Nice little article on the state of NYC BBQ in the New York Times. And a great heel turn by Daniel Vaughn of Texas Monthly. Read http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/20/dining/brisket-is-worth-the-wait.html?partner=socialflow&smid=tw-nytdining&_r=0
In spite of New Orleans renaissance as a barbecue town, the fact remains that we will never be a food tourist destination for our smoked brisket. Yes, there are plenty places in town serving steer breast but if you want the pluperfect version you're going to need to gas up the Fiero and drive about eight hours to the buckle of the barbecue belt: Austin, Texas.
Veteran chowhounds Jane and Michael Stern have spent the past few decades criss-crossing the United States eating in beat-up cafes, smokehouses, diners and halls devoted to feeding the trenchermen of the world.
They recently turned their attention to Louie Mueller barbecue and it's well worth a read.
Railroad Barbecue has announced that they are shuttering their old timey barbecue joint in Manchaca (est.1981) and if that news wasn't bad enough, they are also closing down their Kyle location.
When we lived in South Austin, Railroad saw plenty of our brisket and fried potatoes money. No shortcuts from the Sherrill Family on those fries that we repeatedly declared to be the finest in Travis County.
Handcut, fried twice and served hot as blazes.
Up in Michigan there's a smoked meat outfit called Lockhart BBQ where pit boss Steve "Bubba" Coddington plies his trade. (ed note: barbecue newcomers now use the word "pitmaster" to describe any person who's ever so much as grilled a hamburger on a Weber grill, we'll stick with the pit boss appellation.)
That's a far piece from Lockhart, Texas but as branding goes you could do a lot worse than invoking a Texas legend to help get the meat out the door.
As we speak, a team of fire-hardened Texas pit bosses are caravanning out of the Great State on their way to NYC for a barbecue pop up.
It's entirely possible that I've never tasted Aaron Franklin's barbecue sauce. Back when Franklin had his little barbecue trailer in French Place I ate there a couple times a week til the lines became untenable but never felt the need to besmirch the meats with anything: No sauce, no salt, no pepper, no ranch, no nothing.
San Marcos Texas will go up in flames this weekend (Sat March 8th 2014) as the National Barbecue Association takes over the Embassy Suites parking lot for a showdown between 30 of the best barbecue teams in the USA.
This is a Kansas City Barbeque Society Society sanctioned event.
"What do they know about barbecue in Kansas City?" might be your retort, but folks up that way, misguided though they are, have their own little barbecue scene, and they deserve to be allowed to sanction events just like the Texas big boys.
They are putting their money where their mouth is. Grand champion will walk away with a thousand bucks and reserve champ gets $750.
Texas barbecue parties are a feast for the senses. You can't walk 10 feet without somebody trying to shove a plate of meat in your mouth and the cold beer flows good and easy.
Hope to see y'all down in Hays County this weekend.
At the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo World Bar-B-Que championship you would think that the brisket category winner would be the de facto Grand Champion.
One year ago today, John Avila (x-Franklin BBQ) checked in with us from his new joint up in Brooklyn, New York: Morgan's Texas Barbecue.
One year ago today Andy Staples filed a report from Snow's Barbecue, and got it right. http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/index.cfm/2013/2/21/Finally-National-Writer-Andy-Staples-Eats-At--Barbecue-Legend-Snows-In-Lexington-And-Gets-It-Right
I earned a good living raising beef for money when I was a young buck growing up in the Cumberland Highlands of Eastern Kentucky. I'd go to the stock market in London, Kentucky buy a young calf for a pittance, and set to raising it on our family farm. Once it had a good hoof weight I'd round up a buyer, and we'd take it to a rural slaughterhouse where the young steer would be transformed into freezer packets and I'd have a wallet stuffed full of cash.
Last night in New York, the city crowned a king.
Truth be told, multiple kings were crowned; at the big Brisket King competition held at the Firehouse in Chinatown, there was a multitude of categories in which one could be titled "the best."
One year ago today. One of the top articles of all of 2013: Top 5 Barbecue Beef Chuck Rib Joints In Texas
This Week In Sausage News: Art Of Charcuterie, Texas Hot Guts, Sausage Guide,World's Biggest Sausage
This past weekend we sold out of both of our house-made sausages: the Texas hot guts and the alligator boudin. We consulted with our boudin expert over in Lafayette, Louisiana and he informed us that even after a life on the western prairies of the Bayou state he'd never sampled a gator version. With gator running $15 a pound in Austin it's unlikely you'll see these links on any menus around town anytime soon.
Alison Cook at the Houston Chronicle is reporting that Wayne Mueller, pit boss at Louie Mueller's up in Taylor may be opening a Houston branch of the legendary barbecue operation.
Cook dined at the big Saint Arnold Barbecue party where Mueller cooked a ton or so of Texas beef for over 600 people.
The brisket, according to Cook, was "incandescent"
Not sure what that means.
Houston's barbecue scene, what there is of it, could certainly use a boost and having one of the Central Texas heavyweights set up shop in town would serve that community's eaters greatly.
Cook's piece http://blog.chron.com/foodchronicles/2014/02/texas-bbq-legend-eyes-houston-outpost/#20222101=0
Johnny Fugitt is on the road. A native Missourian, Fugitt has went all in; sold his house, accepted a life of homelessness and vagrancy and sallied forth into the heart of America in the search of the best barbecue.
It's a trend.
Barbecue has never been hotter. In the past few years we've seen neophytes of all descriptions and walks of life hoist themselves onto the turnip truck and start blogging, pinning and tweeting about their new discoveries.
But Johnny Fugitt may be onto something. Americans love a list. A ranking. An order of importance that can lend structure to something they're attempting to grasp. Perhaps Fugitt can provide that.
In the meantime, Fugitt is currently in Austin and blogging about his visits to Franklin, County Line, Blue Ox et al.
Check him out on Tumblr
We took last year off on our yearly barbecue prognostications. You'd have to go all the way back to the golden era of 2012 to glean our futuristic pearls of wisdom.
The one augury we're most proud of was our prediction of the rise of young buck pit bosses working out of food trucks saying (they will) "soon find themselves surrounded by mountains of blow, Chilean supermodels, and writers from New York City pounding the keys and feting their efforts."
Hosting a beef rib cookoff without John Mueller taking part is like lurching off from the starting line in a drag race without Big Daddy Don Garlits screaming nitro in the next lane.
Or throwing a foot race with Ben Johnson minus the horse needle shootups.
The dark prince was taking a breather?
History Around the Table: A Pig Roast w Michael Twitty And Toni Tipton Martin At The French Legation
Two of the rock stars of the contemporary African American foodways scene are teaming up to throw a food party at the French Legation museum.
We've written extensively about Toni Tipton Martin. She's the blogger behind The Jemima Code, and the founder of the Sande Youth Project, a non-profit program that teaches healthy living for young people through cooking and education concerning the importance of nutrition in daily living.
If you've got an extra $7k in your checking account, and always wished you could turn out an Amarillo burger like at Casino el Camino or a rack of beef chuck ribs like John Mueller then your prayers will be answered in 2015.
That's when Lynx will roll out their "smart grill," a cooking contraption that uses voice recognition technology to alert you via text when the optimal time to flip that patty or reposition that rib rack comes.
Can the Lynx smart grill get lit up on Rebel Yell and order you off its property or make you wait four hours for a plate of brisket?
That remains to be seen.
Just before the turn of the year we had the opportunity to sit down with Ari White, New York City pitboss for Gemstone Catering (Hakadosh BBQ). The Texas native is making huge waves in the city via a series of pop up food parties where he regularly cooks and sells over a ton (2k pounds) of meat.
But can he be the brisket king?
When we're not eating sausage, making sausage or developing recipes for our Texas Hot Guts sausage team, we're reading about sausage. All sausage, all the time.
Now it's time to share. While we invariably sell out of our hot links at our Scrumptious Chef pop up restaurant we're not sure if this feature will grow legs or not but here we go.
Goldis Sausage in south Austin ranked as one of the best undiscovered food trucks in Austin http://austin.eater.com/archives/2013/11/11/austins-most-underrated-food-trucks-mapped.php
Green's Sausage House, est.1946, outside Temple, http://kdhnews.com/business/legacy-of-green-s-sausage-house-lives-on/article_fe193e98-4910-11e3-936d-001a4bcf6878.html
Sometimes a dream comes true. Behold the sausage gun http://foodbeast.com/2013/11/14/sausage-gun-makes-our-meat-dreams-come-true/
Boudin rouge is a vanishing art form. Making it involves a good quantity of fresh pig blood, and cooks willing to practice this prairie art are disappearing. Rodney Babineaux still hews to this old tradition http://www.southernfoodways.org/okracast-rodney-babineaux-on-red-boudin/
Ten facts about sausage http://www.express.co.uk/fun/top10facts/440967/Top-10-facts-about-sausages
pic: Green's Sausage House courtesy of Mayor Al on Roadfood.
It was two years ago today that Stiles Switch Barbecue flung their doors opened, and walked onto the main stage of Texas smoked meat.
They occupy a curious niche: Out of all the world class barbecue joints that Austin currently sports, they're the only outfit that keeps "normal" restaurant hours.
Unlike their competitors, Stiles Switch doesn't run out of meat.
Swing by today and grab a hunk of prime rib off their smoker, it's the special today for their 12 Days Of Smoked Meat festival.
Has it really been a year since we published "2012 Year End Review: The Best Austin Texas Barbecue You Never Heard Of: Micklethwait Craft Meats" http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/index.cfm/2012/12/21/2012-Year-End-Review-The-Best-Austin-Texas-Barbecue-You-Never-Heard-Of-Micklethwait-Craft-Meats?
How the time flies.
Since then we've eaten countless meals at the humble food trailer just a stone's throw from Raymond Tatum's 3 little Pigs food truck, the best fine dining al fresco food cart in Austin.
This Sunday, December 15th 2013, Micklethwait is throwing a 1 year anniversary party with discounted menu items and a set from the outlaw punks Golden Boys.
This is a don't miss.
Lance Kirkpatrick is celebrating Christmas the only way a crusty old pit boss knows how. Building hardwood fires and rounding up every critter he can lay his hands on and subsuming them with flames.
Anyone interested in doing a meat cleanse for the holidays? It's time for Stiles Switch 12 days of smoked meat.
Beginning tomorrow, Tuesday December 10th 2013, here's the fleshy syllabus for the party:
Last night I went with a few friends to check in on 85 South. Perhaps it was an off night or perhaps it was due to the fact they were having a fundraiser for the Philippines, and they were distracted but I likely won't be returning.
Dinner was a set menu due to the fundraiser - ribs, pulled pork, cole slaw, and your choice of mac and cheese or fries. Provided drinks were either lemonade or sweet tea.
John Mueller, the irascible Austin pit boss is heading to Houston on Saturday November 23rd for a barbecue benefit at Cottonwood.
Houston doesn't have anything approaching Mueller's level of smoked meat so expect big crowds, long lines, and Mueller holding court with an ice cold bottle of Bud Lite.
The moneys gathered from the event will be dispersed to Housing Houston's Heroes, a non-profit dedicated to securing permanent lodging for veterans.
12 noon til the meat sells out.
2013 marks the first year we missed the monster barbecue cook off in Meridian, Texas in a solid coon's age. Work duties beckoned so we had to sit this one out.
Bosque County Texas comes alive each Fall as the best barbecue teams from across the Southwest all gather as one in the Bosque Bottoms fairgrounds.
The deal is that it is passable cue. In a pre-Franklin's Austin it could be worthy of a visit.
The brisket was moist and had decent flavor although I would have preferred a heavier hand with the salt and pepper rub. Ribs were a good effort but the pulled pork wasn't pulled at all as it was sliced and served like brisket.
Prepared Korean foods kingpin Chung Jung One teamed up with Star Chefs over the weekend to throw a big barbecue competition in New York City.
Texas was well represented at this International Chefs Congress event with the Carillon team of Chris Andrews, Plinio Sandalio, Brad Turner and Josh Watkins leading the Texas charge.
Take a break from buying corn cob dolls and air brushed t-shirts at the Pecan Street Festival tomorrow and head on over to Hops n Grain Craft Brewery for Drew Thornley's Gettin' Sauced Barbecue party.
Ten bucks will get you a meat sampling from:
The Meat Science Department at Texas A&M is offering a 2 day workshop on sausage making the weekend of October 11-12 2013.
We've had our hands deep in pig guts for a few years now and the learning curve is finally starting to level off.
While our early work was certainly delicious, it took dozens of test runs to pick up the tricks of the trade that make handmade sausage inestimably more delicious than even the finest commercial grades.
The team behind Vitek's Barbecue are putting out some pure comedy gold with a press release offering details on their plans of expansion.
Bill Barnes is the president of Vitek's BBQ Franchise LLC and he pulls no punches when laying out the company's plans, offering; "we're leveraging our successful 98 years in business and combining it with a franchising model that utilizes best practices in the restaurant industry to position us for growth and put a franchise in every corner of the earth--even Poland."
Everybody come out on Sunday night and let's celebrate our good lives in Austin, Texas.
We reached out to Thomas Martinez, president of Taylor Texas Chamber of Commerce to get his thoughts on The 36th Annual Taylor International Barbecue Cook-Off.
2013 marked the first year that the Chamber took over the event due to the Jaycees bowing out. This sort of sea change is big news in small town Texas.
Brother Can You Spare A Dime? Texas Monthly BBQ Fest Sells Out As Josh Ozersky's Meatopia Languishes
The rich get richer.
The Texas Monthly 2013 BBQ Fest is a done deal. Sold out. The online crush for tickets resembled a Springsteen surge back when he was still a thing. We've got a call into Busy Bee, East Austin's hardest working bookie, to see if he knows any scalpers but it looks like we'll be sitting this one out.
Invaders from the north are gathering at our borders with refrigerator trucks filled with beef and steely knives at the ready.
Josh Ozersky's Meatopia is coming to the Great State.
Northern aggression is nothing new in Texas.
Barbecue is woven into the life of Taylor Texas. With Davis Grocery and Taylor Cafe putting out some of the best smoked meat in the Great State, and Taylor native John Mueller ruling the roost in nearby East Austin, Taylor's barbecue bonafides are fully in order.
Controversy has also come to the party, now in its 36th year.
Sunday June 23rd at Scholz Beer Garden an all-day benefit is being held to defray medical costs of long-time Driskill Hotel barman Sean O'Byrne.
The pot has been sweetened by John Mueller Meat Co.
The old pit boss is offering 2 internships to the winners of a silent auction to be held at the affair.
No details are offered on what this opportunity might hold, but we imagine it would involve getting up at 1am in the morning and being ready for a good long tilt of building fires, seasoning meats, and learning how to turn out the best brisket in Travis County, Texas.
Learn how to build a good lipper filled with Copenhagen, the proper methodology of Bud Lite tippling, how to attack people on Twitter, and the most effective way to tell patrons how to shut their mouths.
Mueller's one of the best when it comes to all of the above; naysaysers be damned.
field report http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/index.cfm/2013/6/3/Field-Report-John-Mueller-Is-Still-The-King
Is there anyway we can get an Austin American Statesman vs Texas Monthly lumberjack match.
Mike Leggett vs Daniel Vaughn with the staff of each surrounding the ring with old leather belts in hand?
Austin ain't Amarillo by a long shot but we could probably get a Funk to come down and do the promoting for the match.
If you can butt a bic lighter up against a Kingsford briquette these days you've earned the sobriquet "pitmaster."
We'll stick with pitboss for now as actual masters are scarce around these or any other parts we've been privy to.
Got $50 burning a hole in the pocket of your pitmaster-branded Wranglers? Then you can enter your competition BBQ team in this cook-off that is apparently run by non-Texans.
Here are the categories: Chicken, Ribs, Pork Shoulder, Beef Fajita and Beans.
Brisket and hot guts were apparently too tough a category so they were conveniently left off the dais.
Saturday June 15th
Detour Bar 11005 Burnet Rd Ste B112 Austin, TX 78758
The Land Of The Sleeping Giant is set to be the battleground for Texas barbecue bragging rights. Stubb's, the one-time Lubbock-based barbecue outfit, has invaded China, and is set to go toe to toe with Bubba's Texas-style Bar-B-Que and Saloon.
With Aaron Franklin's East Austin barbecue joint being anointed as ruler of the Great State by Texas Monthly magazine, we decided to double down and visit the man who gave the young pit boss his start in the business back when Moses was young.
Under the aegis John Mueller Meat Co. the old pit boss is back up and running. Again.
Smitty's Barbecue down in Lockhart, Texas went around the bend years ago. What used to be one of the best sources of smoked meat in the Great State, now regularly churns out barbecue that wouldn't be in the top 5 of any decent-sized American city.
Omaha has better brisket than Smitty's? It would not surprise us.
Nothing says Texas barbecue like a $675 brisket party package at a luxury spa.
Travaasa Experiential Resorts is teaming up with Texas Monthly to throw a good old-fashioned barbecue bash on Saturday June 18th, 2013 with proceeds benefiting Foodways Texas.
Infographic taken from Wes Berry's treatise: "The Kentucky Barbecue Book"
Read a little bit of the book here http://www.aceweekly.com/2013/04/wes-berry-hits-kentuckys-barbecue-trail-in-new-book/
and buy a few copies here http://www.amazon.com/The-Kentucky-Barbecue-Book-Berry/dp/0813141796?tag=viglink127943-20
Maybe Robert Sietsema had a point?
When he was breathlessly proselytizing over the current state of affairs (http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/index.cfm/2013/3/13/Robert-Sietsema-Shits-The-Bed-Texans-Hail-The-New-King-Of-USA-Barbecue-New-York-City) of New York City barbecue, maybe he had the inside scoop that Texas pit boss Aaron Franklin was heading to town?
The recent winner of the Texas Monthly Top 50 barbecue survey is rolling into Hill Country BBQ to take over the gasser for an Austin-style smoked meat pop up.
It happened once before, way back in November of 2011. We had coverage http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/index.cfm/2011/11/10/Aaron-Franklin-Takes-New-York-City-By-Storm-Guest-Pit-Boss-At-Hill-Country
all the fine points on how to gain access to the wingding right this way http://www.tmbbq.com/events/tmbbq-popup-nyc/
over 400 articles on Texas BBQ http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/index.cfm/Barbecue
Tonight, Micklethwait Craft Meats will be at the Daniel Vaughn book signing party at BookPeople on North Lamar with a trailer load of free barbecue for attendees.
BookPeople plays hardball so be aware that if you bring a pirated copy of Prophets of Smoked Meat on their property, a few of their rangy book sellers will drag you out back and give you a good old fashioned Texas dry-gulching.