Pitmaster Interviews

Interview: James Davis of Davis Meat Market

Owner/Pitmaster: Davis Meat Market; Opened 1988 Age: 76 Smoker: Gas-fired Rotisserie Smoker Wood: Oak I rang a buzzer outside this bright red metal building in Houston’s Fifth Ward, and owner James Davis met me at the door. As soon as I stepped inside the smell of raw meat was present, but not unpleasant, and it was tempered with a whiff of fried cracklins. I followed Mr. Davis to his back counter where most of the transactions happen. Along the way I…

Interview: Tim Byres of Smoke

Co-Owner/Chef: Smoke; Opened 2009 Age: 39 Smoker: Wood-fired Offset Smoker Wood: Various Tim Byres is a man who is hard to pin down, mainly because he despises labels. He has been chef, pitmaster, author, culinary diplomat, and almost a food stylist. Six years ago he opened Smoke in West Dallas along with Chris Zielke and Chris Jeffers, and earlier this year they opened the doors to a new location in Plano. Things are going well for the team. Although its…

Interview: Michael Hernandez of Hays Co. Bar-B-Que

Owner/Pitmaster: Hays Co. Bar-B-Que; Opened 2007 Age: 41 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Post Oak In just eight short years, Michael Hernandez has gone from complete barbecue newbie to running one of the best barbecue joints in Texas. He was a fast learner and was dedicated to learning a new craft that he first encountered at Kreuz Market in Lockhart just a year before opening Hays Co. Bar-B-Que in San Marcos. Hernandez cooks on all wood smokers of…

Interview: John Mueller of John Mueller Meat Co.

Owner/Pitmaster: John Mueller Meat Co.; Opened 2013 Age: 46 Smoker: Wood-fired Offset Smoker Wood: Oak Mercurial is often the word chosen to describe John Mueller. Verbal attacks on customers and employees are a regular occurrence, but they keep coming back for his famous barbecue. There’s a famous name involved too. John’s father was the legendary Bobby Mueller who stoked the fires at the heralded Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, Texas for decades before his death in 2008. John’s brother is Wayne…

Interview: Shane Wilkinson and Lynn Owens of Bartley’s BBQ

Business: Bartley’s BBQ; Opened 1968 Owner: Lynn Owens Pitmaster: Shane Wilkinson, 36 Smoker: Wood-Fired Rotisserie Pit Wood: Hickory Bartley’s BBQ has changed hands a number of times since it opened in 1968, and it was forced to change locations in the nineties. Shane Wilkinson is the pitmaster, and son-in-law of owner Lynn Owens, and he jokes that this once-temporary location in a strip mall has served them just fine. Lynn Owens is just getting back into the barbecue business after…

Interview: Eddie Deen of Eddie Deen and Co.

Owner/Pitmaster: Eddie Deen and Co.; Opened 1994 Age: 58 Smoker: Wood Fired Rotisserie Smoker Wood: Hickory In the last twenty years, Eddie Deen has quietly built a barbecue empire. His restaurants include Crossroads BBQ in Arlington, Hickory Roots BBQ in Terrell, and Eddie Deen’s BBQ in Rockwall. There’s also a giant event space south of downtown Dallas called the Eddie Deen Ranch, but the lifeblood of the whole operation doesn’t have a sign on it. An enormous commissary kitchen…

1 2 3 15