BBQ State of Mind

BBQ State of Mind
BBQ State of Mind — Smoked meat goodness — and all the delicious sides — from the thriving barbecue scene in Houston, Texas and hereabouts. Houston Chronicle BBQ columnist J.C. Reid, food editor Greg Morago and restaurant critic Alison Cook dig in.
Ep52: How a Houston pathologist became a precision knife craftsman
Apr 25 • 30 min
Dr. Stephen Pustilnik’s desire for better autopsy knives led to a side career as a knifemaker whose customers include top chefs and Texas pitmasters — and members of his own medical community.
Ep51: Southern Q’s barbecue success story
Apr 9 • 24 min
Steve and Sherice Garner tell Chris and Greg how they built their business from a small trailer to two brick and mortar restaurants in a few short years.
Ep50: How Kevin Kelly covers barbecue nation
Mar 26 • 26 min
Chris and Greg turn the tables on the host of Kevin’s BBQ Joints podcasts and YouTube interviews, going deep into the country’s growing appreciation of smoked meats.
Ep49: The experts weigh in on barbecue and wine
Mar 5 • 28 min
Pitmasters Jim Buchanan of Buck’s Barbeque Co., Arash Kharat of Beaver’s and Ara Malekian of Harlem Road Texas BBQ discuss pairing barbecue and wine with Alison, Chris and Chronicle wine columnist Dale Robertson.
Ep48: How Daddy Duncan’s in Katy “quickly” became a barbecue powerhouse
Feb 15 • 24 min
With solid restaurant experience and a hard-earned degree from University of Houston’s Hilton College, Randy Duncan decided to go all in on his own business. He got his start tent catering, feeding wrestling fans in Katy and now he’s about to build a big…
Ep47: Brett’s Barbecue Shop has Katy all fired up
Feb 6 • 30 min
Chris, Alison and Greg chat with owner and pit boss Brett Jackson about his newfound barbecue stardom, and his path that includes a rare apprenticeship at the famed Louie Mueller Barbecue.
Ep46: Joey Victorian’s path to opening a barbecue joint
Dec 27, 2018 • 24 min
The competition route is how a good number of amateur barbecue enthusiasts wind up smoking meat for a living. Joey Victorian is among those who made that transition. He shares his story with Chris, Alison and Greg.
Ep45: How Blood Bros. BBQ grew to be a major player in the Houston barbecue scene
Dec 17, 2018 • 24 min
Brothers Robin and Terry Wong, with partner Quy Hoang, grew a following by smoking meat at a karaoke bar. Now they’re opening their own restaurant. In the new Bellaire digs, the trio discusses their path with Chris and Greg.
Ep44: At 37, Luling City Market barbecue still going strong
Nov 29, 2018 • 25 min
Chris, Alison and Greg are back, and ventured one (big) block away from the office to interview David and Kurt Craig at one of the longest-running smoked meat operations in Houston. Part saloon and part barbecue joint, Luling City Market…
THIRDS: The conversation with Wayne Mueller of Louie Mueller Barbecue continues. (Part 2 of 2, first posted Aug. 8, 2017) — Chris, Alison and Greg will be back next week.
Nov 21, 2018 • 34 min
Owner-pitmaster Wayne Mueller continues his conversation with Chris, Alison and Greg, delving into the history of Louie Mueller Barbecue and Texas barbecue at large; brisket technology; his time in Houston, including what he learned from working with…
ANOTHER SECOND HELPING: The hosts are still away so here’s another episode from the archive — Ep11: Wayne Mueller of Louie Mueller Barbecue (Part 1 of 2)
Nov 16, 2018 • 32 min
Originally posted Aug. 4, 2017 — Texas barbecue royalty and third-generation owner-pitmaster Wayne Mueller joins Chris, Alison and Greg in the studio. A fount of knowledge about Texas barbecue and its history, Wayne talks about improvements he’s…
SECOND HELPING: While hosts vacation, we’re serving up this popular BBQ State of Mind episode— Breakfast at Killen’s, from June 2017
Nov 7, 2018 • 30 min
The Chronicle crew hit the road last year to chat with chef/pitmaster Ronnie Killen. From the dining room at his acclaimed Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland, he shares his thoughts about Texas Monthly’s best barbecue joints list (hint: he wasn’t thrilled…
Ep43: Tin Roof BBQ’s low and slow rise
Nov 2, 2018 • 34 min
For nearly 18 years, Tin Roof BBQ has been a stronghold for barbecue in north Houston. Owner/pitmaster Ronnie Webber, a 31-year Houston Police Department veteran, and his protégé son, Brek, discuss risk and longevity with Alison,…
Ep42: How Willow’s Texas BBQ quickly became a Houston barbecue cult favorite
Oct 19, 2018 • 24 min
Willow Villarreal had many friends in both his professional (working for Fox Sports) and personal life (as a promoter and booker of punk and heavy metal music). But he found a new community – just as caring, equally passionate – when he decided to…
Ep41: Chewing the fat with Russell Roegels
Oct 10, 2018 • 24 min
The veteran owner/pitmaster at Roegels Barbecue Co. discusses the trials and tribulations of his barbecue career with Chris, Alison and Greg.
Ep40: Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn’s smoked meat life — and why he’s visiting Houston so often
Oct 3, 2018 • 28 min
Vaughn, one of the most prominent barbecue voices in America, discusses the problem with plant-based “meat,” Houston’s Top 100 Restaurants list and other Texas barbecue matters with Chris, Greg and Alison.
Ep39: Good times with Billy Durney and Pat Martin
Sep 29, 2018 • 40 min
The Brooklyn barbecue king and Tennessee whole hog master, in Houston for the star-studded Southern Smoke fundraiser, have stories for Chris and Greg.
Ep38: Diving into the 2018 Texas barbecue festival circuit
Sep 20, 2018 • 23 min
It’s the most wonderful time of the year: barbecue festival season! Chris (who organizes a festival himself)and Greg discuss upcoming events with Will and Nichole Buckman of CorkScrew BBQ, who promise a surprise.
Ep37: Eaker Barbecue food truck hits the road in Houston
Aug 16, 2018 • 31 min
Lance and Boo Eaker worked in IT consulting and fashion design respectively, but now they’re trying to make a go of it in the barbecue world. They join Chris and Greg in the studio to discuss food-truck life and their mesquite-smoked dreams.
Ep36: How Houston’s Pit Room quickly became one of Texas’ best barbecue joints
Aug 2, 2018 • 20 min
In two short years, The Pit Room in Houston has become one of Texas’ top barbecue joints. Owner Michael Sambrooks tells Chris and Greg how he did it.
Ep35: Inside the Houston Rodeo’s World’s Championship Bar-B-Que competition
Jul 16, 2018 • 27 min
Committee chairman David Stone and division chairman Jimmy Shuford join Chris, Alison and Greg to shed light on what makes one of the country’s biggest barbecue cook-offs tick. They also share details about what will change for the 2019 event.
Ep34: Selling legit barbecue in an Old Sixth Ward neighborhood shop
Jun 19, 2018 • 25 min
Chris and Greg travel to Henderson & Kane, a general store in Houston’s most historic neighborhood, to visit with owners John and Veronica Avila. The Avilas are known for the craft barbecue they serve at a food hall downtown; now they’re…
Ep33: Houston-barbecue classic Ray’s BBQ Shack writes a new chapter
May 29, 2018 • 25 min
Ray Busch and Herb Taylor, owners of the old-school Third Ward barbecue joint, share their story – and their new seafood sausage – with Chris, Alison and Greg.
Ep32: Making the barbecue festival sausage
May 1, 2018 • 28 min
What goes into producing a barbecue event that 2,300 smoked-meat lovers attend? Chris, and his Houston Barbecue Festival co-founder Michael Fulmer, discuss the details with Alison and Greg.
Ep31: CorkScrew BBQ: A marriage made in smoked-meat heaven
Apr 10, 2018 • 24 min
CorkScrew owners Will and Nichole Buckman tell Chris and Greg how they took their business in Spring from cult trailer truck to brick-and-mortar in the elite realm of top Texas barbecue joints.
Ep30: Barbecue at the ballpark
Mar 22, 2018 • 22 min
How does the barbecue operation work at Minute Maid Park, home of the World Series-winning Houston Astros? Chris, Alison and Greg sit down with the crew of Jackson Street BBQ to find out what it takes to bring one of the city’s best barbecue…
Ep29: Greg Gatlin talks jet set barbecue
Mar 9, 2018 • 21 min
Gatlin’s BBQ in Houston puts its name on airport dining as IAH opens Q, a first-of-its-kind barbecue restaurant in Terminal E. World-class barbecue takes flight at George Bush International Airport. Gatlin talks about Q ‘cue with BBQ State of…
Ep28: Jess Timmons of Caboose BBQ
Feb 19, 2018 • 24 min
The co-owner of Caboose BBQ in Alvin, Texas, discusses the role of women in barbecue with Chris and Greg. Timmons is a former pitmaster who has spent many nights tending a firebox, but now creates new dishes at the barbecue joint she co-owns.
Ep27: Buck’s Barbecue and Hurricane Harvey
Feb 7, 2018 • 19 min
Hurricane Harvey hit on the exact day Jim Buchanan was set to start serving his barbecue to customers at Lucky’s Pub in the Heights. Lucky’s wound up taking on 15 feet of water, and Jim had to recalibrate. Chris and Greg chat with him about…
Ep26: Scott Moore of Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue in Tomball
Jan 26, 2018 • 24 min
Chris, Alison and Greg hit the road to visit with the co-owner of the highly regarded business that’s an unlikely merger of chocolate shop and barbecue joint. They discuss some of the inventive menu items (barbecue soups!) coming out of the Tejas…
Ep25: Promising new barbecue players
Jan 12, 2018 • 30 min
Chris, Alison and Greg continue their conversation about their year in barbecue, exploring up-and-coming pitmasters and restaurants in Austin and Houston – and the burgeoning “underground” scene in Los Angeles.
Ep24: 2017, the year of Houston barbecue
Dec 28, 2017 • 22 min
It’s been a blockbuster year for Texas barbecue, and Houston is staking its claim as a smoked-meat mecca. Alison, Chris and Greg discuss the highs and lows.
Ep23: Pellet smokers are becoming a barbecue game changer
Dec 5, 2017 • 23 min
Ryan Zboril of Pitts & Spitts, one of Texas’ leading makers of custom smokers and grills, schools Chris and Greg on pellet smokers. Pitts & Spitts is rolling out next-gen high-tech pellet smokers that will appeal to backyard barbecue…
Ep22: Cooking barbecue through a hurricane, with Grant Pinkerton
Nov 21, 2017 • 30 min
Chris and Greg visit with the young owner of Pinkerton’s Barbecue, a Texas Monthly Top 50 barbecue joint. Pinkerton, who cut his teeth as a weekend cook-off warrior (including smoking meats in his parents’ driveway), discusses how he cooked for…
Ep21: How Pappas is rethinking barbecue
Nov 10, 2017 • 29 min
Chris, Alison and Greg talk about the influence of the Pappas restaurants in Houston, especially the brand that started it all: Pappas Bar-B-Q. Pappas chef Michael Verlardi and beverage concept director join them in the studio.
Ep20: Beers with Aaron Franklin and Rodney Scott
Oct 25, 2017 • 33 min
One smokes the best Central Texas-style brisket on Planet Earth. The other is the country’s foremost practitioner of whole hog barbecue. Both deal with fire, day through night. And, wouldn’t you know it, they’re buddies who were in Houston recently to…
Ep19: Chris Shepherd, Aaron Franklin and Rodney Scott cooking for Harvey relief
Oct 21, 2017 • 23 min
Before Southern Smoke in Houston, which gathers some of America’s best chefs and pitmasters, event founder/James Beard Award winner Shepherd sits down at his Underbelly restaurant with the Chronicle crew and his visiting barbecue pals from Austin…
Ep18: How one of Houston’s iconic barbecue brands got its start and launched a restaurant empire
Oct 13, 2017 • 31 min
Jim Goode was an avid backyard barbecue enthusiast before he got the chance in 1977 to be an honest-to-goodness pitmaster when he purchased the former Red Barn on Kirby. From those humble beginnings he fashioned a culinary legacy that has spawned some…
Ep17: Making the leap from cook-off competitor to barbecue restaurant owner
Oct 6, 2017 • 22 min
Wesley Jurena, who worked the barbecue competition circuit before opening his Pappa Charlies Barbeque near downtown Houston, joins Chris, Greg and Alison in the studio. He also discusses his plans to relocate his restaurant.
EP16: The life and times of Felix Powell
Sep 26, 2017 • 30 min
One of the last of Houston’s old-school barbecue barons, Felix Powell talks about the Southeast Texas-style barbecue he smokes at Powell Bar-B-Q in Sunnyside, where you can still get the iconic, heavily spiced, fat-dripping beef sausages he grew up…
Ep15: Breakfast tacos and barbecue at Beaver’s
Sep 22, 2017 • 26 min
Live from Beaver’s on Westheimer, which since it opened earlier this year has been making waves in Houston’s craft barbecue scene. Chef/pitmaster Arash Kharat joins Greg and Alison to chat about his background, barbecue techniques and his plans…
Ep14: Barbecue during Hurricane Harvey
Sep 14, 2017 • 23 min
Chris, Alison and Greg discuss how the Houston barbecue community helped feed the city in the aftermath of the storm. Ara Malekian of Harlem Road Texas BBQ in Richmond, who smoked meats for first responders and others, joins them in the studio.
Ep13: Barbecue festival season gears up with smokin’ hot events
Aug 18, 2017 • 26 min
Barbecue fans have plenty to be happy about as barbecue festival season heats up. Starting in September Texas’ best ’cue festivals kick off with some of the state’s most popular pitmasters smoking up a storm. BBQ State of Mind hosts J.C. (Chris)…
Ep12: Wayne Mueller of Louie Mueller Barbecue (Part 2 of 2)
Aug 8, 2017 • 34 min
Owner-pitmaster Wayne Mueller continues his conversation with Chris, Alison and Greg, delving into the history of Louie Mueller Barbecue and Texas barbecue at large; brisket technology; his time in Houston, including what he learned from working with…
Ep11: Wayne Mueller of Louie Mueller Barbecue (Part 1 of 2)
Aug 3, 2017 • 32 min
Texas barbecue royalty and third-generation owner-pitmaster Wayne Mueller joins Chris, Alison and Greg in the studio. A fount of knowledge about Texas barbecue and its history, Wayne talks about improvements he’s making at Louie Mueller, his…
Ep10: The history of Houston barbecue
Jul 26, 2017 • 24 min
With decades of experience between them, Alison, Chris and Greg trace the roots of the city’s barbecue scene, remembering their first encounters and some of the late, great local joints that whet their smoky tastebuds.
Ep09: Bless their East Coast barbecue hearts
Jul 20, 2017 • 21 min
Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam calls in to chat with Chris and Alison. They discuss his recent skirmish with a Washington Post food writer who claims that a D.C. barbecue joint has better brisket than Austin’s revered…
Ep08: It’s Lee Ellis’ world, we just eat in it
Jul 13, 2017 • 25 min
Restaurateur Lee Ellis, owner of Cherry Pie Hospitality, is entering the busy Houston barbecue scene with a new business, Ellis Brothers Barbecue. Operating first as a pop-up at his Lee’s Fried Chicken & Donuts shop, the barbecue soon will make…
Ep07: The Whole Hog
Jul 7, 2017 • 22 min
Chef/pitmaster Patrick Feges, previously of Southern Goods and Killen’s Barbecue, and his wife, classically trained chef and sommelier Erin Feges, join Chris and Greg in the studio to talk about their plans to open a barbecue joint. Feges explains…
EP06: Instagram-famous BBQ sandwiches: Too big to bite?
Jun 29, 2017 • 25 min
Alison, Chris and Greg discuss their favorite barbecue sandwiches in Houston, from classic chopped beef varieties to newfangled, macho monstrosities.
Ep05: Donkey & Goat (Sparkling Chardonnay) pairs perfectly with BBQ
Jun 22, 2017 • 26 min
Chef Adam Dorris joins Chris, Alison and Greg in the studio. Over brisket sandwiches (and wine) from his Presidio restaurant, Adam shares how he makes smoked butter and his cult-hit nine-spice brisket. Conversation turns to his time as a hot tub…
Ep04: Breakfast at Killen’s
Jun 14, 2017 • 29 min
The Chronicle crew hits the road to chat with chef/pitmaster Ronnie Killen. From the dining room at his acclaimed Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland, he shares his thoughts about Texas Monthly’s best barbecue joints list (hint: he wasn’t thrilled…
Ep03: A weekend at Barbecue Summer Camp
Jun 7, 2017 • 19 min
Fresh off a weekend at Texas A&M University participating in Foodways Texas’ sold-out Barbecue Summer Camp, Greg fills Alison and Chris in on what he learned, from anatomy and “harvesting” to rubs and cook-offs.
Ep02: Long lines are half the fun, right?
Jun 5, 2017 • 19 min
Waiting in a long line for great barbecue – nuisance, or part of the fun? Are pitmasters rock stars? Why is being active on social media so crucial to a barbecue joint’s business? Chris, Alison and Greg delve into the zany world of…
Ep01: Chewing on the annual ‘50 Best BBQ Joints’ list
Jun 5, 2017 • 26 min
Everyone seems to have an opinion about Texas Monthly’s 2017 list of “The Top 50 Barbecue Joints in Texas,” and members of the Houston Chronicle food team are no different. In their first podcast, Chris, Alison and Greg dissect the rankings,…