I have a few heroes in this world, I suppose all of us do. Men or women that we look up to as paragons of how we should be living our lives.

We’re here but for the blink of an eye so it’s important to gnaw as much meat off the rib as is possible during our time spent in this old world.

Michael Stern has played an important role in my life. I bought my first Roadfood book when I was just a young buck not even old enough to drive a car. I read it from cover to cover and dogeared the important parts til I finally saved up enough money and took off on a 2000 mile roadtrip with the express goal of eating my way through the book.

I was 18.

That was awhile back but I still have the book. And I still read his website everyday. One of the best features on the site is called Digest which is where I stumbled upon his feature-ette on Charlies, a long shuttered barbecue joint in Smithville Texas less than an hour from my home in Austin Texas.

I love Smithville, it’s a bucolic little town that looks like a postcard from the 1940s. While most of the barbecue houses in the village have shuttered we do still have Zimmerhanzels one of the best exemplars of Central Texas barbecue.

Read comments below for pertinent links.

This is part one of a series where we will be revisiting ancient, shuttered barbecue restaurants of days of yore.

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