As many of you know, Daniel contributes BBQ restaurant reviews and cultural history articles that go way beyond what you might call typical food blogging. I’ve followed his writing since purchasing his 2013 book The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue.
Daniel’s book covers all of the varied styles of BBQ cooked across the great state of Texas in a way that showcases the various ways BBQ is prepared but, more importantly, shares the stories and history behind how those styles developed. In this regard, it has a style that’s very similar to the North Carolina BBQ book written by John Shelton Reed and his wife Dale Volberg Reed, called Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue.
As I listened to the recording of my interview with Daniel Vaughn, I realized just how much ground we covered a relatively short amount of time.
Some of the items covered in my talk with Daniel Vaughn include:
- Daniel’s friendship with Anthony Bourdain during and after the publishing of Prophets of Smoked Meat
- BBQ restaurants that deserve more press than they get
- The impact Daniel’s Texas Monthly BBQ reviews have on BBQ restaurants
- Why Daniel fears one particular style of Texas BBQ may be at risk of becoming a thing of the past
- How to know the best time to hit that BBQ spot you’ve been dying to try
- What it was like working with Sam Jones on his book about whole hog BBQ
The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue
Daniel Vaughn’s remarkable book, The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue – 2013 – Released under the Anthony Bourdain Imprint from Echo Print Books.
On a very special note, Daniel Shares his views on the way Anthony Bourdain shared not just the food of places or cultures but shared the narratives and stories of those cultures.
BBQ Restaurants That Deserve More Press than they Get
We also deal with the ways that many of the Texas BBQ joints that get a ton of press, and justifiably so, while others that are equally great in their own right get less recognition. We address the issue of cultural diversity here that I found very insightful. Smoke-A-Holics BBQ, a black-owned BBQ business located in a historically black neighborhood hood in the Forth Worth area, receives a special mention here, and deservedly so. His article about Smoke-A-Holics is excellent, and I congratulate owners Derrick and Kesha Walker for the work they are doing there.
Daniel also talks about a couple of places in South Texas offering up less familiar dishes like smoked sweetbreads (also known as Mollejas), which are the thymus or pancreas typically from a calf or a lamb. Again, Daniel wrote a great article about smoked Mollejas in Texas Monthly you should read.
The Impact Daniel’s Texas Monthly BBQ Reviews Have on BBQ Businesses
We also address the impact Daniel visa vis his role as a highly respected and influential BBQ food critic and the effect that his write-ups have on the places he reviews.
Why Many of the Texas Hill Country Style BBQ Joints are Disappearing
Daniel shares why we’re seeing the Texas Hill Country BBQ style fade away in some places, where pitmasters cook BBQ using direct heat. Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, TX, helmed by Kerry Bexley, Tootsie Tomanetz, and Clay Cowgill, is an example of this type of establishment.
While Snow’s BBQ isn’t going anywhere, others have moved away from this labor-intensive way of cooking BBQ.
How to Know the Best Time to Hit That BBQ Spot You’ve Been Dying to Try
Daniel and I talk about how the idea that you need to get to your favorite Texas BBQ joint early if you want any before they sell out doesn’t always play well in regions outside of Texas where this model is employed. We also discuss how a couple of BBQ joints in Texas serve good BBQ all day long and do it well. We also address cases where those that do should probably stop.
What it Was Like Working with Sam Jones on his Book About Whole Hog BBQ
Daniel shares some great stories here about spending time in North Carolina working on Whole Hog BBQ: The Gospel of Carolina Barbecue with famed whole hog pitmaster Sam Jones. This portion of the interview is one of my favorites parts! There is a neat reference to the way the Sam Jones book mirrors the combination of narratives, stories, and recipes that you see in Aaron Franklin’s popular book Franklin Barbecue: A Meat Smoking Manifesto.
Daniel Vaughn Episode – Closing Thoughts
I think you’ll agree that Daniel and I cover a great deal of ground during this conversation.
We referenced 24 different BBQ restaurants during our talk, and as you know, your local BBQ restaurants depend on us more now than ever before for our patronage and support. If you have a favorite BBQ spot near you and can manage it, please consider making a take out order a regular part of your meal prep plans.
Daniel Vaughn – BBQ Strategy Series
Daniel has a great series of articles over in the BBQ section of Texas Monthly on the different strategies BBQ restaurant owners are using to keep the doors open. So be sure and head over and give those articles a read.
You can also catch a great YouTube Live video chat that I hosted with Daniel and Kevin Kelly from Kevin’s BBQ Joints. Kevin is in Los Angeles, so we get to hear about both Texas and Los Angeles BBQ Restaurant strategies being used to keep business going.
Daniel’s articles contain a ton of information and super valuable insights, so you’ll be glad you did.
As always, I thank you for being a BBQ Beat Podcast listener. If you like what you’ve heard here, please share this podcast with others.
Remember to stay safe and help your neighbors as you are able. If you’re cooking up something delicious, post some photos up on Instagram and be sure to tag The BBQ Beat, so I’ll be sure to see them!
BBQ Restaurants Mentioned in this Episode:
- Smoke-A-Holics BBQ in Forth Worth, TX
- Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue in Tomball, TX
- Gonzalitoz Bar-B-Q in San Diego, TX
- J&S Pit Stop in San Diego, TX
- Avila’s Bar-B-Q in Hebbronville, TX
- Franklin BBQ in Austin, TX
- La BBQ in Austin, TX
- Kreuz Market
- Smitty’s Market
- Louie Mueller Barbecue
- Evie Mae’s BBQ
- Micklethwait Craft Meats
- Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, TX
- Hard Eight BBQ in Stephenville, Texas (Multiple Locations)
- Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que in Llano, TX (Multiple Locations)
- Ten 50 BBQ in Richardson, TX
- Terry Black’s Barbecue in Austin and Dallas, TX
- Hutchins BBQ in McKinney and Frisco, TX
- Teddy’s Barbecue in Weslaco, TX
- The Bird Barbecue in Berlin, Germany
- Texas Barbecue Café in Asker, Norway
- Q39 in Kansas City and Overland Park, Kansas
- Corkscrew BBQ in Spring, Texas
- Pecan Lodge BBQ Dallas, Texas
- Burn Co Barbeque in Tulsa, Oklahoma
- College BBQ in Salisbury, North Carolina
- Sam Jones BBQ in Winterville, North Carolina
- The Skylight Inn in Ayden, North Carolina
- Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q in Atlanta, Georgia
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- Catching Up with Daniel Vaughn of Texas Monthly
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