would lead them to leave their day jobs to open a barbecue trailer in Olton, Texas. It took some time to start building their audience, but accolades would come their way in the form of positive reviews and a spot on the Texas Monthly Best New 25 BBQ Places list in 2019 helped give them the jolt they needed. Serving central Texas staples like bark-y brisket and housemade sausage along with quality sides and desserts, Rejino is a place you'll want to get to when traveling through West Texas and the Panhandle. Rejino BBQ 514 8th Street Olton, TX Thu -Sat: 11 - sellout Instagram: RejinoBBQ
Dayne Weaver started his BBQ journey selling food from his front yard and in a few short years has built his business into one of the most exciting places for craft barbecue in all of Texas. After meeting and striking up a friendship with Thomas Loven, the leadership core of Dayne's Craft Barbecue began to take shape. Every Friday through Sunday Dayne, his wife Ashley, and Thomas serve up delicious meats, sides and desserts at Lola's Trailer Park bar in Fort Worth where the guests can have some adult beverages and listen to live music along with sampling great barbecue. Instagram: Daynetxbbq Thomas' Instagram: LovenLovenLoven Website: daynescraftbarbecue.com Open Fri-Sun 11 am - 4 pm or sellout Closed the final Sunday of each month
Isaac Arellano never dreamed he'd one day turn his family's full service gas station into a BBQ spot, but life has a funny way of working out. After delving into the competition cooking world a bit, Isaac got bit by the barbecue bug and quickly started down the path that has lead so many to retail BBQ in recent years. Along with his wife Ashley, Isaac began to explore the idea of selling the barbecue he was working so hard to produce in his backyard. This along with encouraging words from his dad Cruz eventually lead to the opening of Pitforks and Smokerings BBQ in Slaton, a small town just outside of Lubbock. In a few short years after opening and the Arellanos have received not only local support but been recognized by Texas Monthly and others for the quality of their barbecue. With Ashley making sides and helping run service, Isaac smoking the meats and a small but dedicated crew helping out, the Arellano family is producing quality BBQ in the building where Isaac grew up. Instagram: pitforks_and_smokerings_bbq Pitforks & Smokerings BBQ 1808 US Highway 84 Slaton, TX 79364 Hours of operation Thu-Sat: 11-4 or sell out Sun: 11-2 or sell out Closed the first Sunday of each month
To those that have followed the cooking careers of the Goldee's BBQ crew it comes as no surprise that this Fort Worth joint has quickly ascended to “must visit” status on the Texas barbecue bucket list. After learning from some of the best in the business, this group of childhood friends built out their own restaurant and opened in early 2020 firing on all cylinders. Goldee's persevered through a tumultuous 2020 and came out stronger. With a menu of Central Texas classic meats, sides and desserts that are all handled with great care and attention, they've elevated the classic BBQ menu to a higher level. Add in some creativity on specialty sausages and sides and Goldee's is one of the most exciting stops in the entire state. Instagram: @goldeesbbq Website: www.goldeesbbq.com Hours of operation: Fri-Sun 11a-3p (or sell out) 4645 Dick Price Road Fort Worth, TX 76140
Evie Mae's Barbeque grew from humble beginnings in Arizona to a trailer outside of Lubbock, Texas and just recently celebrated five years in their brick and mortar location. Along the way came many accolades along with plenty of hurdles but Arnis, Mallory, and their dedicated team have kept working and continue to put out some of the best barbecue in the state. An opportunity arose in 2020 for Evie Mae's to expand their business and they are about to open a second location inside of a United Supermarket in Lubbock. Customers will soon be able to pick up Evie Mae's for lunch and dinner, seven days a week with all meats being cooked onsite at the grocery store by their pit crew. Along with Arnis and Mallory on this episode, we were also fortunate to spend a few minutes chatting with one of the talented members of their pit room crew, Emma Mendoza. Tune in to hear how she came onboard as well as how Arnis and Mallory have grown their business over the years. For the original story of how Evie Mae's got their start, listen to our previous episodes with Arnis. Evie Mae's: Instagram: @eviemaesbbq Weds - Sat: 11a - sellout (lunch only) Emma Mendoza Instagram: @emma.lemmy Previous episodes with Arnis: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/tales-from-pits-texas-bbq-podcast-featuring-trendsetters/id1242690345?i=1000391311237 https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/tales-from-pits-texas-bbq-podcast-featuring-trendsetters/id1242690345?i=1000391755382
We’ve been hitting the BBQ trail hard in 2021, but no road trip was bigger than the one we had planned for May. With proper planning and a little help from friends we were able to cram in 20 BBQ meals over the course of five days. Traveling from Houston to Austin to Lubbock to Marfa to Fort Worth to Waco and back home, we were able to try some of the absolute best barbecue in Texas at the following places: Valentina’s BBQ, La Barbecue, Franklin Barbecue, LeRoy and Lewis BBQ, Interstellar BBQ, Evie Mae’s Pit Barbeque (twice), Pitforks and Smoke Rings, Rejino BBQ, Tom and Bingo’s BBQ, Hill Barbecue, Brick Vault Brewery and BBQ, Convenience West BBQ, Goldee’s BBQ, Dayne’s Texas Craft BBQ, Zavala’s Barbecue, Smokeaholics BBQ, Guess Family Barbecue, Helberg Barbecue and Cooper’s BBQ. We recap the trip in this episode, answer some listener questions, and at the end of the episode make a special announcement about some big plans we have for the summer. Interested in sponsoring the show? Contact us! Instagram: @talesfromthepits Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ernest Servantes had made a name for himself in the competition barbecue circuit and on food television for years, earning the reputation of a smart, talented chef. Ernest and David Kirkland met and became fast friends during their competition days, and as both were ready to move away from the wild world of “one bite BBQ,” they turned their attention to retail barbecue. Ernest and David started doing pop ups in small town Seguin, Texas and quickly built a following. They began the process of building out a brick and mortar restraint in the picturesque downtown of Seguin and in the fall of 2020 opened Burnt Bean Co. Serving traditional central Texas style barbecue with some unique twists on side and dessert items, Burnt Bean has been an immediate hit both with the locals and the BBQ hounds that travel the state in search of great barbecue. Hours of operation: Thu-Sat: 11a - 3 or sellout Sun: 8a - 3 or sellout Instagram Burnt Bean Co.: @burntbeanco Ernest Servantes: @popeofbbq David Kirkland: @sprdav_1 This episode was sponsored by Texas Pickle Company, producing artisan pickles since 2013. Available in Houston at Central Market, Dozier’s BBQ, and Houston area Total Wine & More locations. Visit them on Instagram (@atexaspickle) and check out their website (www.texaspickleco.com)
How many factors, and how important are those factors when comparing BBQ joints? Andrew and Bryan discuss sides, full menu strength, desserts, and the many elements that go into an experience factor. Is house made sausage a must, and does a strong protein menu with average sides outrank a joint with a larger selection of quality items? Years ago commercial pickles and generic sides were standard fare but the evolution of barbecue now includes everything from sides to desserts to pickles and even house made bread at some establishments. Are those relevant when building a list? How much impact does fast service and indoor dining count versus a slower service and porta potties in the Texas Heat? Listen in and let us know on social media what you consider important when comparing two BBQ joints!
Two years and a pandemic after our first interview we revisit Jacqueline Herrera and Brett Jackson at Brett's Barbecue Shop, one of the nation's smallest barbecue joints. We discuss introducing new meats to their customer base, managing a successful social media presence, future plans, and much more.
We recently were able to sit down with Joe and CJ from Zavala’s Barbecue and the Brisket and Main podcast for a fun and candid sit down about restaurant life and how they’ve navigated through the obstacles they face in the restaurant business. The most recent hurdle Zavala’s faced was extensive damage to their restaurant following the ice storm that hit Texas in February. Zavala’s is slated to reopen this coming weekend and will be back to slinging some of the best barbecue in Texas.
Andrew Castelan got bit by the BBQ bug while going to college, which started him down a path that is all too familiar to us fellow barbecue hounds. His interest in live fire cooking eventually lead to him building his own pit as well as purchasing a Mill Scale pit. But Andrew knew that if he was going to truly chase his dream, he would have to leave his desk job behind and try his hand at cooking large scale retail barbecue. With the tremendous support of his wife, Andrew began to chase his dream. After close to a year working in the industry, Andrew saw a job posting for Cattleack BBQ which had at the time recently been named the third best joint in Texas by Texas Monthly. He applied and was hired to join the small team at the standout Dallas restaurant owned and operated by Todd and Misty David. For the last three years Andrew has been a valuable member of the Cattleack team that produces upwards of ten different proteins each day, helping to manage the eight fires burning simultaneously to cook the expansive menu of incredible food. From Central Texas staples like brisket, multiple sausages and pork ribs to creative items like pastrami, burnt ends, and wagyu beef bologna, the menu at Cattleack is as impressive in its quantity as it is in its quality. Learning from Todd David has helped elevate Andrew to a level he could only have dreamed of in those early years when he first discovered his love for barbecue. Andrew’s passion for learning and commitment to helping produce great barbecue has carried him a long way in the business and should sustain him for years to come.
We recently asked on Instagram which barbecue spot would you say is the best in Texas. It’s the age old debate amongst our fellow BBQ nerds and often spurs spirited back and forth. It’s the question Texas Monthly tries to answer every four years and with their new Texas Monthly list coming later in 2021, we felt it would be a good time to start the discussion as well. The submissions we received were varied and spanned much of the state. We decided to make it fun with the two of us flipping a coin to decide who would have to argue the “pros” of why each place receiving multiple votes deserved the top spot and who would have to argue the “cons” side. Spoiler alert: it was pretty hard to find many cons amongst these great joints. Who do you think deserves the title of “Top BBQ Spot in Texas?” Is it a classic like Louie Mueller or Snow’s? The brisket king and single most influential spot in the state, Franklin Barbecue? A relative newcomer like LeRoy and Lewis or Goldee’s? Current top ten stalwarts like Truth Barbeque or Tejas? Someone else? Let us know your thoughts! Instagram: @talesfromthepits Twitter: @bbqpodcast
The restaurant industry is never a smooth ride, and no one knows that better than Jim Buchanan. Jim’s tireless determination and no quit attitude has helped sustained him through a number of trials and tribulations in the hospitality industry. After Jim’s brick and mortar location in Galveston didn’t work out as he’d hoped, he received a call from the owners of Dozier’s BBQ, a 64 year old establishment in the growing city of Fulshear, Texas. Jim was given the opportunity to join Dozier’s and modernize some of their processes to help bring the historic place into the new age of barbecue while still retaining the key elements of what made Dozier’s such a beloved place to the locals. With the mantra of “evolution not revolution,” Jim and the Dozier’s team have refined some of their cooking methods while still producing the classic meat market style barbecue for which this restaurant and wild game processor has long been known. Dozier’s carries a number Texas made products in their market that you won’t find at the big box grocery stores and has expanded the business to include a large outdoor patio and stage for live music. Dozier’s BBQ is a throwback classic with modern touches and they’re doing a great job of bridging the gap between old school and new school.
Blue Broussard, a lifelong native of Southeast Texas, left the security of the family business to chase a dream and open up his own BBQ joint in Beaumont. This historic East Texas city has long been known for its distinct style of barbecue that varies greatly from the Central Texas flavor profiles that is prevalent throughout much of Texas these days. Taking a risk, Blue decided it was time to introduce Central Texas barbecue to Beaumont.Though the 1701 Barbecue menu has some nods to Beaumont’s barbecue past (in the form of an all beef sausage that has a fair but restrained amount of garlic), the cooking style and seasoning is much more in line with what one would find in Austin. The Broussards opened the doors at the beginning of December, 2020 and the locals responded in full force. With a steady but quick moving line, 1701 has been a welcome addition to the barbecue landscape of East Texas. With this crew’s dedication to the process, this young business which is already off to a very good start should get even better as time goes on.
When we first visited Smokin’ Z’s BBQ, Zaid and Mallory Al-Jazrawi were serving up quality barbecue in the Galveston area in 2018-2019 when they were faced with a problem many growing barbecue businesses face: the need for pit expansion to keep up with demand. Unfortunately, following the arrival of their new 1,000 gallon pit, health department permitting issues threw a wrench into the plans for Smokin’ Z’s BBQ. While they were going through the back and forth to navigate the always muddy waters of city and county regulations while simultaneously wedding planning, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world. Zaid and Mallory rolled with the punches, kept moving forward, and at the end of 2020 were finally able to reopen Smokin’ Z’s BBQ after one final hurdle: moving their business across the street from its previous location. Their community has responded with tremendous support, and they’re hopeful to see an influx of business from the tourist traffic that hits Galveston in the spring and summer. Make the drive down to the water and grab some quality craft barbecue from this great spot! Previous interview with Smokin’ Z’s BBQ: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/tales-from-pits-texas-bbq-podcast-featuring-trendsetters/id1242690345?i=1000429623195 Instagram: @smokinzsbbq Open Sat & Sun: 11 am - sold out 6 Herring Drive Bayou Vista, Texas
Cade Mercer grew up in the Seguin and New Braunfels area with cooking always as a major part of his life. After working in restaurants during high school, Cade started his cooking career at Rudy’s BBQ shortly after trying college. To grow his skills, Cade went to culinary school and then entered the fine dining world. Follow brief stints at restaurants near his hometown, a fateful call from Reid Guess, then head chef of Lambert’s, resulted in a job that would begin his path into modern barbecue. After his time at Lambert’s, Cade helped open another Austin spot before joining Reid again, this time at Guess Family Barbecue. Cade was instrumental in helping to create the menus and produce the great food made both at Guess Family and koKo Ramen. With dreams of starting his own business, Cade left Guess Family in November 2019 and started to work on his new spot, CM Smokehouse. Using a 500 gallon smoker built by Guess, Cade and his team have created an inventive and delicious menu that pairs well with the bar they’ve paired up with, Bouldin Acres. With an expansive menu ranging from firebox roasted poblano queso and burgers with brisket jam to smoked then fried cauliflower and baby back “wings,” there’s something for everyone on the CM Smokehouse menu. This is a food truck that in its early days is already expanding the boundaries of creative smoked dishes. CM Smokehouse (Located at Bouldin Acres)2027 S Lamar BlvdAustin, Texas 78704CM Smokehouse hours of operation:Sun-Wed 11a-10pThu-Sat 11a-12aInstagram: CM Smokehouse: @cm_smokehouseCade Mercer: @cmerc26Bouldin Acres: @bouldinacres
This year has seen more than its share of challenges for everyone, the barbecue world included. In this episode we discuss some of the good things that have happened around barbecue this year that we’re thankful for. Tune in to hear about some of the new happenings in BBQ, some menu items and restaurants that continue to wow us, and more.
After releasing an episode nearly every week for almost three years, we were ready for a bit of a break. But what 2020 had in store was not something we could have ever planned for or wanted. After a long period of staying mostly close to home, we're starting to venture out safely for one of our favorite activities, barbecue road trips. As it's been such a delay, we thought we might as well act like a podcast and call this the start of a new season! So, welcome to season two of Tales From The Pits! We're so happy you've stuck with us, all of the messages we've received during our break have been great. We plan on continuing the show with our preferred format that's worked for us so far. So get ready for some car ride episodes with us riffing on different BBQ topics, pitmaster interviews, and discussions with interesting folks around the barbecue world. Mentioned in this episode is one of our favorite older episodes, Episode 68: Classic BBQ Joints. It's a great one to tune in to if you're looking to find out a little more about some of the older places that have helped make Texas barbecue what it is today. We hope you'll give it a listen and go visit one of those old school places soon.
Having just completed our first BBQ road trip since the quarantine began, we discuss our experience going to four places, safety and social distancing measures we personally implemented as well as those we’ve seen at the places we’ve been to during the pandemic. One positive to come from the coronavirus situation from a customer standpoint is it has provided opportunities to get food from places that previously had been more difficult to dine at. There are number of ways to support your favorite BBQ places, whether you feel comfortable dining in yet or not. Gift cards, merchandise, ordering to-go and order bulk meats to use in a variety of home preparations are just some of options to help these business owners.We also discuss in this episode some changes that have been made at restaurants that may become permanent even as things open back up. Stay safe, everyone and do what you can to support your favorite spots.
When we started this podcast three years ago we had no idea what the show would become or the places it would take us. We are incredibly grateful to all of the amazing people in the BBQ industry that have given us the gift of their time and their story. From our first episode breaking down the 2017 Texas Monthly top ten list to interviews with some of the top BBQ cooks and pit fabricators and everything in between, we’ve had the time of our lives helping to provide a platform for these talented people to share their stories. We can’t thank enough our guests and even more importantly anyone whose taken the time to listen to these episodes for three years. Thank you for letting these two barbecue nerds take you down the rabbit hole. There’s much more to come... Recent Joe Zavala Interview referenced in this episode: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Idu-g_rxpD0&feature=youtu.be
The world, and more recently the United States, has begun to deal with the effects of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As large events cancel, corporations and school districts suspend operations, and people begin to stay home in large numbers, the inevitable decline in sales that small businesses will experience is frightening for many Americans. Barbecue restaurants operate on tight budgets and slim profit margins and have begun to prepare for a slow down in business as best they can. In addition to those concerns, these dedicated hospitality professionals feel an overwhelming sense of obligation to keep their families, staff, and customers safe as they try to maintain a successful business. In this episode we wanted to provide information to barbecue consumers and industry professionals based on our experiences and from our discussions with the business owners themselves. We provide tips for consumers on how they can do their part to not only support small businesses but to do so as safely and responsibly as possible along with information that can aid restaurant owners and staff in giving consumers more peace of mind during these trying times.
In August of 2015 Leonard Botello and family opened up a tiny BBQ joint just outside of Brenham, Texas. There was no big grand opening, there was no meeting of the #BBQFam or podcasts, and no social media campaign. That is precisely how Leonard wanted to launch. Bryan noticed the name change from "J's BBQ" (not to be confused with LJ's which was to open later) to "Truth Barbeque" as he drove back and forth from Austin to Houston. Gone were the old school rectangular pits and in their place was a large Klose pit. Curiosity prevailed and a stop there resulted in surprisingly good barbecue. Repeat visits proved it was not a fluke and the word began to spread. By 2016 the word was out and lines began forming before open. In 2017 Truth landed a spot in the Texas Monthly top 10, cementing their name as one of the best barbecue joints in Texas. Plans were afoot to open a larger location in the heart of Houston's Heights neighborhood and by 2019 the almost impossibly small restaurant in Brenham had a big brother finally open. The opening wasn't easy. Leonard wanted a quiet build but the location was identified and the demand for Truth Houston to open grew. Battling confusing and inconsistent health department enforcement and dialing in all new pits custom built for the Houston location while dealing with not just expanded cooking volume but additional business days took their toll. There was a lot of lost sleep and tweaking required to dial things in to where Leonard was satisfied with the quality. A little after a year after opening Leonard is finally able to take a deep breath and step back a bit to enjoy what he, family, and team have built. We caught up with Leonard and Corey Taylor to find out what it was like to scale and transform a sleepy little barbecue joint into Truth BBQ Houston. For additional background:http://texasbbqtreasurehunt.com/young-gun-pit-masters-leonard-botello-of-truth-bbq/ http://texasbbqtreasurehunt.com/truth-bbq-first-impression/ Visit Truth at their original location in Brenham, Texas or at their Houston locationhttps://www.truthbbq.com/ https://www.instagram.com/truth_bbq/ https://twitter.com/truth_bbq
On our way back from a recent road trip we came up with five of our favorite things happening in BBQ right now. We discussed the following topics: What's old is new again Breaking away from the brisket bubble Accessibility of great BBQ Expansion of quality BBQ joints The full meal experience Take a listen and if you like our show please make sure to tell others, and if you visit a BBQ joint or buy a pit from someone you found out about on the show, please let them know!
The DFW barbecue scene is blowing up, and popups, food trailers, and brick and mortars are opening around town. Brandon Hurtado has progressed through popups and food trailer into a retail store front, bringing his spin on Hispanic influenced Texas Barbecue to the game. The brick and mortar retail establishment is having the grand opening Sat Feb 22, 2020 at 205 East Front Street, Arlington, TX - go check it out! In our episode we talk about his background, what Tex Mex influence means to him, and his vision for Hurtado Barbecue
Texas BBQ has seen massive growth in the last 10 years and many of us have been lucky to witness it firsthand. The epicenter has shifted and morphed from Central Texas; top tier BBQ is available in every major city and most towns. With the popularity, the supply and demand economics of the growing world of BBQ have altered the price of a BBQ meal from a modest blue collar staple to a luxury - but is this a bad thing? BBQ has also embraced more cultural influences of Texas, growing beyond the original German, Czech, and African-American backgrounds to encompass Mexican and Asian flavors. Andrew and Bryan discuss these changes, reflect on the pricing shift, and talk about a few of the more recent openings and closings.