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.
November 16, 2020
After releasing an episode nearly every week for almost three years, we were ready for a bit of a break. But what 2020 had in store was not something we could have ever planned for or wanted. After a long period of staying mostly close to home, we're starting to venture out safely for one of our favorite activities, barbecue road trips.
As it's been such a delay, we thought we might as well act like a podcast and call this the start of a new season! So, welcome to season two of Tales From The Pits! We're so happy you've stuck with us, all of the messages we've received during our break have been great. We plan on continuing the show with our preferred format that's worked for us so far. So get ready for some car ride episodes with us riffing on different BBQ topics, pitmaster interviews, and discussions with interesting folks around the barbecue world.
Mentioned in this episode is one of our favorite older episodes, Episode 68: Classic BBQ Joints. It's a great one to tune in to if you're looking to find out a little more about some of the older places that have helped make Texas barbecue what it is today. We hope you'll give it a listen and go visit one of those old school places soon.
June 8, 2020
Having just completed our first BBQ road trip since the quarantine began, we discuss our experience going to four places, safety and social distancing measures we personally implemented as well as those we’ve seen at the places we’ve been to during the pandemic.
One positive to come from the coronavirus situation from a customer standpoint is it has provided opportunities to get food from places that previously had been more difficult to dine at. There are number of ways to support your favorite BBQ places, whether you feel comfortable dining in yet or not. Gift cards, merchandise, ordering to-go and order bulk meats to use in a variety of home preparations are just some of options to help these business owners.
We also discuss in this episode some changes that have been made at restaurants that may become permanent even as things open back up. Stay safe, everyone and do what you can to support your favorite spots.
May 26, 2020
When we started this podcast three years ago we had no idea what the show would become or the places it would take us. We are incredibly grateful to all of the amazing people in the BBQ industry that have given us the gift of their time and their story.
From our first episode breaking down the 2017 Texas Monthly top ten list to interviews with some of the top BBQ cooks and pit fabricators and everything in between, we’ve had the time of our lives helping to provide a platform for these talented people to share their stories.
We can’t thank enough our guests and even more importantly anyone whose taken the time to listen to these episodes for three years. Thank you for letting these two barbecue nerds take you down the rabbit hole. There’s much more to come...
March 13, 2020
The world, and more recently the United States, has begun to deal with the effects of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As large events cancel, corporations and school districts suspend operations, and people begin to stay home in large numbers, the inevitable decline in sales that small businesses will experience is frightening for many Americans.
Barbecue restaurants operate on tight budgets and slim profit margins and have begun to prepare for a slow down in business as best they can. In addition to those concerns, these dedicated hospitality professionals feel an overwhelming sense of obligation to keep their families, staff, and customers safe as they try to maintain a successful business.
In this episode we wanted to provide information to barbecue consumers and industry professionals based on our experiences and from our discussions with the business owners themselves. We provide tips for consumers on how they can do their part to not only support small businesses but to do so as safely and responsibly as possible along with information that can aid restaurant owners and staff in giving consumers more peace of mind during these trying times.
March 9, 2020
In August of 2015 Leonard Botello and family opened up a tiny BBQ joint just outside of Brenham, Texas. There was no big grand opening, there was no meeting of the #BBQFam or podcasts, and no social media campaign. That is precisely how Leonard wanted to launch.
Bryan noticed the name change from "J's BBQ" (not to be confused with LJ's which was to open later) to "Truth Barbeque" as he drove back and forth from Austin to Houston. Gone were the old school rectangular pits and in their place was a large Klose pit. Curiosity prevailed and a stop there resulted in surprisingly good barbecue. Repeat visits proved it was not a fluke and the word began to spread.
By 2016 the word was out and lines began forming before open. In 2017 Truth landed a spot in the Texas Monthly top 10, cementing their name as one of the best barbecue joints in Texas. Plans were afoot to open a larger location in the heart of Houston's Heights neighborhood and by 2019 the almost impossibly small restaurant in Brenham had a big brother finally open.
The opening wasn't easy. Leonard wanted a quiet build but the location was identified and the demand for Truth Houston to open grew. Battling confusing and inconsistent health department enforcement and dialing in all new pits custom built for the Houston location while dealing with not just expanded cooking volume but additional business days took their toll. There was a lot of lost sleep and tweaking required to dial things in to where Leonard was satisfied with the quality.
A little after a year after opening Leonard is finally able to take a deep breath and step back a bit to enjoy what he, family, and team have built. We caught up with Leonard and Corey Taylor to find out what it was like to scale and transform a sleepy little barbecue joint into Truth BBQ Houston.
For additional background:
Visit Truth at their original location in Brenham, Texas or at their Houston location
February 24, 2020
On our way back from a recent road trip we came up with five of our favorite things happening in BBQ right now.
We discussed the following topics:
- What's old is new again
- Breaking away from the brisket bubble
- Accessibility of great BBQ
- Expansion of quality BBQ joints
- The full meal experience
Take a listen and if you like our show please make sure to tell others, and if you visit a BBQ joint or buy a pit from someone you found out about on the show, please let them know!
February 17, 2020
The DFW barbecue scene is blowing up, and popups, food trailers, and brick and mortars are opening around town.
Brandon Hurtado has progressed through popups and food trailer into a retail store front, bringing his spin on Hispanic influenced Texas Barbecue to the game.
The brick and mortar retail establishment is having the grand opening Sat Feb 22, 2020 at 205 East Front Street, Arlington, TX - go check it out!
In our episode we talk about his background, what Tex Mex influence means to him, and his vision for Hurtado Barbecue
February 10, 2020
Texas BBQ has seen massive growth in the last 10 years and many of us have been lucky to witness it firsthand. The epicenter has shifted and morphed from Central Texas; top tier BBQ is available in every major city and most towns. With the popularity, the supply and demand economics of the growing world of BBQ have altered the price of a BBQ meal from a modest blue collar staple to a luxury - but is this a bad thing?
BBQ has also embraced more cultural influences of Texas, growing beyond the original German, Czech, and African-American backgrounds to encompass Mexican and Asian flavors.
Andrew and Bryan discuss these changes, reflect on the pricing shift, and talk about a few of the more recent openings and closings.
January 20, 2020
When Justin Earley and Steven Bailey began fine tuning their barbecue skills they did what many in the current generation of pitmasters did, they turned to books and videos. While knowledge requires both learning and practice, the wealth of information available today provides a great starting point.
Their chimichurri, made by Justin's mother, helped them land a spot in Texas Monthly's Best Texas BBQ Bites of 2019 and Daniel Vaughn wrote a positive review of their menu in January of 2020. Their customer base continues to grow and is starting to bring traffic from outside of the small town of Cleburne, a little over 30 minutes south of Fort Worth.
We sampled a large part of the menu, and enjoyed it all. The Brisket and ribs were top tier. The chicken was moist with a nicely done skin, but was even better when dipped in some of their white sauce which had a hint of horseradish and citrus. As noted, the chimichurri was tasty and unique. It was thicker than standard and more like a cross between a salsa verde and chimichurri. The sausage was also a Bare Barbecue innovation with muenster cheese and a delight to eat. The pork steak was one of the reasons they were put on our visit list and we were rewarded with a great steak, normally cooked over direct heat on a Chudbox built by Bradley Robinson. Tortillas freshly made from Steven's stepmother wrapped up the meats nicely.
Bare Barbecue is open every other Saturday and we highly recommend a visit. Keep your eyes on this team as they continue to grow
Open Every Other Saturday 11am to sell out
904 W Chambers St. Cleburne, TX
Catch them online at