Tales from the pits, a Texas BBQ podcast featuring trendsetters, leaders, and icons from the barbecue industry
Ep. 153 - How do you compare BBQ Joints?

Ep. 153 - How do you compare BBQ Joints?

May 3, 2021

How many factors, and how important are those factors when comparing BBQ joints?

Andrew and Bryan discuss sides, full menu strength, desserts, and the many elements that go into an experience factor.

Is house made sausage a must, and does a strong protein menu with average sides outrank a joint with a larger selection of quality items? Years ago commercial pickles and generic sides were standard fare but the evolution of barbecue now includes everything from sides to desserts to pickles and even house made bread at some establishments. Are those relevant when building a list?

How much impact does fast service and indoor dining count versus a slower service and porta potties in the Texas Heat?

Listen in and let us know on social media what you consider important when comparing two BBQ joints!



Ep. 152 - Brett’s Barbecue Shop 2 Years In

Ep. 152 - Brett’s Barbecue Shop 2 Years In

April 19, 2021

Two years and a pandemic after our first interview we revisit Jacqueline Herrera and Brett Jackson at Brett's Barbecue Shop, one of the nation's smallest barbecue joints.

We discuss introducing new meats to their customer base, managing a successful social media presence, future plans, and much more.


Ep. 151 - Brisket and Main

Ep. 151 - Brisket and Main

April 5, 2021

We recently were able to sit down with Joe and CJ from Zavala’s Barbecue and the Brisket and Main podcast for a fun and candid sit down about restaurant life and how they’ve navigated through the obstacles they face in the restaurant business.

The most recent hurdle Zavala’s faced was extensive damage to their restaurant following the ice storm that hit Texas in February. Zavala’s is slated to reopen this coming weekend and will be back to slinging some of the best barbecue in Texas.


Ep.150 - Andrew Castelan, part of the Cattleack BBQ team

Ep.150 - Andrew Castelan, part of the Cattleack BBQ team

March 22, 2021

Andrew Castelan got bit by the BBQ bug while going to college, which started him down a path that is all too familiar to us fellow barbecue hounds. His interest in live fire cooking eventually lead to him building his own pit as well as purchasing a Mill Scale pit. But Andrew knew that if he was going to truly chase his dream, he would have to leave his desk job behind and try his hand at cooking large scale retail barbecue. With the tremendous support of his wife, Andrew began to chase his dream.

After close to a year working in the industry, Andrew saw a job posting for Cattleack BBQ which had at the time recently been named the third best joint in Texas by Texas Monthly. He applied and was hired to join the small team at the standout Dallas restaurant owned and operated by Todd and Misty David. 

For the last three years Andrew has been a valuable member of the Cattleack team that produces upwards of ten different proteins each day, helping to manage the eight fires burning simultaneously to cook the expansive menu of incredible food. From Central Texas staples like brisket, multiple sausages and pork ribs to creative items like pastrami, burnt ends, and wagyu beef bologna, the menu at Cattleack is as impressive in its quantity as it is in its quality. 

Learning from Todd David has helped elevate Andrew to a level he could only have dreamed of in those early years when he first discovered his love for barbecue. Andrew’s passion for learning and commitment to helping produce great barbecue has carried him a long way in the business and should sustain him for years to come. 


Ep. 149 - Which is the best barbecue joint in Texas?

Ep. 149 - Which is the best barbecue joint in Texas?

March 8, 2021

We recently asked on Instagram which barbecue spot would you say is the best in Texas. It’s the age old debate amongst our fellow BBQ nerds and often spurs spirited back and forth. It’s the question Texas Monthly tries to answer every four years and with their new Texas Monthly list coming later in 2021, we felt it would be a good time to start the discussion as well.

The submissions we received were varied and spanned much of the state. We decided to make it fun with the two of us flipping a coin to decide who would have to argue the “pros” of why each place receiving multiple votes deserved the top spot and who would have to argue the “cons” side. Spoiler alert: it was pretty hard to find many cons amongst these great joints. 

Who do you think deserves the title of “Top BBQ Spot in Texas?” Is it a classic like Louie Mueller or Snow’s? The brisket king and single most influential spot in the state, Franklin Barbecue? A relative newcomer like LeRoy and Lewis or Goldee’s? Current top ten stalwarts like Truth Barbeque or Tejas? Someone else? Let us know your thoughts!

Instagram: @talesfromthepits
Twitter: @bbqpodcast

Ep. 148 - Jim Buchanan and Dozier’s BBQ

Ep. 148 - Jim Buchanan and Dozier’s BBQ

February 23, 2021

The restaurant industry is never a smooth ride, and no one knows that better than Jim Buchanan. Jim’s tireless determination and no quit attitude has helped sustained him through a number of trials and tribulations in the hospitality industry. 

After Jim’s brick and mortar location in Galveston didn’t work out as he’d hoped, he received a call from the owners of Dozier’s BBQ, a 64 year old establishment in the growing city of Fulshear, Texas. Jim was given the opportunity to join Dozier’s and modernize some of their processes to help bring the historic place into the new age of barbecue while still retaining the key elements of what made Dozier’s such a beloved place to the locals. 

With the mantra of “evolution not revolution,” Jim and the Dozier’s team have refined some of their cooking methods while still producing the classic meat market style barbecue for which this restaurant and wild game processor has long been known.

Dozier’s carries a number Texas made products in their market that you won’t find at the big box grocery stores and has expanded the business to include a large outdoor patio and stage for live music. Dozier’s BBQ is a throwback classic with modern touches and they’re doing a great job of bridging the gap between old school and new school.


Ep. 147 -1701 Barbecue

Ep. 147 -1701 Barbecue

February 8, 2021

Blue Broussard, a lifelong native of Southeast Texas, left the security of the family business to chase a dream and open up his own BBQ joint in Beaumont. This historic East Texas city has long been known for its distinct style of barbecue that varies greatly from the Central Texas flavor profiles that is prevalent throughout much of Texas these days. Taking a risk, Blue decided it was time to introduce Central Texas barbecue to Beaumont.

Though the 1701 Barbecue menu has some nods to Beaumont’s barbecue past (in the form of an all beef sausage that has a fair but restrained amount of garlic), the cooking style and seasoning is much more in line with what one would find in Austin. The Broussards opened the doors at the beginning of December, 2020 and the locals responded in full force. With a steady but quick moving line, 1701 has been a welcome addition to the barbecue landscape of East Texas. With this crew’s dedication to the process, this young business which is already off to a very good start should get even better as time goes on.

Ep. 146 - The Return of Smokin’ Z’s

Ep. 146 - The Return of Smokin’ Z’s

January 25, 2021

When we first visited Smokin’ Z’s BBQ, Zaid and Mallory Al-Jazrawi were serving up quality barbecue in the Galveston area in 2018-2019 when they were faced with a problem many growing barbecue businesses face: the need for pit expansion to keep up with demand. 

Unfortunately, following the arrival of their new 1,000 gallon pit, health department permitting issues threw a wrench into the plans for Smokin’ Z’s BBQ. While they were going through the back and forth to navigate the always muddy waters of city and county regulations while simultaneously wedding planning, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world. 
 Zaid and Mallory rolled with the punches, kept moving forward, and at the end of 2020 were finally able to reopen Smokin’ Z’s BBQ after one final hurdle: moving their business across the street from its previous location. Their community has responded with tremendous support, and they’re hopeful to see an influx of business from the tourist traffic that hits Galveston in the spring and summer. Make the drive down to the water and grab some quality craft barbecue from this great spot!
Instagram: @smokinzsbbq
Open Sat & Sun: 11 am - sold out 
6 Herring Drive
Bayou Vista, Texas
Ep. 145 - Cade Mercer CM Smokehouse

Ep. 145 - Cade Mercer CM Smokehouse

January 10, 2021

Cade Mercer grew up in the Seguin and New Braunfels area with cooking always as a major part of his life. After working in restaurants during high school, Cade started his cooking career at Rudy’s BBQ shortly after trying college. 

To grow his skills, Cade went to culinary school and then entered the fine dining world. Follow brief stints at restaurants near his hometown, a fateful call from Reid Guess, then head chef of Lambert’s, resulted in a job that would begin his path into modern barbecue. 

After his time at Lambert’s, Cade helped open another Austin spot before joining Reid again, this time at Guess Family Barbecue. Cade was instrumental in helping to create the menus and produce the great food made both at Guess Family and koKo Ramen. 

With dreams of starting his own business, Cade left Guess Family in November 2019 and started to work on his new spot, CM Smokehouse. Using a 500 gallon smoker built by Guess, Cade and his team have created an inventive and delicious menu that pairs well with the bar they’ve paired up with, Bouldin Acres. 

With an expansive menu ranging from firebox roasted poblano queso and burgers with brisket jam to smoked then fried cauliflower and baby back “wings,” there’s something for everyone on the CM Smokehouse menu. This is a food truck that in its early days is already expanding the boundaries of creative smoked dishes. 

CM Smokehouse (Located at Bouldin Acres)
2027 S Lamar Blvd
Austin, Texas 78704

CM Smokehouse hours of operation:
Sun-Wed 11a-10p
Thu-Sat 11a-12a

CM Smokehouse: @cm_smokehouse
Cade Mercer: @cmerc26
Bouldin Acres: @bouldinacres

Ep.144 - Things we are thankful for

Ep.144 - Things we are thankful for

November 25, 2020

This year has seen more than its share of challenges for everyone, the barbecue world included.  In this episode we discuss some of the good things that have happened around barbecue this year that we’re thankful for. Tune in to hear about some of the new happenings in BBQ, some menu items and restaurants that continue to wow us, and more.


Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App