Austin

Interview: Evan LeRoy of Freedmen’s Bar

Pitmaster: Freedmen’s Bar; Opened 2012 Age: 29 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Post Oak Even at his young age, Evan LeRoy doesn’t want for confidence. He once told viewers of American Grilled, a cooking show he was competing on, that “I can cook anything to perfection on any grill.” It was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but he’s certainly good with a smoker. As a formally trained chef, there’s also plenty more he can join a kitchen that just barbecue. LeRoy…

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Smokey Denmark’s Smoked Meat

Smokey Denmark’s has been known for making sausage in Austin for decades. Even up in North Texas, if you ask a barbecue joint where their hot links are from you’ll likely hear “Smokey Denmark.” While they have a storefront at their facility on East 5th Street, links from Smokey Denmark were usually something that came to you on a delivery truck. The they opened a barbecue food truck last year serving a full line of…

A James Beard for Barbecue

Aaron Franklin did it. Last night the owner and pitmaster at Austin’s Franklin Barbecue became the first ever pitmaster recognized in any “best chef” category of the annual James Beard Foundation Awards. (See this earlier post for more on the significance of the win) For the title of best chef in the Southwest region, Franklin beat out Martin Rios of New Mexico, Kevin Binkley of Arizona, and fellow Texans Bryce Gilmore of Austin, and Houston’s Justin…

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Scrubbing Out Austin’s BBQ Growth?

If you live on the outskirts of Austin, your suburb might be the new target for barbecue joints looking to open in Travis County. That is if prospective restaurateurs see a new resolution from the Austin City Council as too onerous. It requires that barbecue smokers (and other wood-fired cooking devices) be placed at least 100 feet from adjacent residential property lines, or that they “mitigate the impact of smoke emissions” on their neighbors. Aaron Franklin, the owner…

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Testing the Limits of Barbecue Science

Barbecue pulls at a traditionalist’s heart strings like few other cuisines, but it is no stranger to innovation. An offset smoker filled with brisket bathed on oak smoke has only been common across the state for about fifty years, but introducing science into a cooking process so reliant on fire and human instinct can be a tricky proposal. That’s what GE—yes, that GE—was hoping to do during SXSW in Austin last week. The BBQ Research Center…

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Texas Barbecue Appreciation Society

For forty years, Paul Burka has been a part of Texas Monthly. His retirement officially begins today, on Texas Independence Day. His legacy will live on in Texas Monthly’s list of the best and worst legislators, and his celebrated career has made an impact on Texas politics. But what few know is that before his career in journalism, Burka was a Texas barbecue lobbyist. Paul Burka’s love affair with Texas barbecue began on October 8, 1966. Griffin Smith…