Tales from the pits, a Texas BBQ podcast featuring trendsetters, leaders, and icons from the barbecue industry
TFP BBQ Ep. 99 - John Lewis of Lewis Barbecue

TFP BBQ Ep. 99 - John Lewis of Lewis Barbecue

March 25, 2019

John Lewis is one of the pioneers of the modern methods that have become so widely used in Texas BBQ over the last decade. From his innovations in pit design to seasoning and trimming methods and careful sourcing of meat, if you’ve enjoyed “new school barbecue” recently, there’s a high possibility it was prepared using methods Lewis popularized.

With a long successful career in Texas under his belt, John saw an opportunity to spread his brand of barbecue in Charleston, South Carolina, and began assembling a team to open his own restaurant. Phillip Powers, who you’ll also hear in this interview, had a strong culinary background and moved back home to South Carolina to be part of the opening crew at Lewis Barbecue and is the Chef de Cuisine at the restaurant.

Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner serving Lewis’ exemplary Texas barbecue along with menu specials, Lewis Barbecue is one of the must stop restaurants in Charleston today.

Visit Lewis Barbecue in Charleston, South Carolina



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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lewisbarbecue/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/johnlewisbbq

TFP BBQ Ep. 98 - Rodney Scott’s BBQ

TFP BBQ Ep. 98 - Rodney Scott’s BBQ

March 18, 2019

Rodney Scott grew up cooking whole hogs at his family’s general store in the small town of Hemingway, South Carolina. The tradition of hogs cooked under the direct heat of coals burned down from wood splits was the way Rodney learned to cook and still utilizes today.

As food media began to take notice of the whole hog traditions being carried on by Rodney, Hemingway would see an increase in tourists coming to try he and his family’s barbecue. Over the course of time Rodney would meet and become friends with Nick Pihakis, who encouraged Rodney to come to Charleston to open his own place. Rodney Scott’s BBQ opened in 2016 to huge success and acclaim. The city of Charleston embraced his barbecue traditions and in 2018 he became only the second pitmaster to win an acclaimed James Beard chef award. 

Rodney and the Pihakis Restaurant Group continue to grow the Rodney Scott’s BBQ brand and spread more whole hog greatness across the country, the latest installment being the opening in early 2019 of a new location in Birmingham, Alabama.


Twitter: @rodneyscottsbbq

Instagram: rodneyscottsbbq



1011 King St, Charleston, SC 29403

Hours: 11am-9pm 7 days a week



3719 3rd Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35222

Hours: 11am-9pm Sunday - Thursday

11am-10pm Friday - Saturday


B's Cracklin benefit dinner at Truth BBQ:



TFP BBQ Ep. 97 - Charleston Wine + Food

TFP BBQ Ep. 97 - Charleston Wine + Food

March 12, 2019

There are so many amazing events that take place during the five day Charleston Wine + Food (CHSWFF) festival and we were fortunate to be granted media access to many of them. From whiskey-centric experiences to barbecue excursions, we did our best to take in all of the sights and sounds of this incredible culinary opportunity.

This episode will give you a rundown of all of the events we covered as well as some food and drink highlights from each. We were fortunate to get to spend time with some amazing barbecue talents such as Rodney Scott, Sam Jones, Jonathan and Justin Fox, John Lewis, Anthony DiBernardo, and many more.

We've got some exciting interviews that we'll be posting in the coming weeks from these events, so stay tuned for those. A special thanks to Alyssa Maute Smith and the entire Charleston Wine + Food team for putting together such an outstanding collection of unbelievable events and excursions. Be sure to follow CHSWFF on social media to get tickets for next year's events when they are announced!

Charleston Wine + Food:
Website: www.charlestonwineandfood.com

Twitter: @ChsWineandFood

Instagram: @chswineandfood

TFP BBQ Ep. 96 - Pitmaster Pet Peeves

TFP BBQ Ep. 96 - Pitmaster Pet Peeves

March 4, 2019
The barbecue industry is full of kind, passionate folks. But like any profession, there are always going to be things that will annoy a person if they do it long enough. 

Tune in as we hear from Russell Roegels, John Brotherton, Nichole and Will Buckman, Jordan Jackson, John Mueller, Brett Jackson, and Esaul Ramos talk about some of their BBQ pet peeves.

Make sure to follow us along on social media, and if you'd like to order one of our new "11 am in Texas" T-shirts, let us know!
Instagram: @talesfromthepits Twitter: @bbqpodcast E-mail: talesfromthepits@gmail.com

TFP BBQ History Ep. 95 - West Texas Barbecue

TFP BBQ History Ep. 95 - West Texas Barbecue

February 25, 2019

West Texas "Cowboy Style" cooking may not be as known as Central Texas style, but it is an important part of Texas BBQ history. As cattle drives made their way west across Texas, pits would be dug in the ground as the crews would stop along the way and whatever meats were available on the chuck wagons would be cooked quickly over wood that had been burned down to hot coals.

West Texas BBQ today is often mesquite cooked over live fire with signature "show pits" on display for the customer to look at and select their meats. Places like Cooper's and Hard Eight are some of the more known places that provide this experience.

Thank you for your support of the show. If you'd like one of our new shirts, please reach out to us via e-mail (talesfromthepits@gmail.com) or via Instagram (@talesfromthepits) where you can see our new shirts.

TFP BBQ Ep. 94 - Schulenberg City Market

TFP BBQ Ep. 94 - Schulenberg City Market

February 18, 2019

Before large scale meat packers and fast transport allowed for meat products to be cut offsite and sold by the case, towns were served by local meat markets and butchers who broke down entire animals and large cuts, called primal cuts, into portions that the end customer purchased. Unsold meats and the left over trimmings weren't tossed away, they were utilized in sausage. The art of sausage making came to Texas via Czech and German immigrants and you can still experience these meat markets, homemade sausages, and hot barbecue on the weekends across Texas. Many open early and they are a great first stop on a Texas barbecue road trip.

After deciding the big city life wasn't for him, Lukas Smrkovsky returned to his hometown of Schulenburg, Texas and is carrying on his family's meat market and sausage making legacy into their third generation.

City Market in Schulenburg has been part of the Smrkovsky family legacy since 1944 starting with brothers Rudy and Tony. Rudy bought out his brother in the early 1960s and in the 1970s moved the operation from downtown Schulenburg to where it is now, right on Highway 77 just south of I-10. Rudy's son Roy and his wife Carolyn took over the business in the early 1980s and Roy's son Lukas now oversees the day-to-day operations which includes producing approximately 10,000 pounds of sausage every week.

City Market is a classic style meat market which offers a variety of cuts for retail, over two dozen types of scratch made sausage, and their famous hot dog wieners. Be sure to try their jalapeno sausage, not overly spicy, and Schulenberg City Market may have been the first to develop the variety. On Saturday mornings they serve a BBQ menu out of their over 40 year old brick pits including brisket, ribs, sausage, pork steak, and chicken.

Check out this ad for City Market from 1952:



Schulenburg City Market
109 Kessler Ave.
Schulenburg, TX 78956

Mon-Fri: 8 am - 5:30 pm
Saturday: 8 am - 2 pm

TFP BBQ Ep. 93 - Smokin’ Z’s BBQ

TFP BBQ Ep. 93 - Smokin’ Z’s BBQ

February 11, 2019

Smokin’ Z’s BBQ

Smokin’ Z’s BBQ opened in Bayou Vista, TX less than a year ago, but young business owners Zaid and Mallory are already producing a menu of quality barbecue that is a welcome addition to the waterfront community of which they are a part.

Zaid’s passion for barbecue grew from his love of cooking and his family’s background of hospitality. A high school teacher showed an interest in Zaid and offered him her old BBQ pit, and he soon began tinkering with smoking meats. 

When Zaid and Mallory met after high school and settled in the communities around Galveston island, they began doing small catering jobs for friends. Zaid’s passion for Texas barbecue grew as he visits places like Truth Barbeque and became more aware of the craft barbecue movement.

The young couple purchased a food trailer and, after a few regulatory hurdles that often arise with new businesses, opened on weekends in Bayou Vista. Serving a menu of the essentials (brisket, ribs, pulled pork) along with embracing the craft of sausage making, Smokin’ Z’s BBQ has been a hit amongst the locals. They’ve also introduced creative menu specials such as tacos using Caramelo duck fat tortillas, brisket grilled cheese, and more. This is a truly family operated business with both Zaid and Mallory working to produce the menu and serve each weekend.


Smokin’ Z’s BBQ

Open Saturdays & Sundays: 11 am - sellout

3115 Hwy 6

Bayou Vista, TX

Instagram: @smokinzsbbq

Twitter: @smokinzsbbq


Also mentioned on this episode:

Caramelo Tortillas: https://www.caramelotortillas.com/

Sausage Kings of Austin: https://www.facebook.com/events/347167755890795/

HouBBQ Fest: https://houbbq.com/

Red Dirt BBQ Fest: http://reddirtbbqfest.com/

Pints in the Park: http://www.pintsintheparkwaco.com/  (Date to be announced soon)




TFP BBQ Ep. 92 - Brett’s Barbecue Shop

TFP BBQ Ep. 92 - Brett’s Barbecue Shop

February 4, 2019

Brett Jackson grew up in Katy, Texas eating at Nonmacher's BBQ, a long time institution in that community. After growing up and trying a few career paths, Brett went to culinary school in Austin and soon after answered a Craigslist ad to be a BBQ apprentice in Taylor, Texas.

Upon walking into the famed Louie Mueller BBQ and interviewing with Wayne Mueller, Brett knew where he wanted to be. He got the job and over the course of the next two years would learn how to make sausage and cook brisket by feel and instinct.

Brett eventually made his way back to the Houston area and after a few barbecue opportunities that ultimately didn't last, began exploring what it would take to open his own place. It was around this time they he had heard Nonmacher's, his childhood BBQ spot, had closed. Brett spoke with the landlord and owner and a deal was struck for him to open his own place in the spot he grew up eating and on the very pit Nonmacher's used for many years.

Brett's BBQ Shop opened in September 2018 and quickly developed a reputation of quality in the Katy area. Serving the BBQ essentials of brisket, pork ribs and housemade sausages as well as creative specials, Brett's BBQ Shop has hit the ground running and is a welcome addition to an area that needed more good barbecue.

Brett's Barbecue Shop

606 Mason Rd, Katy, TX 77450

Monday Closed
Tuesday Closed
Wednesday 11:30AM–sell out
Thursday 11:30AM-sell out
Friday 11:30AM–sell out
Saturday 11:30AM–sell out
Sunday 11:30AM–sell out

TFP BBQ EP. 91 - Charleston Wine + Food announcement

TFP BBQ EP. 91 - Charleston Wine + Food announcement

January 22, 2019

We recently received some exciting news we wanted to share. We do our best to bring exciting, unique, and wide ranging coverage of the barbecue world and have been so fortunate to have had some incredible experiences. We were just made aware of another fantastic event for which we will be in attendance.

We'll be attending Charleston Wine + Food March 6-10 in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina. We'll be bringing you extended coverage of the event with of course a focus on the barbecue and live fire events. This event brings together dozens of acclaimed chefs, pitmasters, culinary talents along with wine and spirits professionals for a myriad of incredible events.

Just a sample of some of the amazing BBQ personnel in attendance: Sam Jones, Fox Bros BBQ, Rodney Scott, John Lewis, ZZQ, LeAnn Mueller, Jess Pryles, Mike and Amy Mills, Laura Loomis, Carey Bringle, and more. Our sincere thanks to Charleston Wine + Food for this unbelievable opportunity.

A few of the other BBQ events we're looking forward to in Texas coming soon:

  • Super Beef presented by Saint Arnold and HOUBBQ
  • HOUBBQ Festival
  • Red Dirt BBQ and Music Festival

Please follow us on social media:
Instagram: @talesfromthepits
Twitter: @bbqpodcast

Please follow Charleston Wine + Food on social media:
Instagram: @chswineandfood
Twitter: @chswineandfood
For tickets to all of the Charleston Wine + Food events please go to: www.charlestonwineandfood.com


TFP BBQ Ep. 90 - Black Board BBQ

TFP BBQ Ep. 90 - Black Board BBQ

January 14, 2019

The road to opening Black Board Bar B Q was a winding one for chefs Jo Irizarry and Jake Gandolfo.

Jo went to culinary school as a passion despite having a successful personal career. This eventually lead to being a personal chef for a professional football player, while Jake's passion for cooking earned him a spot on the popular cooking show MasterChef.

Jake and Jo began dating and through the perfect alignment of circumstances began to consider opening their own restaurant. After successful pop ups with former Sisterdale Smokehouse owners John and Lori Maywald, they were inspired to reopen that location as Black Board Bar B Q.

Black Board showcases the chef's culinary creativity and commitment to high quality ingredients alongside traditional Texas meats. With creative dishes such as Lukenbach Lollipops - mostly deboned flash fried quail - and whimsical plays on dishes such as an acidic Asian themed slaw and a version of corn maque choux featuring poblano peppers and flash fried Brussels sprouts, Black Board offers the customer a tasty and unique menu experience not commonly found in BBQ restaurants.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/127751881117224

Twitter: https://twitter.com/blackboardbarbq

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blackboardbarbq


Blackboard is located not far from Luckenbach Texas on some great roads, get out and explore Texas Barbecue

1123 Sisterdale Road, Boerne, TX 78006, US

Monday - Wednesday : Closed
Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 12 PM - 8 PM
Sunday: 12 PM to 6 PM