Reviews

FM Smoke House

FM Smoke House began with sous vide brisket and bacon grease injections. The owners of Holy Grail Pub in Plano had some success with inventive barbecue items at their weekend “Smoke Out” barbecue events, so they brought some of those ideas along when they branched out last year into Irving to serve barbecue. A few months after opening, the gimmicks weren’t working. The brisket was dry and flavorless. The bacon grease had long seeped out…

Mad Jack’s BBQ Shack

A pulled pork sandwich with slaw and sauce in between a honey bun and served in a Styrofoam container – it doesn’t get much further from the barbecue you’d expect to get in Lockhart, Texas. That’s precisely why Mad Jack’s BBQ Shack has been successful over the past year. Instead of trying to beat the barbecue temples in town at their own game, Mad Jack’s went a different direction than meat market style barbecue. James Jackson owns the…

Schmidt Family Barbecue

When Schmidt Family Barbecue opened late last year it was billed as a taste of Lockhart, without having to drive to Lockhart. Two of the most famous barbecue joints in the state, Kreuz Market and Smitty’s, had put aside their differences. In a show of family unity, they partnered and created a bright, new, shiny barbecue joint in Bee Cave, just west of Austin. When I first visited on a preview night, all the signs of Lockhart…

Killen’s Barbecue

“The Best Barbecue, Period.” That’s the motto Ronnie Killen has printed on the shirts that he and his staff wear, putting a daily target on every one of their backs. Making that declaration even after a good run of success toes the line between confidence and arrogance, but Killen had them printed while still serving his pop-up customers, five months before he opened the doors of his new restaurant. It was just plain cocky. I admire…

Clark’s Outpost

In 1974 Warren Clark opened a little barbecue shack in Tioga, Texas, and it didn’t take long before it became the darling of food critics, chefs and celebrities. In 1989, Alan Richman, then writing for People, claimed “Clark produces the best barbecue in Texas, which is something to brag about.” Dallas chef Dean Fearing became a Warren Clark disciple and would ferry visiting chefs to Tioga for a bite of barbecue. Robert Del Grande and Stephan…

Kerlin BBQ

Kerlin BBQ isn’t yet a year old, making it one of the youngest barbecue joints in Austin to be mentioned with the big names. Owner and pitmaster Bill Kerlin is also pretty new to the craft of smoking meat. “I never cooked a brisket until I moved to Texas.” That was three years ago when he and his wife Amelis left Arizona for Austin. They were looking for a change of pace from Arizona and…

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