American barbecue is highly regional. True, barbecue has exploded across the country over the past decade and, when you venture beyond the traditional barbecue regions of America, the cuisine becomes a gallimaufry of styles. And that’s fine, especially since the regions identified by a particular style continue to hew to their traditions. Sure, it’s possible to find smoked brisket in North Carolina and pulled pork in Texas, but you’re far more likely to enjoy yourself if you sample the chopped whole hog pig in The Tar Heel State and get all greasy with smoked brisket and muscular beef sausage in The Lone Star State. Continue reading
Published in 2002, Robb Walsh’s Legends of Texas Barbecue, Recipes and Recollections from the Pit Bosses is nominally a cook book but in reality a tour through the varied world of Texas barbecue. For those who view the story of Texas Q as the story of smoked brisket and beef sausage, the book is an eye-opener, revealing the Lone Star State’s wide-ranging smoked meat traditions. Mr. Walsh has just released a revised edition of his book (with a slightly revised title: Pit Bosses has been changed to the slightly more egalitarian Pitmasters). Continue reading
We learned last spring that a Shake Shack would be coming to Scottsdale AZ in 2016. It hasn’t yet opened but the latest word is that three Shake Shacks will be opening in the region in 2016. That Scottsdale location, in Fashion Square, along with a Phoenix Shake Shack to be planted in Uptown Plaza, should be operating by this spring. A third location will begin serving sometime this year in Phoenix’s Kierland Commons. The Arizona-only concrete, named the Camel Shack, will feature vanilla custard, salted caramel sauce, and banana cream pie made by The Bakery Phx of Phoenix. Shake Shack has been rapidly expanding in the east but these Phoenix stores will join the ones in Las Vegas and Austin as the only western U.S. Shake Shacks to date.
The first Dallas area branch of the Chicago deep dish pizza chain Gino’s East arrived earlier this year in Arlington. This Thursday, November 19th, will see the opening of the first Gino’s East in Dallas proper, at 10310 Lombardy Lane. This will be the seventh Texas Gino’s East. Other branches can be found near Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. Like the other Texas Gino’s, we expect this one will be serving their unique BBQ Brisket Za filled with BBQ brisket, caramelized onions, and roasted peppers.
Residents of Dallas, Texas will see for themselves if all the fuss is warranted when Shake Shack opens their first branch in the city in 2016. They’ll be moving into The Crescent retail complex in the New Urbanist neighborhood known as Uptown. The Shack currently has a presence in Texas with two stores in Austin. No word yet on the location-specific concretes, which always feature cookies, candies, cakes, and other sweet treats made by local food artisans, for the Big D.
Chef and owner Hoover Alexander and General Manager Alvin “Skip” Walker of Austin’s crowd-pleasing Hoover’s Cooking were named Outstanding Restaurateurs of 2015 by the Greater Austin Chapter of the Texas Restaurant Association. Said Hoover, “I am just a working man, and am so humbled and honored to be chosen for this by my peers who best understand the sweat, sleepless nights, sacrifices and hard work that goes into our business.” Congrats to Mr. Alexander and Mr. Walker!
Mike Hutchinson purchased Hut’s Hamburgers of Austin, Texas in 1981 when he was 27 years of age. He and his wife Kim still own the 76-year-old burger joint today. Austin Eater interviewed Mr. Hutchinson about the changes he brought to Hut’s (he introduced the 20 burger menu) and his thoughts for its future. He’s tried hard to adapt to evolving tastes by offering something for everyone — he now offers veggie burgers and gluten-free buns as options — but he draws the line at kale. Read the full interview here.
Not long ago Austin, TX was practically a barbecue wasteland. Oh, you could find plenty of Q and, if you arrived in Austin from barbecue-deprived regions of the country, it was more than OK, but by Texas Hill Country standards, it was decidedly second-rate. While that’s no longer the case, it’s still fun to take a trip to Lockhart, less than an hour away and home to some of the all-time greats of American barbecue, to sample the wares of the city’s historic pits. Take a look at this overview of Lockhart barbecue.
Last month Kreuz Market of Lockhart, Texas opened a second location in the town of Bryan, a little less than two hours east of Austin. Kreuz owner Keith Schmidt has family connections to the rapidly growing Bryan-College Station region, and it seemed like a good spot for expansion. Lucky Houstonians have just saved about an hour-and-a-half off their round trip to the sauceless, forkless Kreuz! Read more in The Eagle of Bryan-College Station.
At the end of 2014 Voodoo Doughnuts said they planned to open a store east of Denver. They wouldn’t narrow it down any further. Well, they recently announced their new Voodoo and, as many expected, they’ll be landing in Austin, Texas. The address will be 212 East Sixth Street. As for time frame, all we know is “sometime in 2015.” Austin, as in Keep Austin Weird, sounds like a perfect city for Voodoo.
Owner Scott Roberts of Driftwood, Texas’ Salt Lick says his restaurant has the “best damn barbecue” in the country. Sure, he may be a tad biased but he’s not alone. The writer of this Business Insider story about The Salt Lick says it’s the place to go if you have time for just one restaurant in Austin. What started as the most rustic of Texas barbecue pits has grown over the decades into a very comfortable, almost upscale (as barbecue restaurants go) sit-down eatery. While we wouldn’t go so far as to call it Texas’ finest, we think any barbecue tour of Texas is incomplete without a visit to The Salt Lick.
Of the string of casual and kitschy restaurants that line Barton Springs Road, we recommend Shady Grove, a supremely laid-back Austin institution. You dine outside, on a patio under the shade of a grove of pecan trees, and maybe listen to some live music or catch an old flick (there’s inside dining too, but that would seem to defeat most of the point of The Grove). Continue reading