Amarillo

John Snider, Panhandle Barbecue King

Barbecue in the Texas Panhandle has struggled for a foothold in statewide prominence, and that’s not entirely because of its far-flung locale. The area is a relative newcomer to Texas barbecue history. Amarillo’s founding in 1897, after all, was a year after Southside Market opened in Elgin. The oldest barbecue joints in the area opened in the fifties, which explains why Texas barbecue lore rarely mentions the Panhandle. Still, the region has produced one of the best…

Interview: Gary Williams of Gary’s BBQ

  Former Owner: Gary’s Barbeque Age: 75 When he was twenty-six, Gary Williams said doctors told him he was bipolar and diagnosed him with depression and a chemical imbalance. “That’s a load, but I made it. I had a great doctor,” he told me while we sat across from one another at Tyler’s Barbeque in Amarillo. He’s a regular there, but until 2002, he had his own barbecue joint in town. After overcoming his medical…

BBQ Anatomy 101: Beef Plate

Before brisket dominated Texas barbecue, meat markets served a vast variety of smoked beef cuts. The old-school meat markets of Central Texas would smoke anything left in the case too long, most often cuts from the forequarter, like shoulder clod or beef chuck. In the Dallas area during the forties and fifties, smoked beef typically came from a little further back on the steer, specifically beef plate, a.k.a. beef navel, a.k.a. navel plate. Billy McDonald runs Mac’s…

Spicy Mike’s Bar-B-Q Haven

Mike Havens was done being an electrician. He had a lot more fun making barbecue for his crew, so he got a bigger smoker. That steel offset smoker sits out front by the road, but it’s mainly for show unless Havens has a catering gig. The workhouse now is a hand-me-down. After he purchased the business from the previous owner, Butch Testerman, Haven was surprised to find a Smoke-Master cabinet smoker by J&R Manufacturing still sitting…

Virdinski’s Rub Shack

Amarillo can be a tough place for barbecue purists. Chris Virden is trying hard to make good barbecue at the three-month old Virdinski’s, but he can’t always make it the way he’d like to. In addition to his dozen years working for a local steakhouse, Virden is also a serious contender in the barbecue competition circuit. He knows competition style barbecue won’t fly in a restaurant setting. The flavors are just too bold and too…

Interview: Tyler Frazer of Tyler’s Barbeque

Pitmaster: Tyler’s Barbeque, opened 2010 Age: 45 Smoker: Wood-fired Cabinet Smoker Wood: Mesquite Tyler Frazer took a converted Long John Silvers and turned it into a unique Panhandle barbecue joint. The menu itself isn’t so unique. You’ll find all the barbecue standards, but it’s his methods that buck the standard way of doing things up north. Yesterday’s meat is never sold. He cooks what he thinks he can sell in a day, and no more. If he runs out…