interviews

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…

Interview: Eddie Deen of Eddie Deen and Co.

Owner/Pitmaster: Eddie Deen and Co.; Opened 1994 Age: 58 Smoker: Wood Fired Rotisserie Smoker Wood: Hickory In the last twenty years, Eddie Deen has quietly built a barbecue empire. His restaurants include Crossroads BBQ in Arlington, Hickory Roots BBQ in Terrell, and Eddie Deen’s BBQ in Rockwall. There’s also a giant event space south of downtown Dallas called the Eddie Deen Ranch, but the lifeblood of the whole operation doesn’t have a sign on it. An enormous commissary kitchen…