HOUBBQ News & Info

Tejas Chocolate & BBQ banh mi

Banh mi is getting a makeover at Houston barbecue joints

If you spent any time in Houston in the late ’90 or ’00s as a student or otherwise underemployed young person, you were well-acquainted with Les Givral’s on Milam. In the beginning, you could order a well-endowed sandwich on freshly baked bread for $1.50, which was even cheaper than the faux-filling sandwiches of chain shops opening at that time.  Les Givral’s specialized in the banh mi sandwich, a Vietnamese classic that started popping up in Houston in the late ’70s and ’80s, along with classics like pho (noodle soup) and goi cuon (spring rolls). Like most delicious sandwiches, banh mi seem deceptively simple but are actually a complex combination of flavors and textures:

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Pitts & Spitts hybrid smoker

Texas barbecue feud: stick-burners versus pellets

Feuds — family or otherwise — are a tradition in Texas barbecue. Sauce or no sauce? Is it better to cook a brisket fat-side up or down? Do beans belong in chili?  That last one may only be tangential to barbecue, but you get the idea.  One of the most fierce and long-lasting feuds in Texas barbecue happens in our own backyards. Specifically, what’s the best type of smoker to use when cooking barbecue for family and friends on weekends?  There are two camps in this debate: the stick burners and the pellet grill aficionados. This argument pits the torch-bearers of the old-school traditions with the adopters of high-tech appliances that address

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Ribs on the smoker

What’s the difference between competition and commercial barbecue?

There are essentially three places to start cooking barbecue in Texas: in your backyard, in a competition, or in a restaurant. Traditionally, backyard and competition venues act as farm teams. Aspiring pitmasters cook for friends, family or judges who act as de facto talent scouts. As these amateurs accumulate praise or trophies at competitions, they may choose to make the leap to commercial barbecue, i.e., open a barbecue joint.  Most of the top barbecue joints in the state originated in backyards. For example, Will and Nichole Buckman of CorkScrew BBQ in Spring spent several years cooking for friends and family before opening their barbecue trailer and later a brick-and-mortar that’s now considered one of

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