A Day In The Life of The #1 BBQ In Texas

Monk: YouTuber Alvin Zhou Films spends a day embedded with Goldee’s BBQ in Kennedale, Texas, the #1 barbecue joint in the most recent Texas Monthly Top 50 in this almost 30 minutes video.

Description: Hundreds of pounds of brisket, ribs, sausages, and turkey are smoked at this somewhat hidden spot in Kennedale, Texas. Long lines start piling up 5 hours before the place even opens. People come from all across the country just to try their food, especially their house-baked bread (which is unheard of in Texas). I had the honor of shooting with the team at Goldee’s BBQ, and it was an unforgettable experience (: 2 months of editing later, this might actually be my favorite video I’ve ever made.

Phil Does a Barbecue Crawl on the Austin Episode of Netflix’s “Somebody Feed Phil”

Monk: I can’t say that I’m all too familiar with Phil Rosenthal outside of work on “Everybody Loves Raymond.” But he’s turned into a sort of Anthony Bourdain travel docuseries guide in his most recent career turn (albeit a less-knowledgeable-but-more-agreeable version of Anthony Bourdain). The show’s clearly been a success for Netflix, as it somehow just released its sixth season of episodes, including one that focuses on the Austin food scene.

Phil starts the episode in a studio talking directly to camera relaying anecdotes from when he was shopping his show to various networks including Travel Channel and Food Network. According to them, barbecue was apparently all that anyone wants to watch these days. So when he finally visited Austin in season six, Phil obliged.

Along for the ride is Daniel Vaughn, BBQ Editor of Texas Monthly Magazine, and together they embark on a barbecue crawl across Austin. But their goal is not to hit the obvious spots in the Franklins or the La Barbecues, but rather to visit the newer joints.

At LeRoy & Lewis (3:55), Phil and Daniel of course get the standard Texas platter but with LeRoy & Lewis’s “new school barbecue” including beef check, sausage, bacon rib (aka pork belly on the bone), smoked burger, and cauliflower. LeRoy & Lewis is located in a food truck park in South Austin and has reached must-visit status for any serious barbecue fans, as evidenced by it #5 ranking in 2021’s Texas Monthly Top 50 list. And word on the street is that a brick and mortar is in the works.

Next on the trail is Distant Relatives (8:30), where traditional southern barbecue is influenced by sauces and spices from Africa in addition to the usual southern traditions. Owner and pitmaster Damien Brockway currently serves at Meanwhile Brewing in an industrial park in south Austin and was recently named to the most recent Texas Monthly Top 50 list as an honorable mention.

Fast forward to 15:38 where Phil and Daniel visit Interstellar BBQ and before eating we get a little bit of Vaughn’s backstory and how he got into Texas barbecue from his former life as an architect from Ohio. At Interstellar, Chef Jon Bates serves a typical central Texas platter of typical barbecue meats including turkey, which Jon jokingly considers a vegetable at his place. Bates honors Texas barbecue with some fine dining touches here and there. While I’m sure its all good (after all, it was #2 on last year’s Top 50), this is the most classic Texas barbecue of the places featured on this episode.

After taking a break from barbecue Phil treats the friends he’s met along the way in Austin to a family meal at Salt Lick Barbecue (43:30). The famed restaurant and winery is located just outside of Austin proper and while its not going to a show up on a Texas Monthly Top 50 list anytime soon, it certainly seems to hold a soft spot in the hearts of many barbecue snobs in Texas. It was one of our first stops as the Barbecue Bros in 2012, and I can understand why.

The Austin episode of “Somebody Feed Phil” was my first exposure to the series, and I will certainly be on the lookout for any more barbecue-related content in future seasons. While no Anthony Bourdain, Phil’s likable nature makes it an easy watch.

Friday Find: Barbecue Editor Daniel Vaughn on the Tales from the Pits Podcast

Monk: Texas Monthly Barbecue Editor Daniel Vaughn joins the Tales from the Pit guys for a wide-ranging conversation from his origin story with Texas barbecue to the early days of his blog to the construction of Top 50 lists and how they may or may not affect relationships with barbecue restaurant owners. A good, frank discussion between barbecue aficionados.

Description: Five years ago we launched Tales from the Pits to help tell the stories behind the people in barbecue. Daniel Vaughn’s writing and documenting of Texas barbecue has been one of our (and everyone else in the state’s) biggest resources in seeking out new places and visiting the classic joints.

We were excited to have Daniel join us on this episode to discuss all things barbecue past, present and future, lists, Texas Monthly, and more. A big thanks to Daniel for sitting down with us and to everyone who’s tuned in over all these years!

Linkdown: 1/26/22

A fun story from Charlotte Magazine on how Chapel Hill-born fashion designer Alexander Julian got paid in barbecue for designing the original Charlotte Hornets jerseys.

According to Juilian (also known for the UNC Chapel Hill argyle and being the costume designer for Robert Altman’s The Player), “I had this idea: What good is money if you can’t buy barbecue? I call it Carolina caviar. … I said, ‘I’ll give you ownership of the design for five pounds of Carolina barbecue a month.’ A (writer) asked me to sum up the whole experience. I said, ‘Well, George (Shinn) got rich, and I got fat. I traded $10 million worth of royalties for a gut.'”

Getting paid in barbecue, that’s the dream. Well played Alexander Julian, well played.

Native News

Garren of Jon G’s Barbecue featured on the Minsters of Smoke Instagram page

…speaking of which, Jon G’s is popping up at Triple C Brewing in Charlotte tonight

Sweet Lew’s has a new “Just Peachy” barbecue sauce available through the end of the month

Non-Native News

John Tanner checks out Ruthie’s All Day, The Federalist Pig, and DCity Smokehouse for an upcoming Smoke Sheet article

Adrian Miller is interviewed for this Atlas Obscura piece on the Southern Foodways Alliance oral history project

The Oak Texas BBQ makes its debut in Kemah, TX; they were previously based in Nashville and were Speedy’s favorites

The Texas Monthly BBQ Fest moves to Lockhart for this year’s edition

Tips on selecting the best wood for barbecue

Nice merch special from Fox Bros Bar-B-Q: two mystery shirts and a mystery hat for $35