Pitmaster Interviews

Interview: Rick Schmidt of Kreuz Market, Part I

Former Owner: Kreuz Market; Opened 1900 (current location 1999) Age: 69 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Post Oak Rick Schmidt owned Kreuz Market from 1984 to 2011. He bought it from his father Edgar “Smitty” Schmidt, and sold it to his son Keith. Rick took a momentous step in moving the business from its previous home of ninety-nine years, and Keith is seeing it through its first expansion to a new location in Bryan that will open in…

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 1987 Age: 74 Smoker: Wood-fired Rotisserie Smoker Wood: Post Oak Leon 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 his bail bonding business. He decided pretty quickly that barbecue was a better path in life. O’Neal can usually be found in the small dining room of…

Interview: Samuel “Bo” Phillips of Cooper’s Bar-B-Que

Pitmaster: Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que; Opened 1963 Age: 64 Smoker: Charcoal-fired steel cooker and electric rotisserie smoker Wood: Lump Mesquite Charcoal There’s more than one cook at a big operation like Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que in Llano, but Bo Phillips is the one who gets up early enough to get the briskets on. In their high heat method of cooking, the meat gets done a lot faster than anything cooked in the low and…

Interview: Johnny Fugitt of Barbecue Rankings

Writer: 100 Best Barbecue Restaurants in America Age: 29 Johnny 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 the poorly researched national top ten lists out there, so he decided to set out on his own and eat as much barbecue as he could along the way. He…

Interview: Billy Durney of Hometown Bar-B-Que

Owner/Pitmaster: Hometown Bar-B-Que; Opened 2013 Age: 42 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Oak and Cherry Billy Durney is all New York, but he knows where to go in Texas to find great barbecue. This past week his restaurant Hometown Bar-B-Que in Red Hook, Brooklyn celebrated its one year anniversary. Afterwards, he celebrated with a trip to Austin and Dallas for some pro-style barbecue eating. I enjoyed a great meal at Hometown when I visited there earlier this year….

Interview: Jimmy Harris of David’s Barbecue

Owner/Pitmaster: David’s Barbecue; Opened 1988 Age: 49 Smoker: Wood-fired Rotisserie Smoker Wood: Hickory Jimmy 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 place in Pantego. If you’re unfamiliar with Pantego, it’s a tiny municipality surrounded by the city of Arlington. The town is known for two things according to Harris. “Speed traps and bad water.”…

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