Tales from the pits, a Texas BBQ podcast featuring trendsetters, leaders, and icons from the barbecue industry
Ep. 118 - Pork Steak Run, upcoming BBQ Events, and Listener Questions

Ep. 118 - Pork Steak Run, upcoming BBQ Events, and Listener Questions

August 12, 2019

In this episode:
- Recap of a 9 stop BBQ run with 3 top 10 BBQ joints
- Upcoming BBQ fests
- Listener Questions

In the heat of the summer it can be uncomfortable downing brisket at every stop of a barbecue run, especially if you like the moist side of the brisket like we do. The rich, fatty meat can drag you down if you don't pace yourself.

We came up with the idea to do another run focused on pork steak with some sausage thrown in. First time BBQ run buddies Tom Weldin and Derek Wedel joined us along with longtime friend and veteran of multiple runs Terry Osborn who drove in from San Antonio. Cory Gregg met us at Snow's, our first stop for some early morning shenanigans.

We did chow down on some brisket during the trip at each of the three Texas Monthly Top 10 joints we stopped at, we just couldn't avoid it altogether.

Snow's BBQ: Pork Steak, Brisket, Ribs, Chicken
City Meat Market (Giddings): Pork Steak, Sausage
Prause Meat Market: Sausage
City Market (Schulenberg): Sausage
Kolacny Bar-B-Q and Catering: Pork Steak, Sausage, Chicken
Glenn's Meat Market: Pork Steak
Shiner Brewery: Beer
Micklethwait Market & Grocery (Smithville): Brisket, Ribs, Sausage, Braised Greens, Slaw, Beans, Jalapeno Cheese Grits, Banana Pudding, Peach Cobbler
Truth BBQ (Brenham): Brisket, corn pudding. Cake to go


Get some great pickles from our buddy Tom - http://www.texaspickleco.com/

Houston BBQ Throwdown: https://houbbq.com/

Smoked BBQ Fest: https://www.smokedbbqfest.com/

Butcher's Ball: https://www.butchersball.com/

TMBBQ Fest: https://www.texasmonthly.com/event/tmbbq-fest-2019/



Ep, 117 - Pustka Family Barbeque

Ep, 117 - Pustka Family Barbeque

August 5, 2019

Dustin Pustka, a classically trained chef who'd worked in professional kitchens for years, had grown tired of that aspect of the food world and began gravitating towards a less fussy, more comfort style of cuisine. Having grown up cooking barbecue with his family, it was a natural progression for him to return to those roots.

Dustin and his father launched their BBQ food truck north of Austin in the small town of Hutto, Texas in October, 2017. While the early days were a struggle, people soon began to take notice of the quality food being produced by Pustka. Praise within the barbecue community and accolades from media would soon follow.
Pustka Family Barbeque has grown since those early days, as have their crowds. They've recently had a larger pit built to eventually help them increase capacity, and a brick and mortar location should be coming sooner than later. Open six days a week, they're an easy stop just outside the big city and the future is bright for Pustka.
550 FM 1660 South
Hutto, Texas
Monday - Saturday 11am - 4pm
Ep. 116 - Austin Smoke Works

Ep. 116 - Austin Smoke Works

July 29, 2019

Austin Smoke Works have been building some of the barbecue world’s most sought after smokers for years. With a pit design that includes an insulated firebox and efficient draw of smoke through the cook chamber, some of the best Texas barbecue has come off of Austin Smoke Works pits over the last several years. 

Jimbo Glass, who has been building pits with Austin Smoke Works since its early days alongside founders John Lewis Sr. And John Lewis Jr. recently took over the company from the Lewis family. Glass along with his team of Jason Lind and Mike Dailey have begun producing pits at a faster pace and have a reconfigured pricing structure that is comparable to the other major pit builders in the industry.

At the time of this recording (July 2019) Austin Smoke Works has a much shorter wait time than has become commonplace in the BBQ pit retail world and can currently deliver pits within two months of purchase. If a new offset smoker is in your plans Austin Smoke Works is a great option.

Contact Austin Smoke Works online at www.austinsmokeworks.com

On Facebook at www.facebook.com/AustinSmokeWorks/

On Instagram at www.instagram.com/austinsmokeworksllc



Ep. 115 - Windy City Smokeout and Feges BBQ

Ep. 115 - Windy City Smokeout and Feges BBQ

July 22, 2019


One of the largest food events of the year is held every July in Chicago. Windy City Smokeout brings together some of the biggest names in BBQ and country music. We were fortunate to have had the opportunity to join the Feges BBQ team this year to help prepare and serve their menu to the festival goers.

The logistics of preparing, cooking, and serving this volume of food for a three day event is incredible, and we learned a lot about just how much work it takes to put together an operation of this magnitude. We cannot thank Patrick and Erin from Feges BBQ enough for letting us be part of their crew for the weekend. 

We learned a lot and our respect for those in the barbecue world just keeps growing as we continue to see the tireless work ethic displayed by so many during this epic festival. Tune in for a recap of the festivities and a truly unforgettable experience for us.

The 2020 Windy City Smokeout will be held July 10-12

For more information and to see just how big this event is, visit https://www.windycitysmokeout.com/


Ep. 114 - Helberg Barbecue one year later

Ep. 114 - Helberg Barbecue one year later

July 8, 2019

First year growth

To say the first year in business for Helberg Barbecue was eventful would be a massive understatement. From the early beginnings in their small trailer to multiple accolades, personal and professional growth, and now a brick and mortar building in addition to their food trailer, Phillip and Yvette Helberg have gone on quite the ride.

We sat down with several members of the Helberg team to discuss the journey so far, each person's role in the business, and the future for this talented crew that has an unwavering commitment to quality. Listen in as Phil, Yvette, The Doc, Chef Matt, and Chance fill us in on the new restaurant, menu items, and each of their paths to get where they are now.
Previous Episodes
Catch our original two part interview Episodes 55 and 56
Social Media
               Food Trailer https://www.instagram.com/helbergonaustin/
Locations and Hours
Helberg on Austin (Food Trailer serving pub fare)

223 Austin, Ave
Waco, Tx 76701

Sunday-Friday 12pm - 10pm or sold out
Saturday 11am-10pm or sold out

Helberg Barbecue (new brick and mortar location)
8532 N Hwy 6
Waco, Tx 76712

Wednesday-Saturday 11am-9pm or sold out


Ep. 113 - BBQ Road Trips Part 2

Ep. 113 - BBQ Road Trips Part 2

July 1, 2019

Road Trips that maximize the stops within short timelines

In the second installment of our BBQ road trip tips we provide sample itineraries for the hardcore BBQ fan trying to sample as many restaurants as possible in a short amount of time. We give tips on what to order, timing of each stop, and various other pieces of advice to maximize your time in order to get in as many stops as possible in both Austin and Houston. We also discuss which Dallas/Fort Worth stops should be on your list.

The Top Ten Challenge

At the end of the episode we lay out a guide to eat at every BBQ joint in the Texas Monthly Top Ten in only a few days. We've had multiple people asked if it could be done, so we share our thoughts on how one could pull off such a feat, though we highly recommend spacing out your great BBQ stops so that you can enjoy them! 
Subscribe to The Smoke Sheet!
This week's episode is brought to you by our buddies Sean and Ryan at The Smoke Sheet
The Smoke Sheet brings you weekly news, events, recipes and more delivered right to your email
Check em out at https://www.bbqnewsletter.com/ and subscribe
You can also catch them on Twitter: https://twitter.com/thesmokesheet
Ep. 112 - Panther City  BBQ

Ep. 112 - Panther City BBQ

June 24, 2019
Chris Magallanes and Ernest Morales are longtime friends who grew up cooking backyard barbecue and eventually foraying into competition cooking. Trips to places like the former John Mueller Meat Co. inspired them to start cooking more Central Texas style retail barbecue, and they soon began to envision a food truck business.
After honing their craft serving at bars, breweries, and wherever they could find to help grow their business, Chris and Ernie jumped at the opportunity to set up at Republic Bar in Fort Worth, which was the original home of Heim Barbecue in their food truck days.
With items like pork belly burnt end jalapeño poppers and brisket loaded elotes, Panther City has built a strong following with unique menu options combined with barbecue menu essentials. Construction is underway and nearing completion on patio seating for their customers and additional pits are on the way, which means Panther City will be able to offer an expanded menu with lunch and dinner hours in the near future.
Panther City BBQ
201 E. Hattie Street 
Fort Worth, Texas
Thursday - Saturday 11am - Sold Out
Sunday 12pm - Sold Out
Instagram: Panthercitybbq https://www.instagram.com/panthercitybbq
Twitter: @panthercitybbq https://twitter.com/panthercitybbq
Ep. 111 - Cattleack Barbeque part two

Ep. 111 - Cattleack Barbeque part two

June 12, 2019

Listen to part one of our episode with Todd David of Cattleack Barbeque to hear about his early days of cooking barbecue and starting the business.

In part two of our talk with Todd, we discuss the effect being named the third best BBQ joint in Texas by Texas Monthly has had on the business and the pressure to live up to such acclaim. Todd also talks about his whole hog cooking process, his desire to keep learning and tweaking his products, and the unrelenting commitment to making great barbecue that drives him.

13628 Gamma Rd
Dallas, TX 75244

Thursdays 10:30am – 2pm
Fridays 10:30am – 2pm
1st Saturdays 10:30 am – 2pm

Catch Cattleack Barbeque on the internet at:



Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CattleackBarbeque

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cattleackbbq @cattleackbbq

Ep. 110 - Todd David of Cattleack Barbeque

Ep. 110 - Todd David of Cattleack Barbeque

June 10, 2019

Todd David was a barbecue fan long before he owned a barbecue restaurant. He was grilling and smoking meats as a young man growing up in St. Louis, and that passion only grew once he moved to Dallas. It would be a long time, however, before BBQ would become a business for the David family.

Toddn ahis wife Misty owned and operated a commercial cleaning and restoration company in Dallas for many years and would host monthly barbecue lunches for their customers. Over time the lunches grew in volume, and after a long and successful career they decided to sell their restoration company but continue catering for large events.

The original plan for Cattleack Barbeque was to be mainly a catering operation, but that would quickly change as they'd serve lunches from their small storefront and word spread on the high level of quality being produced. The accolades would soon follow as local media and BBQ enthusiasts discovered what the Davids were producing. In May of 2017 they were named the third best BBQ joint in Texas by Texas Monthly.

Tune in for part two of our talk with Todd as we discuss the effects of such acclaim as well as the Cattleack menu.



13628 Gamma Rd

Dallas, TX 75244


Thursdays 10:30am – 2pm

Fridays10:30am – 2pm

1st Saturdays 10:30 am – 2pm

CatchC Barbeque on the internet at:




Twitter: https://twitter.com/cattleackbbq


Ep. 109 - Zavala’s Barbecue

Ep. 109 - Zavala’s Barbecue

June 3, 2019

A tradition of family cookouts in his youth was the inspiration for Joe Zavala to buy his first smoker when he and his wife Christan became homeowners. As Joe tinkered with his cooks and his brisket game grew stronger, he launched an ambitious (but not exactly profitable) plan to cook and deliver his barbecue to customers all over the Dallas and Fort Worth area. 

With encouragement from Christan and longtime friends C.J. and Drew, Zavala’s Barbecue began serving in pop up form at a few events in the Grand Prairie area. Word was quickly spreading about the quality of food they were producing, and soon Zavala’s was serving their food every Saturday at The Brass Bean in Grand Prairie.

As the buzz continued, Zavala’s would cook as much as their smokers could hold, but the sellout sign would still be posted within a few hours of opening as the locals couldn’t get enough of Joe and crew’s smoked meats. They began looking for a more permanent spot to be able to cook and serve, and eventually found an old building in downtown Grand Prairie. 

With the Zavala’s crew all having full time jobs and family obligations, they are currently only open Saturdays for lunch, but that may change in the future. In the meantime, Joe's wife Christan will be utilizing the restaurant space during the week as she opens Mas Coffee Co., which will be serving Zavala’s Barbecue breakfast tacos. 

The word is definitely out about the high quality menu being served by this talented team. There’s a line every Saturday, and for good reason. With peppery, well cooked brisket, housemade sausages and Mexican influenced menu items, Zavala’s Barbecue is a place BBQ fans need to get to.


Zavala's Barbecue is currently open Saturday's only from 11am - Sell out

421 W Main St, Grand Prairie, TX 75050


Catch Zavala's Barbecue on the web at:


Twitter: https://www.facebook.com/zavalasbarbecue/

Facebook: @zavalasbarbecue  https://twitter.com/zavalasbarbecue