Pitmaster Interviews

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…

Interview: John Raven PhB

Title: Commissioner of Barbecue, PhB Age: 76 “Allow me to introduce myself. I am John Raven. I am the individual who has done more for barbecue than anyone else.” Those were the first three sentences in a letter I received about a year ago. It was the first letter I received after being named the barbecue editor at Texas Monthly. I then went searching for more about Mr. Raven when I found his barbecue autobiography. “I…

Interview: J. D. Bost of Jasper’s Bar-B-Q

Pitmaster: Jasper’s Bar-B-Q, opened 1915 (or 1918) Age: 52 Smoker: Gas-fired rotisserie smoker Wood: Pecan and Oak About six weeks ago I sat down with J. D. Bost at Jasper’s Bar-B-Q in Waco. He’s the general manager of this nearly century-old barbecue restaurant on Elm Street started by an Italian immigrant. Since the DiMaria family sold the business it has gone through multiple hands. Now a trio of local investors own it, and J. D. Bost is…

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