Houston

HLSR 21

World’s Championship Bar-B-Que

For what is called the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que cook off, the event at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HSLR) is more spectacle than barbecue holy grail. Most of the quarter million visitors look longingly into private parties from the wrong side of the ropes. There’s a public food tent called the Chuck Wagon where visitors can get a complimentary chopped brisket sandwich, and a few vendors are set up around the park, but these…

Lenox BBQ01

Lenox Bar-B-Q

I walked through the front door, or at least I thought it was the front door. I was part way through it, when I turned around to walk back into the parking lot to make sure. It was definitely the front of the building, and this was the only door, but it led directly into the kitchen. To my left a woman was packing orders into to-go bags. On my right the fryer, a rigged…

Smoke @ ICC

The International Chefs Congress (ICC) is in its eighth year, but this weekend in New York they hosted their first ever barbecue competition.  It was simply called Smoke @ ICC. Ten teams from six states were competing for the grand prize of a trip for four to South Korea and a Southern Pride rotisserie smoker. It wasn’t much of a surprise that Texans took the top two spots. The Carillon is a much-lauded New American…

The Brisket House

Even if you know where it is, this unassuming storefront in a beige brick strip mall is easy to miss. I almost drove by it even as I stared at the blue dot on my iPhone signaling its location. I’d had eaten some samples from The Brisket House at the Houston Barbecue Festival a few months back. What I ate there was enough to get me over to their permanent location just outside the western…

Pitmaster Greg Gatlin

Gatlin’s BBQ & Catering

Greg Gatlin is in charge of the smoker, but he also bustles around taking orders and tidying up. So does his mom, who is responsible for the fine bread pudding and other sweets. After a wait—which is often lengthy—you’ll receive plates neatly stacked with precisely sliced meat. In case you’ve ever wondered what the deal is with different ribs, you’re in luck: Gatlin’s has two kinds. Side by side, you’ll see that the baby backs…

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Virgie’s Bar-B-Que

The brawny pork ribs that emerge from the big metal smoker set a standard for the genre. They are massive, pink, and delicious, their meat lightly clinging to the bone until you grab a bite with your teeth and give a light tug. A heavy, salty-peppery crust, without a trace of sweetness, lends depth of flavor to each piggy bite. There is no way to be genteel when consuming these monsters, so pile up some…