Best BBQ Show
#114 Good BBQ Always has a Good Story
I wanted to check in on the BBQ scene a little bit. If you’re a cook, butcher, cutter, pit guy or have anything to do with BBQ send me a message or DM. The BBQ world is full of stories and I want to hear yours.
I love BBQ. I love the people who cook it, I love the smell of it cooking all over Texas. I love the meats that Texans cook and I love the way the alchemy of BBQ transforms a simple cut into soft and delicious wonderment.
If you listen to this show you know I travel all over. I’m the embedded journalist chasing the story of BBQ. Just recently I’ve jumped in cars, planes and even on my motorcycle to get good cue and a good story. A lot of my interviews were videotaped as well so don’t be a stranger to the youtube channel! If you want to know when they come out subscribe to my channel. It’s easy to remember, just type in Best B B Q Show. Also, click the little bell icon to get notifications every time I post an episode on the channel.
This being episode 114, I want to ask y’all a few questions. I want to know exactly what you’re looking for when you press play on the show. The reason I ask is because I don’t enjoy a lot of popular BBQ shows, especially these shows on TV that give you a glimpse of a popular spot but don’t truly tell their story. I’m creating something different. I’m creating something that goes deeper into the people who cook bbq and how they cook it.
I know I could get hundreds of thousands of followers if I just posted BBQ porn all the time. Slomo shots of meat cooking and getting cut. Epic drone passes of big events and the biggest names. Don’t worry, you’ll see that on my show, I just don’t want it to be the majority of what I’m sharing.
I’m excited to show you the nuances of BBQ. The things they can’t show in a 4 and a half minute segment between commercials on a TV food channel. I’m also on demand. You can watch my stories anytime you want or listen to a podcast at will. No need to worry about catching it at a certain time.
I’ve got over 100 guests from the past few years to follow up on and new ones to introduce to you as well. I’ll always be checking in with the OG’s like Wayne Mueller at The Cathedral of Smoke, The Snow’s BBQ crew and a few competitions teams like SS Pit Crew or The Shed BBQ.
A few weeks ago I jumped in a car with my friend Joey Garcia. A Houston BBQ enthusiast who’s good with a camera and loves a long drive. We left Friday morning around 10am. I loaded a cooler full of topo chicos. Lime of course. We had a long drive but we both knew with short stops we’d be there in no time.
If you driven through west Texas you know there isn’t much out there. I love the wind turbines, the abandoned buildings and all the overpriced gas stations. If you’ve driven I-10 in west Texas you’ve seen an abandoned gas station where the roof over the pumps has fallen and twisted in the wind. I’m amazed that it’s there every time I drive by. Things don’t change as fast out west.
In Austin things change every day. Between Google, Apple, Datical, Dell, Atlassian, TrendKite, Facebook, Accenture, the universities, 3M, Whole Foods it seems every person I meet is in tech. Even the amount of BBQ joints keeps growing every year. So when you hear west Texas has a BBQ scene, you pay attention, because changes don’t happen often in the dessert.
Joey was determined to get to Convenience West BBQ shortly after they started serving BBQ. He mentioned the menu more than once and all the different offerings he was excited to try. The white Subaru we were rolling in was cruising comfortably a few miles over the speed limit. We flipped between podcasts and some easy listening.
By the time we got to Fort Stockton,which is still a few hours from Marfa, we had gone through at least 7 topo chicos. If you didn’t know, the secret to surviving a Texas summer, it’s topo chico. They’re not sponsoring me, but if you know someone there, I think we could talk about it… That cold glass bottle that seems to never run out of bubbles is a staple in my life.
To get to Marfa, you have to drive through a few towns, one of those is Alpine. Alpine is about 26 miles east of Marfa and consists of two one way streets. They call it the one way. I’d love to explore Alpine more, but not this trip, we had to get to Convenience West before they ran out of food!
The vibe in Marfa is quiet, calm and serene. There’s a few stop signs, some bars, food shark, dairy queen and on the west side of town is Convenience West BBQ. When we pulled up the dining room was full of the eclectic crowd you’d expect. Fashionable hats, coveralls, summer dresses and cool jackets littered the room.
Kaki was happy to greet us and I recognized the whole crew from their Instagram. Mark was slicing up a mouthwatering brisket. You can tell someone who knows how to cut brisket a few ways. One, is they take their time and let a sharp knife do the work. Two, their slices are even the whole way down. They’re not thicker on the bottom or the top.
After looking at the menu and seeing the unique items like the roasted carrot dip dip, I was sure we had made a good choice. There’s nothing like starting a weekend with a mad dash to BBQ. I’m sure if you’re listening, you’ve been on one of these. If not, you’re probably thinking about a BBQ excursion to one of your favorite places.
I tell this story because BBQ takes time. It takes patience and eating it takes a little time and patience too. How many other foods do people drive across states and countries to eat? How did BBQ become everyone's destination. Not only that but many people drive for hours and then get in a line that may be an hour or longer. Have you waited in a line lately? Are you planning to? Snap a photo and tag me. I’ve got a $20 credit to my merch store for one lucky listener.
I’m a BBQ guy.
If you scroll through the camera roll on my phone it is all meat. My lady likes to laugh and tell people this. If they don’t believe her she happily scrolls through my phone to show all the food and meats. With my years of meat pictures you could scroll through for days. I’m pretty sure my cloud is a vegetarian's nightmare.
Happiness is BBQ. The people I meat in BBQ are living a great life. They’re hard workers. They lose sleep, have burns and cuts on their hands. They slave away for days before the food is ready. If you’re eating good Texas BBQ it’s possible the process to make it started 24 plus hours ago.
How is something so old becoming so popular? This show is on its third year and I feel like I’ve barely covered all the happenings. Even though I’ve been on both coasts and all over Texas there’s still more story to tell. The quality of BBQ in America is on the rise. Texas BBQ can take a lot of credit for that. In Texas, we take our time. Even a chicken takes at least a couple of hours.
In the past two years a lot of ideas have come up for this show. Should it be interviews or reviews? Restaurants, competition or pop ups? Do we need some sort of focus. I don’t think it’s that easy. It’s hard to cover BBQ without expressing an opinion but I’ll tell you now that I won’t be criticizing or putting down any BBQ I eat. All of the positives will be shared and if I don’t like something, well, you won’t hear about it.
When I eat all the different cuts and creations people work so hard to cook, it’s astounding. There’s no way to compare all the ways people cook. Even some of the chains in Texas, like Rudy’s are putting out a good product and have a great vibe when you walk in. This is also why I won’t be making any lists. I don’t think anyone is qualified to rank the top places. How could you say one place is 1st, 3rd or 10th. I can guarantee you if you made a list of 50 places that it would be hard to find a top.
The truth is we’re all having too good of a time to start making lists. I’m eating the best BBQ in the world and sharing it with as many people as I can. I don’t have time to rank or complain. To nit pick little details. Honestly, if you eat BBQ, especially in Texas and you aren’t satisfied, let the people there know. I understand it’s difficult to send things back or convey you have a problem. None of us ever want to complain, but I’ll tell you from talking to countless owners that they want to know. They would rather know right away than read it on some review on google or yelp.
Google or Yelp aren’t going to give you a better slice of brisket or and they aren’t going to help you if something was wrong. You know who can help you? The people at the restaurant. We’ve all read the reviews that make no sense. “I called and no one answered...1star”, “The BBQ was cold because I took 20 minutes taking pictures, 1 star” Most people who review food aren’t truly qualified to do so. So stop listening to their reviews and go explore for yourself.