interviews

Pitmaster Interview: Nick Pencis of Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue

Owner: Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue since 2006 Age: 36 Smoker: Gas-fired rotisserie for ribs, offset wood-fired smoker for everything else. Wood: Pecan Nick Pencis was once the pitmaster at Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue in Tyler. He tried his best, but knew he had a real pitmaster when he hired Jonathan Shaw in 2009. Shaw now oversees things in the pit room while Pencis keeps an eagle-eye on running the business. Nick and I talked by…

Interview: John Lewis of La Barbecue

Owner/Pitmaster: La Barbecue; Opened 2012 Age: 35 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Post Oak I talked to John Lewis over the phone while he was making preparations at La Barbecue to open up the following day. John Lewis became the pitmaster at La Barbecue on November, 4 2012. That’s a few days after John Mueller was forced out of the same barbecue trailer by the business’s owner and John Mueller’s sister, LeAnn Mueller. John…

Interview: Stephen Joseph of Riverport Bar-B-Que

Owner/Pitmaster: Riverport Bar-B-Que, opened in 1993 Age: 45 Smoker: A steel offset smoker Wood: Post Oak I called Stephen Joseph in the late afternoon while he watched over his pit. He was trying to get it up to temperature so he could put on the meat he would need for service the next day. Stephen had just returned to Jefferson from Dallas where he provided some incredible pulled pork at an event that benefitted Café…

Interview: Tootsie Tomanetz of Snow’s BBQ

Pitmaster: Snow’s BBQ; opened in 2003. Age: 78 Smoker: A steel smoker with an offset firebox for briskets, a direct heat pit for everything else. Wood: Post Oak Tootsie took her lunch break to talk with me while working her day job with the Giddings school district. After Texas Monthly named Snow’s BBQ the best barbecue joint in the state in 2008 she became one of the most well known names in Texas barbecue. By default that made her…

Interview: Kerry Bexley of Snow’s BBQ

Owner/Pitmaster: Snow’s BBQ; opened in 2003. Age: 46 Smoker: A steel smoker with an offset firebox for briskets, a direct heat pit for everything else. Wood: Post Oak It was Friday afternoon and Kerry was getting ready to start the fires for the pits at Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, Texas. Snow’s is open just one day a week, but Kerry has plenty other activities to keep him busy. He opened the place in 2003 and…

Interview: Wayne Mueller of Louie Mueller Barbecue

Wayne Mueller Owner/Pitmaster: Louie Mueller Barbecue; opened in 1949 Age: 47 Smoker: Brick pit with an offset firebox Wood: Post Oak I had intentions of talking to Wayne for this interview while we were both attending the Big Apple BBQ Block Party in New York. We talked a few times during the event, but there just wasn’t the thirty minutes of peace we needed for a real interview amongst the chaos. Instead he called back…