Pitmaster Interviews

Interview: Adrian Handsborough of Virgie’s Bar-B-Que

Owner/Pitmaster: Virgie’s Bar-B-Que; Opened 2005 Age: 49 Smoker: Wood-Fired Offset Smoker Wood: Post Oak On Virgie’s website they have a brief description of their restaurant, but what has stuck with me was their promise of a “barbecure.” It’s a pun so obvious I’m curious why it isn’t used more often. Their ribs are sure to be the cure for plenty of ailments, and the brisket’s not bad either. I love that sausage too, but Handsborough wasn’t about to tell me…

Interview: Tim Rattray of The Granary

Owner/Pitmaster/Chef: The Granary; Opened 2012 Age: 31 Smoker: Wood-Fired Rotisserie Smoker Wood: Live Oak  There isn’t another barbecue joint in Texas with as many menus to deal with as The Granary. They have a lunch menu with traditional barbecue items and a rotating daily lunch special that includes Cajun pulled pork and brisket pastrami. Their dinner menu is a completely different collection of composed dishes that changes monthly. Then there are the special dinners. Just this month chef Tim…

Interview: Nicole Davenport

Pitmaster: BBQ Pitmasters (2010), Sugar & Smoke (2012), Chopped (2012) Age: 43 I visited Sugar & Smoke restaurant in Fredericksburg in early 2012. That’s the first time I was introduced to Nicole Davenport. The menu was long, with only a few items of true barbecue. When I asked for a sample of everything smoked, I think she was excited just to find someone interested enough in her barbecue to want a tray full. I wrote about it in…

Interview: Buzzie Hughes of Buzzie’s Bar-B-Q

Owner/Pitmaster: Buzzie’s Bar-B-Q, opened 1993 (current location since 1997) Age: 54 Smoker: Wood-fired smoker Wood: Live Oak I had just started a phone conversation with Harold “Buzzie” Hughes. “Let her rip potato chip” was his way of getting our interview kicked off. Buzzie is a man of steadfast opinions on smoked meats. “Cheap barbecue’s not good, and good barbecue’s not cheap.” And on the experience required to cook brisket: “Barbecue is like wine. You don’t pull a brisket before its…

Interview: Steve Olson of Hidden Canyon Farm

Owner: Hidden Canyon Farm in Lyons, New York Author: Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications (IMPS) If you’ve ever purchased a cut of meat then you’ve been impacted by IMPS. IMPS, or the Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications are the guidelines for most of the beef cuts you purchase in the U.S. whether you’re familiar with them or not. NAMP or the North American Beef Processors Association has taken the text-only IMPS guide and made it more user…

Interview: Thomas Abramowicz of The Beast

Owner: The Beast: Maison Deviandes Fumees, opened 2014 Age: 31 Smoker: Wood-fired rotisserie smoker (once it’s delivered) Wood: Oak I was in line for the bathroom at Hill Country BBQ Market in New York when a man who recognized me approached. He wanted to know if I could find a Texas pitmaster for him to apprentice with. This man wanted to open a Texas-style barbecue joint in Paris…France. That was almost a year ago. Since then…

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