interviews

Interview: Bob Allen of Bob’s Bar-B-Que

Owner/Co-Pitmaster: Bob’s Bar-B-Que, opened 1980 Age: 74 Smoker: Wood-fired offset smoker Wood: Hickory Henderson, Texas is a small town of about 13,000 between Tyler and Nacogdoches in East Texas. This is where Bob Allen was born and raised, and where he aims to stay. He’s seen a lot of Henderson barbecue joints come and go in his seventy-four years, but he has stayed strong at his own barbecue joint for almost thirty-four years. Keeping up the legacy is…

Interview: Kathleen Mann of Mann’s Smokehouse BBQ

Pitmaster: Mann’s Smokehouse BBQ, opened 1996 Age: 31 Smoker: Gas-Fired rotisserie smoker Wood: Pecan and Oak In a town that’s all about the meat, Mann’s in Austin boasts sixteen side items. It’s cut from a different cloth, which makes sense if you know that Jim and Sallie Mann opened this place after moving from a small town in Georgia. They didn’t know much about Texas barbecue and they knew even less about the restaurant business, but…

Interview: J&R Manufacturing

Owners: H.E. Finley and Mike Higgins Company: J&R Manufacturing, since 1974 Mike Higgins, a chemical engineer, and H. E Finley, a mechanical engineer, joined forces and families nearly forty years ago to start J&R Manufacturing. H. E. had just married Mike’s sister, and Mike had just started with the company thinking he would work in the sheet metal business. Before long he was building barbecue pits instead. It may have all started with a rotisserie…

Interview: Dirk Miller of Miller’s Smokehouse

Pitmaster: Miller’s Smokehouse, opened 2008 Age: 48 Smoker: Wood-fired offset smoker Wood: Oak Dirk Miller has never been this busy in his life. He called me from a van outside of his barbecue joint so nobody would bug him. He hasn’t taken a vacation in years, and he paces the floors of his barbecue joint Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton at night worrying about tomorrow’s meat. He’s also never been happier. He left a good job with…

Interview: Travis Mayes of Meshack’s Bar-Be-Que

Pitmaster: Meshack’s Bar-Be-Que, opened 2009 Age: 64 Smoker: Wood-fired Brick Smoker w/ gas assist Wood: Pecan It was a Monday morning and Meshack’s was closed like normal. Travis and I had arranged this time to meet since the tasks to get ready for Tuesday were pretty slow-paced. There were two would-be customers leaving the window when I arrived. They looked forlorn that the place was closed, but Travis assured me they were locals who should know better. As we…

Interview: Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88

“The further west I go, the more I seem to like the barbecue.” That’s a curious way for a native of North Carolina to start off a press conference, but NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr. was just being honest. He doesn’t much care for the pulled pork barbecue of his home state. In fact, he has ribs delivered to his house in Mooresville, North Carolina from Rendezvous in Memphis; proof of which can be seen…