Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue

Photograph by Jody Horton

Brisket Ain’t Cheap

Two weeks ago Cranky Frank’s Barbeque in Fredericksburg finally bit the bullet. They raised their prices for barbecue and posted a sign on the door explaining the change to their customers. Not two days later I received a question over Twitter with a photo of the sign. @bbqsnob Is this a supply-demand byproduct of the central Texas BBQ renaissance? At Cranky Frank’s, Fredericksburg. pic.twitter.com/UjvtJ7WJgH — Chris Creel (@chriscreel) March 30, 2014 Not even close. Complaining…

Photo by Nicholas McWhirter

Texas’s Best BBQ Sandwiches

At Prause Meat Market in La Grange, there is a green paper sign right next to the barbecue counter. It reads “Sorry We Do NOT Make Sandwiches.” It’s a reminder to customers that this is a meat market where meat—smoked or raw—is sold by the pound. If you want a sandwich, you’ve got to bring your own bread. Others in Texas are more accommodating. Some barbecue joints make a pretty incredible sandwich that goes beyond…

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The Evolution of Fat in Barbecue

Not everyone vilifies fat.  Heritage hog varieties rich with layers of fat are gaining in popularity, leaf lard is now a chic ingredient to pie crust, and noted author Michael Ruhlman just published The Book of Schmaltz: Love Song to a Forgotten Fat. No longer do we value only the leanest cuts of beef, but for decades steers were being raised lean and large by the beef producers. They said it because the public demanded lean beef, but…

Hog mid-section. Baby backs and loin on the left, spare ribs and belly on the right.

BBQ Anatomy 101: Pork Ribs

The Texas Trinity combo plate—beef, ribs, and sausage—is probably the most commonly served dish at Texas barbecue joints, and usually, the beef brisket gets all the glory. But we should shine a little more light on pork ribs, which are often a joint’s better tasting meat (it’s difficult to perfectly execute a beef brisket while pork ribs are more forgiving in the smoker). The strong association people have of Texas barbecue and beef is undeniable,…

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…

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Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue

Owner Nick Pencis isn’t going to take it anymore. For years he felt compelled by regional tastes to serve lightly seasoned briskets without a speck of fat on them. But when he renovated his restaurant in 2012 (adding a new bar and patio along with an impressive pit room), a few of the menu items got a makeover as well. The brisket now receives a more aggressive dusting of salt and coarse black pepper, and…