interviews

Interview: LeAnn Mueller of La Barbecue

Owner: La Barbecue; Opened 2012 Age: 42 LeAnn Mueller hails from a famous barbecue family, but all she ever wanted was to be a professional photographer. Now she has the photography career and one of the state’s most highly regarded barbecue joints, which is ironic for someone who wanted nothing to do with barbecue just a few years ago. Mueller grew up in Taylor, Texas with a famous pitmaster for a father, and two future pitmasters…

Interview: Trent Brooks of Brooks’ Place

Owner/Pitmaster: Brooks’ Place; Opened 2009 Age: 45 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Red Oak, Pecan, Hickory, and Mesquite Brooks’ Place isn’t exactly easy to get to, but that’s part of its charm. Cypress is at least a thirty minute drive from downtown Houston. It’s a destination, and those in line along with you understand that traveling for good barbecue is worth it. Trent Brooks has been running this trailer on a parking lot in front of an…

Interview: James Davis of Davis Meat Market

Owner/Pitmaster: Davis Meat Market; Opened 1988 Age: 76 Smoker: Gas-fired Rotisserie Smoker Wood: Oak I rang a buzzer outside this bright red metal building in Houston’s Fifth Ward, and owner James Davis met me at the door. As soon as I stepped inside the smell of raw meat was present, but not unpleasant, and it was tempered with a whiff of fried cracklins. I followed Mr. Davis to his back counter where most of the transactions happen. Along the way I…

Interview: Tim Byres of Smoke

Co-Owner/Chef: Smoke; Opened 2009 Age: 39 Smoker: Wood-fired Offset Smoker Wood: Various Tim Byres is a man who is hard to pin down, mainly because he despises labels. He has been chef, pitmaster, author, culinary diplomat, and almost a food stylist. Six years ago he opened Smoke in West Dallas along with Chris Zielke and Chris Jeffers, and earlier this year they opened the doors to a new location in Plano. Things are going well for the team. Although its…

Interview: Michael Hernandez of Hays Co. Bar-B-Que

Owner/Pitmaster: Hays Co. Bar-B-Que; Opened 2007 Age: 41 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Post Oak In just eight short years, Michael Hernandez has gone from complete barbecue newbie to running one of the best barbecue joints in Texas. He was a fast learner and was dedicated to learning a new craft that he first encountered at Kreuz Market in Lockhart just a year before opening Hays Co. Bar-B-Que in San Marcos. Hernandez cooks on all wood smokers of…

Interview: Shane Wilkinson and Lynn Owens of Bartley’s BBQ

Business: Bartley’s BBQ; Opened 1968 Owner: Lynn Owens Pitmaster: Shane Wilkinson, 36 Smoker: Wood-Fired Rotisserie Pit Wood: Hickory Bartley’s BBQ has changed hands a number of times since it opened in 1968, and it was forced to change locations in the nineties. Shane Wilkinson is the pitmaster, and son-in-law of owner Lynn Owens, and he jokes that this once-temporary location in a strip mall has served them just fine. Lynn Owens is just getting back into the barbecue business after…