BBQ in Far West Texas? I’ll Paso

What Went Wrong with Barbecue in El Paso?

by Daniel Vaughn · April 14, 2015

On January 18, 1910, a newspaper advertisement for Watson’s Grocery included “Smoked Brisket Beef” for thirty cents per pound. It’s the earliest advertisement for smoked brisket that I have found in Texas, and it was in El Paso. With such a long history of smoking briskets you’d think they would have gotten it right by now. Maybe it’s the elevation, the dry desert air, or even the Mountain time zone, but I’ve had better luck locating kolaches in New York City than I have finding good barbecue in El Paso, Texas.

That doesn’t mean we haven’t tried. Two years ago I drove out west for some research for my book, The Prophets of Smoked Meat, to seek out the highest rated joints in El Paso and the surrounding area. Only one, the Rib Hut, stood out mainly for being a notch above edible. When Texas Monthly sent out reviewers for 2013’s Top 50 list, staff writer Jason Cohen drew the short straw and was assigned the Far West Texas region. He visited ten barbecue joints out there, none of which moved the needle much.

Two weeks ago I went back to the area, with a positive attitude and a mission to find good barbecue. After trying eight more joints, a couple of which were new, I left with only a new pair of Luccheses for my troubles in El Paso.

El Paso BBQ 04

“Cod Hoagie Special”

While there was a pretty cool brisket hash discovery at Tony’s The Pit Bar-B-Q near downtown, that was really the only praise-worthy item I could find. Not just there, but anywhere in the city. I struck out at the two places the El Paso Times recommended for best local barbecue: State Line Barbecue (part of the County Line chain), which captured the paper’s attention in 2013, and Off the Grill, the food truck newcomer the EPT touted in 2014. I stopped by Mangaringas Smokehouse, which just opened last November, hoping it was an undiscovered gem. It was not. The other ten or so places didn’t fare much better.

This dearth of good smoked meats got me wondering: how did El Paso become such a barbecue desert? A quick look back in our own archives and I realized it wasn’t always this way. In 1997, Joe Nick Patoski called Bill Parks Bar-B-Que a “red-Naugahyde oasis of soul-style barbecue in the desert” in the inaugural Texas Monthly Top 50. John Spong sang the praises of Chris Ivey’s joint, The Brisket, in the 2003 list. But sadly, Bill Parks passed away in 2004, and Ivey closed his restaurant in 2007. A successor has yet to emerge, and there are some reasons one might not carry the torch, including one big one: food costs.

El Paso BBQ 02

A typical tray of El Paso BBQ

After Ivey left the barbecue business, he went to work for the city. I tracked him down, and he told me via email that he thinks the real issue might simply be the cost of doing business. “Economics has become a tremendous factor on having good smoked meat,” he said.

He cited a recent hike in commodity prices like beef, an economic reality that’s hitting all pitmasters hard, but he also pointed out that importing the fuel for smokers–wood–to a city in the middle of a desert also strained overhead costs. What if places paid for better ingredients and just charged more, I asked. Ivey says running a barbecue joint in El Paso isn’t that simple: “Can the population support an establishment that can put out a great product, regardless of what it costs, and afford the [upwardly adjusted] price on a regular schedule?” It’s the same question that a lot of independent, small town barbecue joints have to ask themselves today.

That makes things tough for independent operators, but a chain with more resources is better equipped financially to deal with these challenges. It was no surprise to me that a place like Rudy’s BBQ, with three local joints and nearly forty locations across the country, served the best barbecue I ate in town.

El Paso BBQ 03

Rudy’s BBQ in El Paso

So while it’s tough to find great barbecue in El Paso, a more salient question might be, does it matter to folks in El Paso? John Lewis, pitmaster for Austin’s La Barbecue and soon-to-open Lewis Barbecue, grew up in El Paso and doesn’t remember the local barbecue making much of an impression on him either way. “What we thought of as barbecue was State Line and Cattleman’s.” He’s not a big fan of either now, but back then? “I liked it,” he conceded, before quickly adding, “but as soon as I got to Austin, I fell in love with barbecue.”

One reason Lewis thinks El Paso barbecue didn’t mean much to him was his love for another local staple: “The Mexican food. I’ve missed that ever since I left El Paso.” Austin might have some of the best barbecue in the world, but it doesn’t have Tex-Mex to match the city out west. Ubiquitous homemade tortillas and limitless cheesy enchiladas help one forget all about pale brisket slices.

El Pasoans might be so happy with a great plate of Mexican food that they don’t even notice that the national barbecue renaissance hasn’t made a stop in their city. That it not only forgot it, but seems to have skipped over it to a different desert city: Phoenix, where you’ll find excellent smoked brisket and homemade sausage at Little Miss BBQ.

Help, for those who seek it, might be on the way. I’ve been tracking the social media accounts of Desert Oak BBQ, a caterer in El Paso that plans to open a new barbecue joint in town this summer. Based on the few photos they’ve posts, the brisket looks good, but I won’t know until their began serving in a few months. Hopefully it will be the turning point to bring legitimate barbecue to El Paso. Until then stick to the pillowy gorditas at Little Diner and tasty chile rellenos at H&H Car Wash.



    Matthew Bacchus says:

    I grew up in El Paso and the place I used to go to was Johnny’s Pit BBQ on the Westside of town. Rib Hut was pretty good and the Stateline was always best. But when I would go visit some family in Georgetown, I was always introduced to GREAT bbq. Places like The Salt Lick or Coopers (in Llano I think) were prime.

    And I do believe that El Pasoans don’t care too much for good bbq. Maybe because of the Hispanic population but who knows…

    Mark Niethamer says:

    Daniel, your story stings a little but it’s all true. If only Aaron Franklin could find someone from El Paso to teach his magic to. One can only hope the Funks from Desert Oak can help bring El Paso BBQ out of its funk. And John Lewis is right. Austin doesn’t have the Tex-Mex to match our Mexican food. So it’s surprising to see that Chuy’s is opening an El Paso location. I think they’re wasting their time.

    Mbourgon says:

    I think John Lewis hit the nail on the head. El Paso really has no barbecue culture, at all. Going up there, State Line and Cattlemans were an occasional treat, some exotic form of cooking. In El Paso, everything comes with rice and beans. Even the rice and beans. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that; I miss it terribly. But, much like far E. Texas, there’s no good BBQ to compare against, and so nobody knows what’s missing.

    Next time you go, though, try the brisket stew at State Line; that’s pretty good.

    Miguel Cardenas says:

    I’m from San Antonio, now living in El Paso for thirty years. You’re correct in stating that one is hard-pressed to find good BBQ in EP. I miss it. I loved Chris Ivey’s place. My saving grace is my parents gave me a pit smoker from Uvalde. I use it often, and yes, the meat is getting expensive. Great article! Gorditas and chile relleños!

    Joey Mungle says:

    Ouch. Although I would agree EP doesn’t have amazing BBQ this dude needs to up his game in Mexican restaurants and boot selection. h&h and little diner?!? Really? How about Kiki’s or L&J? And Luccrappy, really? There are so many small boot companies that surpass. Come visit us at Caboots baby! And I’ll take you to a real Mexican restaurant and not the tourist traps.

      christina says:

      Native El Pasoan here: Joey; I agree. H&H and little diner are so not the emblems of authentic El Paso cusine…TM seriously needs an update on their El Paso game.

      Hey, I don’t have the cash for Rocketbuster. The Lucchese outlet treated me just fine. And I went to H&H for sentimental reasons, but why hate on Little Diner? Those gorditas were fantastic.

    Chuck Gray says:

    As a native El Pasoan, I’ll admit the BBQ there was lacking. But to make up for it, Y’alls Mexican/Tex-Mex food sucks!!!!! That stuff is horrible!!! I’ve lived in San Diego, CA for the past 25 yrs. now, and yes, the Mexican food out here is different. But, there is one local BBQ joint that is “Texas Worthy” out here. It is Coop’s West Texas BBQ in Lemon Grove, CA. The owner, Brad, is from Midland, and he’s the real deal, and he’s got it going right!!!!

    Sandra A says:


    Accurate piece with one glaring exception. El Paso don’t do Tex/Mex!

    jack says:

    I’m not surprised that Saul’s BBQ wasn’t mentioned since it went out of business some years ago. But I grew up in El Paso eating Saul’s takeout back when the original Saul owned and operated just north of the downtown area. And later when the son took over and operated the business on Montana near the McCrae intersection. My mom loved the BBQ hash, which was distinctive to Saul’s and something I’ve never found elsewhere.

      I wish I’d been able to try their hash. Thanks for sharing.

        Kid says:

        Ohhh man, I still remember how that delicious BBQ hash tasted. Their sauce was a bright, sweeter mix that went perfect with the burrito.

        I wish the son would teach someone else that recipe so it could continue the legacy.

        Other than that, great article, and spot on about the lack of good cue in El Paso. Though one distinction: El Paso doesn’t do Tex-Mex, it does Chih-Mex (Chihuahua-Mex).

    miguel bonilla says:

    Texas monthly consistently ignores El Paso except to write this article-thanks Texas Monthly for making the drive out here just to complain and report back that yes, indeed we are still attention un-worthy.

    Marco Ochoa says:

    Many years ago, Sol’s BBQ downtown and later on Montana was really good. I believe it closed down after the owner retired. It was a family owned spot.

    Oscar Gereda says:

    I totally agree with your review. Pretty sad when the best is a large chain, Rudy’s, which is where I go for the best in town. Did you try Mo’s BBQ?
    I also agree that we have fantastic Mexican food and so we don’t really care about BBQ being sub par. I go to central Texas for it.

      For the record, I’ve tried Tony’s The Pit BBQ, State Line, Johnny’s Pit BBQ, Famous Dave’s, Rudy’s, Mangaringas Smokehouse, Mo’Z BBQ, Off the Grill, Smokey’s, Smitty’s, Rib Hut, and the Cattlemen’s in Fabens. Jason Cohen tried a few more including Tommy’s in 2013.

    Kylie Owen says:

    I grew up in a small town east of El Paso and though the BBQ selection isn’t the best, Smokey’s BBQ is pretty dang good! Smokey’s has three locations in town.

    Here’s a link to their website. http://www.smokeysbbqelp.com/

    Ryan says:

    but have you tried Mexican style brisket? Mmmmm with chile con queso. Ahhhh!

    Bulldog says:

    The largely Hispanic population of El Paso & the surrounding area simply won’t tolerate good BBQ. And the vast majority of non-Hispanic folks don’t know what good BBQ is. I’m surprised at how long Rudy’s have stayed in business here. It is NOT the same quality of food as a TX Rudy’s or even the two in ABQ. I’ve seen countless orders of brisket back because the cutter simply won’t slice it any other way than haphazardly razor thin with no bark or fat to be found.

    Larry H. says:

    El Paso is not known for its BBQ and never has been. Bill Parks BBQ was great,Famous Daves is pretty good, but you have so many choices of outstanding Mexican Food in el paso, why settle for BBQ. i live in austin and probably eat at a bbq restaurant once every 2 or 3 months. In El Paso Mexican Food is king and so is Cattlemans Steakhouse. I would like to see Texas Monthly do a article on Authentic Mexican food, Southwest Cuisine or Cattlemans Steakhouse and i’m pretty sure El Paso will rank pretty high.

    Danny says:

    Great article. The author is absolutely correct BBQ in El Paso is very mediocre. I am hispanic and born and raised in the sun city, but have moved throught the U.S. Since i joined the military. I love bbq now, but that is mainly due to the fact that i moved to the east coast and was introduced to the awesomeness that is whole hog by one of my military buddies. That experience absolutely changed me. I bought my own pit long ago and learned how to cook bbq from as many people as i could in every place i have been fortunate enough to travel to within the US. I am constantly refining my backyard q and eventually plan to join the circuits. My family still lives in EL Paso and i have introduced them to what BBQ is supposed to be. Their initial expression was, “that meat looks burnt and why is it still pink.” Once I explained, they tried it and understood as well. I hope the new bbq generation in El Paso takes the local Q to a Texas level.

    Michael Moreno says:

    or maybe it’s what they are evaluating as BBQ (brisket, which,yes, is considered a Texas staple)…we may not have many local joints serving up what they consider great BBQ, but I guarantee we have plenty of local talent that can smoke up some delicious cabrito, or a cow’s head too, etc in a dirt pit that rivals what they consider good in Austin…we just prefer to cook it ourselves in our backyard while we enjoy a few cold ones with family and friends

    Sabrina Hill says:

    I grew up in Dixie, and always thought that the BBQ was far too sweet. A decade after retiring from the Army, I moved to Phoenix, and finally found BBQ that was not sickly sweet. In 2003, we moved to Hudspeth County, and on our monthly trips to El Paso, we found Rudy’s. The gas is Cheap, the big screens are great, and while not as good as what was available in Phoenix, The food at Rudy’s is enjoyable, and the best in El Paso, hands down.

    Doug V says:

    Before moving to El Paso, I would come across El Paso Bar-B-Que, a restaurant chain, believing BBQ must be in El Paso since El Paso is in Texas. Oh, how wrong I was. Yeah, there are a few places to have BBQ in El Paso, but with so little competition, and almost no BBQ culture, they can serve what they want and call it BBQ. We even had a local chef compete in one of those Pit Master TV shows but she didn’t make it past the first round. It’s not difficult to make good BBQ–heck, I do it in my own backyard; but it does take skill and practice to make GREAT BBQ… and Texas know-how. Now, go to one of many real BBQ joints, in Texas or outside, and y’all will quickly realize what y’all are missing. El Paso is NOT Texas in this regard.

    Roberto says:

    I would say El Paso gets a bad reputation on a lot of things mainly because it’s easy to just talk trash about the relatively little town that doesn’t actually belong to either Texas nor New Mexico (nor Mexico for that matter). Also, there is a lack of city pride, very painfully accented by publicity attempts such as #itsallgoodep, that allows any and everybody to publish this type of article without many repercussions. That said, I am no expert on BBQ (the author probably isn’t either) and I am not claiming the State Line is the best there is, but it is pretty damn good, and I am yet to find anything better in Dallas, Houston or SA. But that is just my humble opinion.

      If you haven’t found anything better than State Line in Dallas, Houston, or SA then you’re not looking hard enough. Let me next time you’re traveling to any of them and I’ll give you some recommendations.

    Kathrine says:

    My uncle owned Sol ‘ s barbeque. The best bbq hash and sandwiches. I’ve heard Moe’s bbq is very good also, made the old fashion way as well. Maybe, next time your in town. Go check it out. # tito Herrera # lala Herrera

    Gary W says:

    all the old time bbq chefs are gone. Chris Ivey had pretty good grub. I still smoke meat with mesquite and oak but don’t have the cash to open a place up. The biggest thing is quality meat, rubs, a good homemade sauce and PATIENCE. You cannot rush good bbq. I have my late moms sauce recipe and everybody loves it when I batch it up when cooking.

    JR says:

    That’s because the best BBQ for years was in the J. Lockhart backyard. He taught Johnny a thing or two when those old Timers went downtown to his place. They’d ask Johnny why he put pickles on those .50 cent sandwiches and Johnny would just shrug his shoulders. “Good BBQ doesn’t need sauce” Mr. Lockhart would say and he would slow cook those briskets with seasonings and a basting sauce his family down from Lockhart, Texas had given him. It was the best in El Paso and it died with him back in the early ’70’s.

    Karen says:

    I ask that question at least once a week. Chris the Brisket was by far the best until he closed down. Everything else here now is horrible and a lot of them taste like the meat was reheated. Smokeys, Rib Hut, State Line, Rudys, Famous Dave’s. Yuk, yuk, yuk. I make better BBQ than them. We don’t only eat Mexican food here either, for all of you that think that. And whoever said Rudy’s was the best, I think you need your taste buds checked. They spend all those hours smoking meat, only to cut off all the flavoring before serving. They don’t even know what a flat is.

    Gary W says:

    there’s a small place in Las Cruces called Ranchway on north Valley drive. The smoke meat and slice it very thin and make the very best flautas with them. I’ve been eating there for 50 years, all the way back when it was called Kovars. If any of you readers get up there, treat yourself to the very best flautas with smoked brisket meat.

    Thane says:

    Well my favorite is Mo’Z BBQ. They still cook on a pit with wood. Everyone thinks they closed, but that was Moe’s Mexican food. Mo’Z is on Alabama across from Beaumont. They’ve added New food items including Collard Greens and Chicken and Waffle. And their ribs and brisket are to die for.

    I’ve had the privilege of enjoying Desert Oak BBQ from the beginning. El Paso needs a new BBQ champion! The City of El Paso should fund the uprising and domination of the BBQ industry by this new opponent. Desert Oak BBQ will soon be a household name.

    Joy Cowins says:

    The next time that you are in town, try Moz BBQ, formely Bob’s BBQ. It’s the onlt one that comes close to Mr. Bill Parks, which was true BBQ

    Charles (Andy) Vazquez says:

    Well, I am from Houston and one of the 1st things we noticed was the lack of BBQ in El Paso. I always wondered about the history of this and your article provided a lot of info. We quickly found Sol’s and then gravitated to Mo’s on Fred Wilson. But now I choose to make my own BBQ in the back yard. But when in Austin, Houston, San Antonio or other towns I always go get some BBQ. For a long time I was rather fond of the trailer in front of the Cottonwood Inn on 71. That guy made great BBQ. Maybe a good BBQ place at the Fountains could make it. But, Chuy’s won’t draw the natives only visitors and UT ex’s.

    Paco Charte says:

    “Austin might have some of the best barbecue in the world, but it doesn’t have Tex-Mex to match the city out west. ”

    You seem to be confused. Tex-Mex as they call and serve it here in central Texas is not served in El Paso. It’s border Mexican or straight up northern Mexican food there. Get your facts straight on something other than BBQ, please.

    Carlos says:

    Isnt it ironic how the article on bad BBQ in El Paso gets the most comments than any other article/interview ever written on this site.

    isaac says:

    Smokeys BBQ here in El Paso, I think is one of the best. I’ve tried Central Texas BBQ and I think Smokeys is right on par with them or better.

    Danny Gonzalez says:

    Well, I just saw the news and I was not surprised to here that there isn’t any good bbq in El Paso TX. . But I am here to let you know that that is going to change very soon!!! “Just smoke it”is a new bbq shack that has just opened in El Paso. Both Jessie Astorga(owner) and I have opened the first bbq shack in El Paso and we are determined to be the best bbq with great service, good food, at a reasonable price. I would invite you to come back to El Paso and try ” Just smoke it” and see if we can’t change your mind
    P.S. Bring back those Luchasses and we’ll trade them in for some Tony Lama’s

    jesse says:

    NONSENSE! I just opened up a BBQ Joint here in El Paso because of the lack of them and who likes franchises anyways…… i guess i didnt have a chance yet to represent, but soon you will all hear of me…. Just smoke it

    Bulldog says:

    Only in El Paso would an honest article about BBQ be turned into a knee-jerk overreaction about types of Mexican food.

    David says:

    Being from El Paso and visiting such areas as Atlanta, Austin, and Memphis, I can only say that El Paso doesn’t do barbeque the way those places do. In my opinion, it’s about taste, not method. I’ve had a local brisket smoked out of a metal trash can in that blew the doors off of one made in Atlanta. The fact that someone like me can fashion a slow cooker, buy a decent cut of brisket, pork, and sausage, and smoke it myself could be the reason you haven’t found a noteworthy barbeque establishment. To many people in El Paso prefer the DIY method. Hell, the best sauce I’ve ever tasted came from a combo of sriracha sauce and generic BBQ sauce. Does that make me an expert in the barbeque game? Nope, but I know what I like.

    Eric says:

    As much as it pains me to admit it, Daniel is absolutely correct. The BBQ here in El Paso, generally speaking, stinks. The Rib Hut, Smokeys, State Line, chains like Famous Daves – all terrible. There are a couple of places worth trying, though. The sausage at Tumbleweed is terrific, and everything at the R&B Cafe on McCombs is good except the pulled pork, although you have to go only on Saturday.

    Daniel is absolutely wrong, though, in defending TM’s overall coverage of El Paso. So there have been a couple of mentions in the last few years – compare that to the amount of coverage given to Austin or Fort Worth, cities of comparable size. The fact is that Texas Monthly does usually ignore El Paso because the upper-crust white readership of the mag doesn’t live here That editorial blind spot has gotten better in recent years but it hasn’t disappeared.

    Mikey says:

    Having lived in Kansas City for five years, I know good BBQ and unfortunately I have yet to find really good BBQ here

    Steven says:

    Texas is a country, not a state. So expect the same variations over Texas that you would over the U.S. No shame in the lack of jambalaya in Seattle. No shame in the lack of bbq in El Paso.

    Seth says:

    Asking why El Paso doesn’t have good barbecue (anymore. We miss you Chris, RIP Bill Parks) is like asking why Chinese food in America is different than what they serve in Beijing. This article briefly touches on a few of the main reasons, to wit- the climate is drier, the elevation is higher, we don’t have mesquite forests to support a barbecue culture and Northern Mexican cuisine is much more prevalent. Texas is home to many, many amazing, beautiful, unique regional cultures and El Paso’s is forever the least understood by our fellow Texans.

    Glad you noted the BBQ places in EP that you tried; at least you did go to more than a few. After hearing this topic on Texas Standard, I returned to Johnny’s Pit BBQ on Doniphan…their brisket sandwich w/ green chile sauce was excellent…smoked flavor, tenderness, portion, sauce, and so on.

    Having enjoyed great BBQ at 10+ places in Austin, central TX including even Junction (both Cooper’s), I think El Paso’s Johnny’s and Tony’s downtown hold their own against any in ATX so far. I’ll try to read up on other BBQ places to see where you’re coming from, but I sense some “Austin exceptionalism” coming through. I try to enjoy a place on it’s own merits w/o making excuses for it, but I guess few want to do that…a shame.

    Wish I knew what your “beef” was…i.e. what you base this all on.

    Tony A says:

    Hey buddy. While in West Texas, try KDs in Midland Texas. They have this mixed sausage that is delicious. I think u will enjoy the rest of the menu and the ambiance also.

    Eddie Cepeda says:

    Hey Daniel, take a look at this article I wrote a while ago about home smoked brisket in El Paso. Shortly before your article came out, we started work on a place too. Our Instagram is @lovebuzz915. I think a trip back here is probably in order. Now you’ll have two places to try who promise to be worth it.

    Eddie Cepeda says:

    htt p://issuu
    .co m/denisselimas4/docs/tcm_august_2014_for_web2

    Tim says:

    I am a veteran who just lost my job because of an owner that would not stand up to his money hungry family. And am now looking to create great bbq and operate from either a food truck or trailer and would appreciate anyone’s suggestions that may help me succeed in this business .

    Ben Meadows says:

    Anyone who says Daniel Vaughn doesn’t know what he’s talking about in the barbecue department just proves the El Paso ignorance in the same department. So thank you, Mr. Vaugn, first of all for taking the time to write about El Paso Q.. Secondly, thanks for reaffirming what a whole bunch of us in this town have long been thinking. I am not native to EP. I grew up in McAllen, TX, another border town south of San Antonio. My love of meat cooked over fire, as well as Tex-Mex cuisine, was born there. It wasn’t until much later that I uncovered the difference between grilling fajitas over direct heat and barbecuing a brisket (low and slow) using indirect heat. Now, after years of study, practice, eating and love I have started competing on the BBQ circuit and tend to think I know a little something about good barbecue. Mr. Vaugn is spot on, and it really is sad that Rudy’s has some of the best barbecue in El Paso. (By the way, Rib Hut wasn’t edible at all.) Even my native-born neighbors have said the same thing.
    I think, though, that this town is NOT a lost cause. I think there is an opportunity for the so-called Barbecue Renaissance to find its way here. I love Mexican food as much as anyone else, but even I am sick of it. El Paso something different. El Pado needs great barbecue. I plan to bring it eventually. I am in the Army, so I just can’t right now. Hopefully Desert Oak is bringing it already. But there is room for more. Mr. Vaugn, next time you are here, you should pay a visit to Carlos A. Navar’s (CAN Enterprises) house in the lower valley. He’s the wood man of EP, and he’s been smoking meat since the 70’s. I buy my wood from him, and he’s very interesting to talk to. His yard is a smoker museum and he knows more about wood than anyone I have ever met. Well worth an hour of your time. And be on the lookout for The Nice to Meat You BBQ Co., on the rise and coming soon.

    George Stevens says:

    There is great BBQ in El Paso, Texas and it is call Desert Oak Barbecue next to Cowtown Boots on 1-10 Gateway West.

    Bill says:

    I have a grill store that has pellet grills to produce the most outstanding BBQ and its located here in El Paso
    2601 N Stanton


    Raul says:

    We have a new gold mine in town worth the drive and trip there’s nothing like it …. it’s a little shack named just smoke it the smoked flavor there’s nothing like it hits the spot gives Austin a run for its money

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *