interviews

Interview: Billy McDonald of Mac’s Bar-B-Que, Part I

Owner/Pitmaster: Mac’s Bar-B-Que; Opened 1955 (1982 in current location) Age: 60 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit Wood: Hickory The McDonalds have been a fixture in the Dallas barbecue scene since 1949. Mac’s has moved around a bit, but Billy McDonald has no plans to leave his current spot on Main Street just outside Deep Ellum. He sat down with me at one of the tables inside after he’d completed lunch service. His partner, and the only other employee at…

Interview: Bill and Francene Barton of Neely’s

Owners: Neely’s, opened 1927 Age: 66 Smoker: Wood-fired steel offset smoker Wood: Hickory Neely’s in Marshall, Texas is famous for being very old and for serving a Brown Pig sandwich. It’s by far their most popular menu item, but of course Bill wants to remind you that people really like their burgers too. If you don’t know what a Brown Pig sandwich is, the Longview News Journal described it well in an article last year. “The Brown Pig is…

Interview: Allen Prine of Prine’s BBQ

Owner/Pitmaster: Prine’s Barbecue, opened 1925 Age: 61 Smoker: Wood-fired brick pit Wood: Oak Like many third generation pitmasters, Allen Prine was a reluctant one. He had grander plans than working for dad, but now he is the bearer of the family barbecue torch. His granddad Harry Prine Sr. passed away long ago and he just lost his father, Harry Prine Jr. three years ago. When Harry Prine Sr. opened the place in 1925 the population…

Interview: Bryan Bracewell of Southside Market

Owner: Southside Market, opened 1886 Age: 38 Smoker: Wood-fired rotisserie smokers and wood-fired brick pit Wood: Post Oak More than eight decades after it opened, Ernest Bracewell bought Southside Market in Elgin in 1968. Bryan Bracewell is the third generation of the Bracewell family to run the joint, but he didn’t get the reins handed to him until he got a proper Aggie Education. I spoke to him while we both attended Brisket Camp on the Texas A&M…

Interview: Joe Capello of City Market in Luling

Pitmaster: City Market in Luling, opened 1958 Age: 67 Smoker: Wood-fired brick pit and a gas-fired rotisserie smoker Wood: Post Oak If you’ve been to City Market in Luling, chances are you’ve seen the hard-hat clad Joe Capello. If their doors are open, then he’s probably there working the pit like he’s done for the last few decades. Other than a couple of years in the Army, Joe has lived in Lockhart, Texas. For more than half that time…

Interview: Erik Mrok of Lenox Bar-B-Q

Owner: Lenox Bar-B-Q, opened 1946 Age: 56 Smoker: Wood-fired rotisserie smokers Wood: Pecan and Oak Erik Mrok is mad, and with good reason. He took over a legendary barbecue joint in Houston that had been around for over fifty years. Just ten years later he had to watch a good portion of it get demolished to make way for a new light rail line. Now, the dining room is gone. Customers walking into the front door to find…