Foodways Texas Symposium Scoop


Custom meat diagram boots sported by Daniel Vaughn, Texas Monthly barbecue critic and author of Prophets of Smoked Meat. Contraband brisket from Snow’s; a gift from Daniel Delaney. Aaron Franklin and Daniel Delaney talk about the new business of barbecue.

In early April I traveled with my bestie Elizabeth Karmel to Austin for the Our Barbecue, Ourselves Foodways Texas Symposium. The outstanding programming featured intelligent discussion on various nuances of Texas barbecue. This highly detailed recap captures the details perfectly.


Ahh, the food.

From a rooftop oyster/crab roast and a two meat plate of Franklin Barbecue to a fresh, inventive lunch by uber-talented Top Chef alum Tiffany Derry, the meals were tops.


Wayne Mueller freelancing on the Southside Market mobile pit. Gaeton and Pat smokin’ it up.

I’m always encouraging my barbecue people to make friends with one another. Here’s a success story from the weekend: Bryan Bracewell was kind enough to pull a pit to Austin for Wayne Mueller to use while cooking the final feast. They met for the first time. Pat Martin was there, too, cooking delicious chicken dipped in his tangy take on Alabama white sauce.


New friends Diane and Justin Fourton from Pecan Lodge in Dallas. Peace out, Wayne! Twinkling lights, delicious food, hearty libations – the French Legation provided a magical setting for the final meal.

Takeaway tidbits:

• I want to go hunting with Georgia Pellegrini and Jesse Griffiths. Who’s in? {I promise not to pull a Dick Cheney.}

• Who knew onions could be so interesting? Common onions take a very long time to digest and give many people a sour stomach. Reach instead for a Vidalia or, if you’re fortunate enough to be in Texas, go for the Texas 1015, developed at Texas A&M.

• Time spent with Keith SchmidtBryan Bracewell, and Wayne Mueller is always a bonus. They are smart, kind, and navigating that third-generation barbecue/child of a legend path just like I am. Very blessed to have them in my inner circle.

• Meeting internet friends in real life is fun! CC: @SteffChilds @MarshallWright

• An opportunity to slow down, meet new food/barbecue people, and listen to new ideas and new perspectives is a gift. Must remember to make time for those events.

Check back for more of my adventures in Austin!




We're getting the band back together.


Our rigs are loaded and we’re heading to Memphis tomorrow.

Mike and Pat Burke are getting the Apple City Barbecue band back together and competing at Memphis in May for the first time in 18 years. The team extinguished its fire in May 1994 after going out in a blaze of glory as four-time World Champion and the first three-time World Grand Champion of Memphis in May. While there are several teams that have racked up impressive cook-off statistics, there is no team that can match Apple City Barbecue’s storied record achieved in just 69 competitions.

Flavor profiles, styles, and cooking methods have evolved in the competition barbecue world. I can tell you that there will be NO foil, Parkay, honey, or brown sugar in the Apple City Barbecue tent. We’re going old school all the way and cooking on the pit that Mike and Pat made out of an old propane tank – the same pit on which they won many contests. We’re attempting to bring back the old-fashioned way of cooking that results in a distinctive style and flavor profile. That will either work for us or against us; I guess we’ll find out. Thoughts? Are we brave or crazy?