Reviews, News, & Interviews

Smoke Shack 01

Smoke Shack BBQ

Three years ago I ate some promising barbecue from a food truck in the shadow of I-410 in San Antonio. Chris Conger was doing it all that day inside what was called Conger’s Smoke Shack, cooking, slicing, and making change. Last year he had stowed away enough change to make the jump into a steep-roofed building along Broadway just north of the swanky Pearl district. The food truck is still hanging around the highway at lunch time,…

BBQ News: 04/10 – 04/16

- A Field Guide to the American Sandwich from the NYT. Texas chopped beef gets some love, but the best photo is from Iowa. – Louis McMillan of McMillan’s Famous Bar-B-Q in Fannin, Texas was recently recognized by the State Senate of Texas for his work in barbecue. – Responding to the smoker resolution in Austin: Pits are moved away from the neighbors we are excited about our new spot in the same lot!! Come…

Interview: George Mahathay of Billy’s Old Fashion BBQ

Owner/Pitmaster: Billy’s Old Fashion BBQ; Opened 1986 (estimated) Age: 68 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Red Oak and Hickory It seems that everybody who drives by Billy’s Old Fashion BBQ in Jasper honks and waves. George “Billy” Mahathay is a popular man, almost as popular as his barbecue. He told me jokingly that he can’t do anything bad around town because everybody knows him. They all know him because he has ran this barbecue business for thirty years. They…

Tonys Pit BBQ 01

Brisket Hash in El Paso

They’ve been smoking briskets over mesquite since Tony’s The Pit Bar-B-Q opened in 1958. Tony Vargas Sr. started the place, but according to Martha Vargas, it was her husband Tony Vargas Jr. that’s responsible for its most famous menu item – brisket hash. Mrs. Vargas recited the ingredient list without hesitation when I visited recently. “It’s brisket trimmings, and potatoes. [Tony Jr.] added bell peppers, onions, and the spices. It’s also cumin, garlic, Worcestershire, and…

Smoking Guns BBQ 05

Smokin’ Guns BBQ

With the rising cost of meat, specifically beef brisket, inexpensive barbecue is becoming rare today. It’s especially difficult to find a decent version of it. Finding $20 per pound brisket isn’t a challenge in Austin, Dallas, and Pearland, but that doesn’t fly in Corsicana. At Smokin’ Guns BBQ on the west side of town you’ll pay just $12.95 for a pound of hickory smoked beef, and a three meat platter with two sides is a whopping…

BBQ News: 04/03 – 04/09

- The Houston Chronicle asks “Have we reached peak barbecue?” – Texas BBQ Treasure Hunt examines just how much we pay for bones when ordering ribs at a barbecue joint. – The Austin City Council passed a resolution to study smoke mitigation requirements for barbecue joints. – More on the Austin smoke resolution:   – Another glowing review (with photos to match) of Pappa Charlie’s Barbeque in Houston. – The Houston BBQ Festival has some…

Interview: Robert Patillo of Patillo’s Bar-B-Q

Owner: Patillo’s Bar-B-Q; Opened 1912 Age: 67 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Hickory, red oak, white oak, and pecan Patillo’s Bar-B-Q has been operating in Beaumont since 1912. It has moved around a lot in the past 100 years, but it’s always been in the family. That makes it the oldest family owned barbecue establishment in Texas, and also the oldest black owned barbecue joint in the state. The only place you’ll find brisket here is within the…

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BBQ in Far West Texas? I’ll Paso
What Went Wrong with Barbecue in El Paso?
A Brisket Tour in Southeast Texas
The highs and lows (mostly lows) of smoked beef in SETX
Scrubbing Out Austin’s BBQ Growth?
A Resolution Substitution
Testing the Limits of Barbecue Science
An experimental pit at GE's BBQ research center
Central Texas BBQ Road Trips
A trip guide from Austin to some of the area's finest barbecue.
The Year of Alabama Barbecue
It Ain't All Chicken and White Sauce
A Barbecue Man in a Quiche Town
A New Respect for Barbecue
The History of the Pig Stands
“America’s Motor Lunch”
The Best Banana Pudding List
A Classic Texas BBQ Dessert
Highway BBQ: Part Four
I-20 From Louisiana to Fort Worth


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