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It’s Rodeo Time Dear Readers!

We are barely recovered from the “Big Game” and now another great Houston Event is under way.  Although my kiddos had Go Texan Day last Friday, this Friday is the Official Go Texan Day as the Trail Riders are making their way into Houston.  And of course, I have PLENTY of great Food and Lifestyle events to share as well!  Goode Co.’s Armadillo Palace is a fave venue of mine, and when the reached out with a list of great events, I had to oblige!

As Uncle Tex says when he sees a Saint Arnold’s Bishop’s Barrel:  YEE-HAWWW!!!

Brandon McDermott Band Performs at Goode Co. Armadillo Palace on Go Texan Day

Photo Credit Marc Nathan

Goode Co. Armadillo Palace is expanding its BBQ Cook-Off Weekend programming with additional entertainment and menu specials from March 2 – 4. In honor of Go Texan Day, the Brandon McDermott Band will join the current country, bluegrass and Americana performances with a free happy hour concert showcasing songs from the recently released “Mile Marker Zero” album.

The ticket presale for the full weekend lineup has ended, but guests may purchase individual concert tickets for $20, with food and drinks for purchase separately. Featured artists for the weekend include:

Credit: Marc Nathan
Two Tons of Steel11 p.m. on Thursday, March 2 – $20
Returning from last year’s cook-off after-party show, Two Tons of Steel will rock a sound that blends the best of Americana and Texas Country to create a signature genre of music that will have the crowd dancing all night long.

Go Texan Day: Brandon McDermott Band5 p.m. on Friday, March 3 – FREEIn honor of Go Texan Day, the Brandon McDermott Band will give a free performance showcasing the energetic songs that have graced stages across the Lone Star State. Also joining the festivities, Texas brewer Shiner will offer beer tastings and Made In Texas Radio will broadcast live from the venue. From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., enjoy happy hour prices with half-price appetizers and $1 off all draft beer.  

Credit: Goode Co. 
Dirty River Boys11 p .m. on Friday, March 3 – $20Taking traditional folk instruments and blending it with their rock and bluegrass arrangements, The Dirty River Boys blazes a trail paved by their own unique style of music. The band will perform a rousing show featuring its notable four-part harmonies and hard-driving roots-acoustic sound.

Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash11 p.m. on Saturday, March 4 – $20Described by Rolling Stone as “pure Americana heart and soul,” the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash will close the weekend with a unique blend of western swing, Tex-Mex, folk, rock and bluegrass. 
During the Brandon McDermott Band performance, guests are invited to enjoy happy hour at the Orange Blossom Bar. Guests may enjoy a number of specials including $2 off glasses of wine and cocktails, $1 off all draft beers and half-price appetizers, such as fajita nachos and chile con queso, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The weekend continues with an epic barbecue featuring a side of beef slow-roasted for 18 hours on a live fire rotisserie and carved in front of the crowd on Friday, March 3. Guests may also enjoy primo tacos served late night Friday, March 3 and all day Saturday, March 4.
Individual performance tickets are $20, with food and drinks for purchase separately. Tickets can be purchased online now at or at the door. Ticket prices are subject to additional taxes and fees. All guests must be 21 years or older. 

Goode Co. Armadillo Palace is located at: 
5015 Kirby Drive
Houston, TX 77098

Hours of Operation:
Tuesday 11 a.m.–11 p.m.,
Wednesday 11 a.m.–midnight, 
Thursday and Friday 11 a.m.–2 a.m.
Saturday 4 p.m.–2 a.m
closed Sunday and Monday. 
Valet parking is available for $6. 

For reservations or more information, call 713-526-9700 or visit 

Hopdoddy Burger Bar Rice Village Opens Monday March 6th

Hopdoddy Burger Bar, known for offering a wide selection of fresh, high-quality burgers, local craft beer, hand cut Kennebec fries and handspun shakes, will open its second Houston location on Monday, March 6, at Rice Village, just minutes from Rice University.

In addition to serving the burger bar’s classic menu featuring quality ingredients and creative flavor combinations, Hopdoddy will introduce a new mainstay menu item, Hoss’ Hot Chicken, with the opening of Hopdoddy Rice Village. Hoss’ Hot Chicken* featuring a fried Nashville hot chicken breast atop house made baby kale slaw will be served alongside fan favorites like the Primetime Burger made with a grass-fed beef patty topped with brie, arugula, caramelized onions, truffle aioli and steak sauce, and the Ahi Tuna Burger made with a sushi-grade tuna patty topped with sprouts, teriyaki, honey wasabi, nori chips and pickled ginger mayo.

The Rice Village location is honored to support a new Houston non-profit, The Periwinkle Foundation, through its Goodnight for a Good Cause program which donates $1 of each Goodnight Burger to the organization. The Periwinkle Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to developing and providing programs that positively change the lives of children, young adults and families who are challenged by cancer and other life-threatening illnesses and are cared for at Texas Children’s Hospital.

WHEN:   Monday, March 6

             Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily


WHERE: Rice Village

             5510 Morningside Drive, Ste 100

             Houston, TX 77005

Chef Steve Haug Joins Rebranding of Peska

Peska Prime Steaks & Seafood, formerly known as Peska Seafood Culture in the Galleria – area has partnered up with Grazia Italian Kitchen, one of the concepts owned and managed by Jade Hospitality. Owner, Adrian Hembree, and Jade Hospitality’s Executive Chef, Steve Haug, will broaden Peska’s mostly Mexican- inspired seafood dishes by offering American-style steaks and sides to its menu. The restaurant reopened Friday, February 10 to the public.   

Owner, Maite Ysita, moved her family from Mexico to Houston to follow her dream of taking her restaurant’s concept to the next level in this city’s thriving culinary area. Ysita, Hembree and Haug share the same passion for great food, atmosphere, service and attention to detail that are the makings of a great restaurant.   

“Peska is my baby, and I know the potential it has,” Ysita says. “I am excited about the brand that we’re building paired with such a prime location.”

The restaurant will host an energetic atmosphere and sport a new large-U shaped bar with lounge furniture to allow Peska to expand its happy hour business with a dedicated bar menu.

Perfect for families, couples, and groups alike, Peska features the same delicious staples like tiraditos, half and half snapper, Nigerian tiger prawn and whole branzino dishes plus friendly service that customers have come to expect. Executive Chef Steve Haug leads the kitchen with eight USDA Prime steaks along with sides like wedge salad, jumbo lump crab cake, and triple cheese lobster mac and cheese.  

“Peska will set us apart with their superb seafood, “ Haug says. “We’re taking seafood to a new level.”  “Our ability to serve high-quality meat and fish dishes will propel the restaurant to new heights.” Prior to joining Grazia Italian Kitchen, Haug has served as executive chef at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse for 10 years.

Boxing it Up To Go
Folks, this is just the tip of the Proverbial Iceberg!  I will be covering a few events this month and have a couple of reviews, and a couple of editorials on the backburner I hope to share with you this month.  Being a father, a professor and a foodster is a bit demanding sometimes, and I appreciate all the patience on the part of the media and restaurant folks I work with regarding my workflow.  Yes, I am doing a lot better since the surgery last Fall, but I’m still gradually working things out as I go.  Regardless, it is always my goal to share great food, the great folks who make it for use and above all will do my best to…

Eat Happy, Y’all!!!
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New Zion BBQ I’ve just created a page that lists all of my Houston Chronicle barbecue columns, with non-paywalled links for your viewing pleasure. You can view it by clicking here, or clicking the “My Houston Chronicle BBQ Columns” at … Continue reading

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I’m a fan of BBQ but I’ve never been that i […]

The post Roegels Barbecue Co. – Good BBQ in Houston appeared first on Hungry in Houston.

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Usually the words Barbecue and Downtown Skyline don’t mix together very well for some reason.  Maybe it’s the potential for fire and smoke in a condo or office building that makes the location less than desirable for such a restaurant.  In other cases it evokes the image of someone in business attire getting red BBQ sauce smeared all over their starched collars, not a good fit.  Or the notion of smoking the meat off site and hauling it to be reheated and served.  However, one Barbecue and Grill Restaurant is defying those sensibilities in a delicious manner:  The Republic Smokehouse and Saloon on Bagby.  This place combines elements of a High End Bar and Grill, a heck of a Bar, a live music venue and a few scenic views in a great space right across from Mr. Peeples.  But first a little background from their website:

At The Republic Smokehouse & Saloon, we put an upscale spin on authentic southern BBQ and serve it up with a heaping side of Texas tradition. Enjoy live music in our dance hall and main dining area, catch your favorite sports teams on one of our 30 flat screen TVs in the bar, or revel in the energetic atmosphere of Midtown from our covered patio. With revolutionary BBQ dishes, enlightened drink concoctions and a lively character, we’re bringing Houston back to its roots with LIBERTY & LIBATIONS FOR ALL.

Pit Master Cedric Williams 

As a fan of good craft beer and cocktails as well as good barbecue, this appeals to me greatly.  It doesn’t hurt that they also hired noted Houston Pitmaster Cedric Williams, formerly of Williams BBQ in the Acres Homes community.  Williams and his father ran a BBQ joint that attracted folks from all over the Greater Houston area for many years until a fire burned it down in 2007.  Cedric had gone into semi-retirement after that, and when Lucky Chopra of Landmark Houston Hospitality Group began conceiving of this brand, Cedric Williams was the first name he thought of for pit master, and lucky for us diners, he was happy to oblige.  Williams has his own rub he uses for all of his smoking, and no he wouldn’t give away the recipe.  Williams also stands by the use of Post Oak wood for smoking, as it doesn’t overpower the flavour of the meat like other woods might.

Head Chef Matt Knotts 

Besides the BBQ Pit, Chopra also wanted to make sure the menu was varied enough to appeal to the broad palate that is found in the Downtown area and chose from inside Landmark’s own House, Chef Matt Knotts, most recently Sous Chef at another Landmark project Hearsay Gastrolounge.  Knotts is very particular about making good quality food for his clientele.  Pretty much all of the sauces are made in house, the dishes made from scratch, including any ice cream used in the desserts.  Heck, he even uses rosemary from a bunch of rosemary bushes growing around the restaurant.  You can’t get much more local or fresh than that.  Pairing Knotts and Williams, two culinary craftsmen as it were, is a recipe for success in my opinion.

On this particular day I had a chance to taste several dishes at The Republic Smokehouse.  These included a BBQ’D Avocado (some folks don’t know you can smoke them!) among other great dishes.   In fact that hit me as so interesting that was the appetizer we started out with. You get a half an avocado that’s been smoked in the skin, filled with queso fresco and topped with chopped brisket & bbq vinaigrette, This is a very colorful starter, has a creamy texture with a nice hint of the Post Oak smoke that doesn’t overpower it either.  Grade: A

Next we went with  a strong recommendation from the Chef:  Chef Matt’s Reuben sandwich.  This sammy has smoked corn beef (smoked by Pitmaster Cedrick Williams himself), house made sauerkraut, onions, house made 1000 island dressing, served on grilled marble rye bread.  Again, this is a beautiful sandwich and the smokey taste of the corned beef (also corned in house I might add) adds a bit of something extra.  I never though about having a Reuben Sandwich at a BBQ joint before, but this one is a good one!  Grade: A+

As if that was not enough of a nice unique dish for a BBQ joint, I was presented with a smoked Texas Quail, served over wild rice with Okra and Rosemary grown right on the property.  This very beautifully plated dish that has a nice fragrant aroma from the Rosemary and a nutty sense from the Wild Rice.  This isn’t Uncle Ben’s Rice, podnah!  The quail was juicy and smokey, not try nor tough.  Again another win for the Republic Smokehouse.  Grade: A

The tasting continued and the next item that was presented was highly recommended by Cedric Williams as a good representation of Chef Matt Knotts’ repertoire:  Smoked Duck Breast with a Raspberry Gastrique sauce and grilled okra, served atop rainbow grits that are cracked in house using… LIQUID NITROGEN!!!  (Glad to see there are other Chefs channeling their inner Mad Scientist!)  This duck was smokey, had a nice visible smoke ring even, was juicy and savoury–almosted melted in my mouth.  The Raspberry gastrique was a sweet and sour offset to the savoury, peppery duck.  The grits had a bit of a pop to their taste–using multiple breeds/colors of corn was a really nice touch by Chef Matt Knotts.  So far, more awesomness!  Grade: A++

For the Pescetarians out there, they also have smoked salmon, smoked by Cedric Williams himself.  Fish has to be smoked at a lower temperature than other meats.  Mr. Williams said once he figured out how to get the temperature just right, it came out phenomenal.  This salmon was served with the wild rice, garnished with Rosemary and atop a set of glazed carrots.  No wonder this dish is in the “For the Foodies” section of the menu.  Beautiful to look at, deliciously savoury, slightly smokey and the carrots were sweet, tender but firm and a nice contrast to the nuttiness of the wild rice.  Grade: A+

As wonderful as all those dishes are, the piece de resistance for any local BBQ fans who miss the Williams Smokehouse was this sampler plat of 5 different meats all smoked by the Pitmaster himself, Cedric Williams.  We got to try smoked turkey, moist brisket, Pork babyback ribs, jalapeño sausage and beef sausage.  (FYI: the sausages are all prepared by Williams!).  This platter is what has brought the fans of Williams smokehouse to Downtown Houston after Republic Smokehouse opened and scratched that flavour itch.  The Turkey had a nice smoke ring, was tasty.  The brisket moist and juicy.  The sausages savoury, juicy and a little spicy.  And the baby back ribs were fall off the bone tender.  Cedric Williams make the rub and the sauces, and whether you sauce those meats or eat them as is, they are a great representation of our local classic BBQ scene.  Grade: A’s and A+’s  

Lest I forget, the is dessert as well.  We were treated to a funnell cake that was served with house made vanilla ice cream topped with the raspberry gastrique, and a special milk shake that was flavoured like caramel buttered popcorn.  The funnel cake was more crispy than the usual carnival versions, but was nicely sweet and worked great with the raspberry gastrique and the cool, creamy ice cream.  The popcorn shake was buttery and salty, yet creamy and frothy as well.  I loved the caramel popcorn garnish and I think I may have found a few caramelized cashew nuts in the bottom of the glass.  Bonus points for creativity on that shake!  Grade:  A & A respectively.  

Folks, I got a good taste of a broad cross-section of Republic Smokehouse’s menu in this tasting session, and was overall very pleased.  Fans of the Williams BBQ, if you’ve not come out already, you need to.  Folks who work downtown and have a hankering for BBQ or great Gastronomic Grub need to come on down as well.  I’ll also mention they have a great selection of Texas Craft Beer, as well as mass produced beer, a very well stocked bar and plan to be having occasional live music on the stage near the front of the restaurant.  The staff is also friendly and provide great service in a Texas casual atmosphere.

Oh, and before I forget: next Thursday, April 23, The Republic Smokehouse and Saloon will host a special evening with the Houston Police K9 Unit, Houston Police Chief Charles A. McClelland, Jr. and the Houston Police Foundatio. You can meet the officers and their K9 partners, and The event will kick off the opportunity for Houstonians to step forward and sponsor a HPD K9.   To ensure the K9 Unit is able to operate at its current capacity, they are seeking financial support from corporations, organizations, and individuals to offset the unit’s operating costs for the 23 specially trained policy dogs. For those interested, please consider sponsoring a K9 partner. The tax deductible $3,500 sponsorship will cover all of the operating expenses for one K9 member for one year.  For more info, please check out:

The Repblic Smokehouse and Saloon is located at:

1910 Bagby Street, Suite 100
Houston, Texas 77002

Sun – Wed: 11:00 a.m. – Midnight
Thu – Sat: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Eat Happy, Y’all!!!

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On October 8, 2014 By

For anyone looking for any of my current writing, please head on over to  There you’ll find:- Interviews with pitmasters and others in the world of barbecue- Weekly round-ups of barbecue news- Reviews of barbecue joints across Texas- Fea…

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Houston is a great BBQ City as well as a great Food City.  The BBQ you can get here ranges from the everyday to the sublime, the blue collar to the gourmet, the chain to the local and everywhere in between.  There’s no doubt we’re blessed with great BBQ Folks ranging from Levi Goode off of Kirby Drive and all over Town, Ray Busch at Ray’s Real Pit BBQ on OST to Ronnie Killen in Pearland, The Brooks Family in Cypress and J. C. Reid writing about all of them and more.  We’ve got the chains like Pappa’s (nee Luther’s), Rudy’s and Spring Creek.  And we’ve got tailgaters galore at every sporting event and BBQ competition and festival you can think of.  Is there room for another BBQ place in the Houston area?  Well since Bone Daddy’s House of Smoke already has a location in Webster that is going great guns, I’d say yes, provided the food is really good.  And I found Bone Daddy’s to be just that,  despite the fact that they came out of Dallas (COUGH!!! SPIT!!!) They’re described as a Funky BBQ Place filled with smokin’ hot women (aka Daddy’s Girls) serving killer food, ice cold beer and lots of fun!  But first a little background:

Mike Leatherwood’s tiny chain of restaraunts can be summed up in three keywords: barbecue, beer and beauties. The latter are called “Daddy’s Girls,” and serve the former two items while clad in tight-fitting clothes. Surprise, surprise: The main clientele are men sucking down cold ones and hickory-smoked ‘cue, like the three-meat house platter with two sides. Bear in mind that some meats, like the bone-in half chicken, are only available on a platter. Baby-back ribs, sandwiches (pulled pork is popular), burgers and chicken-fried steak also make appearances on the menu. (source: The Dallas Observer.) [Hank’s additional commmentary:  during this event I saw many women as well as men, and much of the clientele was focused on the delicious food]

Bone Daddy’s is the brainchild of CEO Mike Leatherwood, who’s been working in the restaurant business since age 14. In January of 2000, Leatherwood opened up the first Bone Daddy’s House of Smoke in Richardson (a northern suburb of DFW, SPIT!!!). The concept is based on a Southern Man named Bone Daddy whose family owned a salvage yard who grew up with a taste for BBQ and Blues as he was working his first jobs. When his parents passed on, he inherited the salvage yard. However, since Bone Daddy didn’t care for the salvage business, he gradually turned the salvage yard and storefront into a BBQ and Blues Joint. This theme is visible throughout the restaurant with the bare I-beams, rough reclaimed lumber and use of all kinds of recycled kitschy items to give the place a rough hewn feel. Think Sanford and Son meets a Texas BBQ Place, Merges and serves up a straight yet choice filled menu.  Most of the recipes with a few exceptions are Leatherwood’s parents’. (paraphrased and edited/amended from an article from June 2014 issue of Avid Golfer)  

Modern Beer Keg System that belies the
salvage yard kitsch of Bone Daddy’s

On this particular afternoon, I had a chance to look around the joint, and take in what I saw as well as hear their story, straight from the proverbial horse’s mouth.  There were plenty of Daddy’s Girls on hand as they prepared to host a huge soft opening dinner event, but I managed to snag a preview of several of their wares, which was a great privilege to experience.  Suffice it to say, I was reasonably impressed with the careful thought and attention to detail they’ve put into the environment, the menu, the tap list (2/3 of it are Texas based craft and mass produced beers, the rest are “imports” meaning from outside of Texas!), the liquor (they stock several great Texas spirit brands like Yellow Rose and Deep Eddy, which are the basis of their cocktails), and the the thorough way their meats are prepared (rubbed, mopped and slow pit smoked over genuine cured hickory wood in a high end smoker as well as a HUGE portable for overflow purposes and special events).  Briskets are done for 12 hours, ribs and chickens for at least 4 hours.  They even do an in-house beer-can chicken that is moist, juicy and well seasoned.  And their Choice Sides are no last minute add-ins–there’s a thorough design to the seasonings on the Fries, the potato salad recipe and the gooey, creamy Mac and Cheese that actually strings from the paper boat when you eat it, as well as their roadhouse spuds (a great potato casserole!!!).

I’ll tap these!!! 

First I was given the Nickel Tour by Mike Muller (Chief Operating Officer) who came down from Dallas for the event.  Mike is a youngish man who clearly enjoys working for this company and is proud of the way they do business.  He was really proud of his choices of Texas Craft Beers on Draught which included a couple of taps I’ve not yet seen at my usual watering hole such as Maverick Lager by Guns & Oil (who have the COOLEST Tap Handle I’ve seen based on an Oil Derrick), and First Stand by Texian Brewing (which was a nice Saison/Farm House Ale).  I’m sure those brands will be making the rounds at other Houston Craft Beer Bars soon, if they’ve not done so already and I missed them.  No worries, all good here!  Another spot that Mike was proud of was a multipurpose private dining area that converted in to a private patio thanks to a pair of Garage style roll up doors.  Such flexibility will work well if we end up with an odd cool evening in the summer or a pleasant evening during the more temperate months of November and April, or any other odd month where the weather is not too hot nor too cold.  Again, here you see a blue collar look with a white collar or tattooed way of thinking.  Besides the great taps, they have a huge selection of canned beers that include Lone Star and other ABinBev stuff on the lower end and Karbach on the higher end, so there’s literally a beer for every taste profile available.  For Craft afficianados like myself, it’s nice to have something other than Shiner Bock as your last go to before you just choose Iced Tea.

I got to see the kitchen and the prep line, with plenty of pans of Mac & Cheese freshly prepared and waiting to hit the oven.  Mike stressed to me that nothing sits around, fresh product is rotated in on a proper schedule based on traffic flow.  The stuff that’s supposed to take long (smoked products like brisket) are always fresh–overnight smoking for next day’s lunch, late morning smoking for that night’s dinner), and the only things that are in their freezer:  ice, tubs of ice cream for certain desserts and French Fries.  Everything else is either in the cooler, cooking or being served.  That’s a hard act to follow for many restaurants to say the least.  However, this growth process for Bone Daddy’s has been on a Brisket smoking pace:  the first location opened up over 14 years ago.  This location is their eighth location, 2nd location in the Houston area.  Clearly Mike Leatherwood and Company are being very deliberate about how they develop their locations and are paying strong attention to quality control.  For those who normally eschew chains, this should get your attention.

One of the things I found especially amusing was the prep setup of the Beer Can Chicken.  I’ve got a few friends who do a mean beer can chicken–when it’s done right it’s tender, juicy, smokey and moist.  As good if not better than rotisserie chicken.  One of the kitchen managers, she made a quip that “Every day a whole chicken coop full of hens is violated by a can of Miller, Bud or some other kind of beer” for the sake of their clients.  This made me decide it was one of the meats I had to try at this preview, and though I had to wait for it, it was certainly worth the wait!!!

Emma serves up a Juicy Lucy Cocktail

We went back to the bar and I had a chance to sample a couple of their signature cocktails while waiting for a couple of items they wanted me to be sure to taste.  The two very interesting house cocktails that catch your eye are the Blow Torch (a layered drink featuring Dark Rum,  Light Rum, Blue Curacao, 151 Rum, Pineapple Juice, Sweet &  Sour, Splash of Sprite, garnished with a citrus wedge and set on fire)  and the juicy Lucy (not the cheese stuffed burger, but rather a drink of Melon, Banana, Cocunut Rum, OJ and Pineapple Juice, garnished with a marschino cherry).  Unfortunately, I had a camera fail on the Blowtorch–I’ll be coming back for a meal soon and will get video to supplement this with later.  But I assure you though it was fruity, it packed a punch and makes you want to quote Marsellus Wallace from Pulp Fiction after a couple of sips!  The Juicy Lucy was also fruity and refreshing, but again the sweet front note belies a potent potable that you need to drink slowly.  And they also had a Patron Margarita that I did not try this time, but as a fan of Patron Tequila, I know this one will be outstanding!  Grades: A+ and A respectively.  

Finally time for some solid food and the first item I was served up was a delicious chopped brisket BBQ beef sandwich with their house fries and potato salad on the side, along with some fresh, crunchy dill pickles.  This beef was tender, smokey and juicy.  The fries had a seasoning that was a little sweet and spicy.  The sauce is served on the side warm in a beer bottle and is sweet yet spicy and tangy.  The potato salad had onions, red peppers, mustard, mayo and a few other odds and ends in it, but it was tasty and edible!  This would be a nice quick lunch for those just putting their foot in the door.  All good, no complaints.  Grade: A

The next item I had was suggested to me by one of the Daddy’s Girls:  A sandwich called the Steak and Bacon.  As the name implies, you have slices of slow smoked ribeye steak, thick smoked peppered bacon, BBQ sauce and melted provolone.  The former is served on French Bread with lettuce, red onion and tomato with dill pickle chips on the side.  It was served with their Killer Mac N Chesse–look at that photo how stringy the cheese is!  WHOAH!!!  This is one AWESOME sandwich in my opinion!  The steak is juicy and smokey.  The bacon crisp and sweet, yet peppery.  The melted cheese and sauce go great with the meats and the baguette ties it all together with the veggies like The Dude’s Rug tied the apartment together in The Big Lebowski!  Forget a Philly Cheesesteak–this is MY KIND OF STEAK SANDWICH!!!  Grade: A+

Next up, I asked Emma and Kyrie (the two Daddy’s girls who were taking care of me) what they would order if they came in for a snack and they both resoundingly recommended the Messy Wings.  These are full 3-segment, 2-joint wings that are rubbed and slow smoked, then grilled and sauced at the end.  You can see the flipping grill marks on them, for Pete’s sake.  The wings are served by the pound with a Paprika-dusted cup of jalapeño ranch dressing.  You’re also typically given a couple of hot towels to help clean your hands when you eat the wings or their ribs for that matter–talk about full service!!!  These wings were smokey, spicy, a little salty, sweet and just plain good.  The jalapeño ranch reminds me a little bit of the kind they serve at Chuy’s–creamy yet spicy and so dang good!  Grade: A

Daddy’s Girl serving up Pulled Pork Sammies!!!

 I took a breather as the big crowd for the soft opening event–several organizations in the Willowbrook Area were invited to come on over for the preview, nice touch, Bone Daddy’s.  Several of the Daddy’s Girls circulated with small samples of different items such as their grilled, sauced chicken served up in a sandwich called The Bird and of course their smokin’ Pulled Pork & Slaw sliders.  These sliders were smokin’ sweet loaded with pulled pork and sweet mayonnaise slaw.  Very juicy, saucy, creamy and the slaw added a nice crunch to it.  Brilliant!!! Grade: A  

Beer Can Violated Chicken!!! 

Finally my special request, the Beer Can Chicken came out, still violated by the Miller High Life Can.  SMH.  This dry rubbed chicken had a bright pink smoke ring and was totally juicy!  It was served with their Skillet Head Beans (slow cooked with shreds of brisked and spicy sausage in them) and their Road House Cheese Spuds Potato Casserole.  I tore off a drumstick and got a nice mouth full of wonderful spices, juicy, smokey meat and found the meat to be nearly fall off the bone tender.  So very good, reminds me of high-end rotisserie chicken with a spicy kick and a hint of a lager beer essence in there as well.  Definitely worth the wait and totally good!  Grade: A+++

Kyrie also made sure to grab me samples of two of their desserts:  Bread Pudding with cinnamon sugar, and Banana pudding.  The bread pudding had a cinnamon whiskey sauce, was soft, had nice cinnamon essence and was really great.  Grade: A  The banana pudding looked like a scoop of ice cream, it was so thick.  It wasn’t frozen or cold like ice cream, just cool, sweet and full of banana bits and served with vanilla wafer bits.  This kind of banana pudding reminds me of the kind my Great Aunts back in Mississippi would make–not the store-bought brand to be sure!   Grade: A+  

Grand Opening Crew of Daddy’s Girls

After taking a little time to take some notes and chat with the staff, I observed the folks coming in and though some of the male customers and a few of the women seemed… distracted by the Daddy’s Girls, the vast majority were digging into their BBQ and looking quite happy.  I know that so-called [Censored due to Trademark owned by another Chain]-aurants tend to get some flack–i.e. they’re distracting the diner with pretty women so they don’t notice the food is marginal, they exploit women, etc.  I would respectfully disagree with this based on a couple of things:  The food is quite good and the folks who prepare it are very deliberate about doing BBQ correctly.  Also, several of the staff indicated that the job is a good one, that many employees have been able to buy into shares of ownership, that they earn great tips and have good benefits.  The Kitchen Manager herself is a former “Daddy’s Girl” who worked her way into management, and if you look at the company’s location page, 25% of the GM’s (Coaches as they’re called ) are Women–specifically Alicia Lutz in Austin and Denine Ferraro in Plano.  At the same time, I know that some women and men may not feel comfortable being served by young women in Daisy Dukes and midriff baring shirts.  It’s your choice, you don’t have to go there, but if you’re one of those persons, I’d suggest getting an order to go and at least trying the BBQ.  It’s quite good, I promise you.

I want to thank Mike Mueller, Kevin Karrp, the Daddy’s Girls on the opening team (especially Emma and Kyrie) and the rest of the Bone Daddy’s Willowbrook crew for the comprehensive tour and the tastes of their various kinds of BBQ.  While the atmosphere may not appeal to everybody, most of us of Southern Extraction will get the references and enjoy it to the fullest.  The Food, Beer and Cocktails are excellent and speak for themselves.  I highly recommend that you either come on down or get some to go and give this place a try.  No, it’s not at the same level as Killen’s or Burn’s, but relative to chains, they hold their own with other great Texas BBQ chains like Rudy’s, and the kitschy atmosphere is quite entertaining!

Bone Daddy’s House of Smoke-Willowbrook
is located off of Gessner & 249 at:
17381 N Gessner Rd.
Houston, TX 77064

Currently they’re doing dinner service
5 PM to 11 PM
As of June 30th their full hours are:
Sun-Thu 11 AM to 11 PM
Fri-Sat 11 AM to Midnight

Eat Happy, Y’all!!!

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I never thought that I would have trouble finishing ONE rib!Not built from a bunch of old wood to resemble an aging barbeque joint out in the country, The Brisket House is in a strip Center in Tanglewood and is neat, clean and full of smiles and “thank…

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Well folks, the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos are facing off on the frozen gridiron in New Jersey this Sunday in the Big Game whose name cannot be said without legal clearance.  As much as I’d been hoping for a Texans appearance, it wasn’t to be this year.  Due to the year I lived in Seattle combined with other friends who still live in the Pacific NW, I’m rooting for the Seahawks.  Still in Houston there will be plenty of folks out there celebrating and enjoying good food with friends and family.  And what better way to enjoy the Big Game than with good food from good Houston establishments either watching at the restaurant or getting packs to take to the party and serve up!

Cafe Adobe Fajita Packs

Cafe Adobe has been a Houston tradition since the original location opened its doors on Westheimer in 1981. Whether it’s at one of the three locations in the Greater Houston area or catered to your home, the Tex-Mex expert knows how to party. Cafe Adobe has created special fajita packs that are ideal for Super Bowl Sunday. A two-pound fajita pack that serves 4-6 is $75.95 and the four-pound pack, which serves 9-11, is $149.95. The packs include all the fajita-fixings, such as sautéed onions, guacamole, cheese and pico, as well as rice, beans, chips and tortillas. Shrimp Bravos, street tamales or chili con queso can be added to either pack for bonus points. Personally I’d add a couple of Avocado Adobes to the mix–that delicious, cheesy, meaty concoction is the Tex-mex answer to the Scotch egg, spicy, and oh so good. Or the Shimp or Chicken Brava–this is wrapped in bacon , filled with cheese.  Totally bad for you, and so much better than the usual rubber cheese dip served at some Big Game parties.  Click the image on the left for contact information as well as to order catering!!!

Goode Co. BBQ Packs
What could make a Big Game Party better than Goode Co. BBQ?!?! A Houston staple since 1977, Goode Company is known for tried and true, homemade Texas fare. Goode Company BBQ’s 3 Locations offer different deals on appetizers and drinks specials throughout the year, and makes for the perfect place to watch the upcoming Big Football Game no matter what team you are cheering on. For those looking to host a watch-party, Goode Company’s BBQ party packs feature its tasty meats and divine sides at around $12 per person or they can work with you to cater a party of any size or budget! Click this link here to get to their catering website and for contact info.  Get your orders in ASAP for Sunday!!!

Jonathan’s The Rub

Considered a hidden-gem located in Memorial Village, Jonathan’s the Rub offers guests a diverse menu of high-end quality cuisine and Jonathan’s full catering service can create a watch-party menu fit for an NFL star. Specialties like the Lobster Sliders and Jonathan’s Fried Chicken N Grits, put a unique spin on some sports-watching favorites and Jonathan’s will work with you to cater a watch party of any size, guarantying guests will leave satisfied win or lose. Personally, the lobster sliders, their rub fries, their macaroni and cheese and a couple of servings of Chicken Laredo would be right up my alley to be served at a high end yet still accessible and fun Big Game Party.  Call them at 713-797-9000 for catering!

3 Brothers Bakery

Three Brothers Bakery, 5th generation local favorite, has great party tray and goodie options for any Big Game party. Sweeten up your Big Game watch party with a pastry tray, football themed white chocolate dipped and decorated gingerbread cookies or custom cake balls. Stop by Three Brothers and pick up fresh, hand-made hamburger and hot dog buns for the perfect grilling touch. Three Brothers Bakery has delicious options to make your Big Game party the best on the block! Given how close the Big Game is to Mardi Gras, I’d order one of their WONDERFUL King Cakes along with one of their pastry trays to indulge my guest’s sweet cravings.  Call 713-666-2253 or 713-464-2253 to place your orders, sooner rather than later.

Saint Arnold’s Beer
And what Party for Super Sunday would be without good quality craft beer?  Not any party I’d want to be at!  That’s why I’m reminding y’all to be sure to hit your local Spec’s and stock up on Saint Arnold’s Beer.  Houston’s oldest craft brewery, now celebrating 20 years of operation, has all of their usual fare like Fancy Lawn More, Brown and Amber Ales, Elissa and Endeavor IPAs on sale, as well as their dark, bold Winter Stout.  As you can see in the pic on the left, even good ol’ Mr. Moustache loves Saint Arnold Craft Beer!  Get your self a couple of 2-4s at Spec’s and tell them that Hank on Food recommended you stock up on Saint Arnold’s for this Sunday’s Big Game!

Eat Happy Y’all!!!

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2014 UK Barbecue Tour

On January 5, 2014 By

2014 UK Barbecue Tour – photo rooreynolds I’ll be touring Texas-inspired barbecue joints in the United Kingdom starting January 8th. Here’s some background. The export of Texas barbecue – or more specifically the culture of Texas barbecue – is a … Continue reading

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2013: A Very Good Year

On December 31, 2013 By

My year started like everyone else’s back in January, but my new life really began with an article on Eater National announcing my new role as Barbecue Editor for Texas Monthly. That was Thursday, March 21st. I still had six days left of my six year tenure at Good Fulton & Farrell, a Dallas architecture firm. You can imagine how productive that final week was.

This jacket arrived in the mail on 04/08

Before that day I had spent a couple months of the year editing my book, The Prophets of Smoked Meat, for publication. It was to come out two months later in Anthony Bourdain’s new line of books with Ecco, but Manny Fernandez of the New York Times wanted to talk about this new Barbecue Editor position the evening of the Eater announcement. When that story went live on May 23rd, things went from crazy to surreal.

Photo by Rex C. Curry of the New York Times

I had three weeks off between jobs to do some barbecue exploring, so I convinced my photographer Nick McWhirter to tag along on a Carolina barbecue road trip in early April.

We ate plenty of pork, and got to chew a little fat with some of our counterparts on the East Coast. Author John Shelton Reed and blogger Dan Levine met us for a meal at Allen & Son in Chapel Hill, NC, while author Robert F. Moss met us on our final day in Charleston, SC.

Dan Levine & his children, me, John Shelton Reed, and Nick McWhirter

4/12: I got home to find the first real copy of my book in the mail.

4/15: I officially started my new job as Barbecue Editor of Texas Monthly…

…and they gave me these cool business cards.

4/25: The first official event for the book launch was the TLA Conference in Fort Worth where I shared the stage with a friend and Texas BBQ mentor, Robb Walsh.

5/5: Texas Tech student Kristen Witherspoon made this drawing of me for a class project, which now is my Twitter avatar.

5/7: Interview with Nightline’s Meredith Frost at Pecan Lodge.

5/8: Interview with NBC’s Kevin Tibbles during a Dallas BBQ road trip.

5/9: Book event in Seattle catered by my friend Jack Timmons

5/13: Travel to New York with my wife for the official book launch events. We spent the day going around town on a BBQ tour with New York food critics Pete Wells and Robert Sietsema.

Robert Sietsema, Me, Pete Wells

Helen Cho, David Hale Smith, Jennifer Vaughn

5/14: The Prophets of Smoked Meat is out! I spotted the first copy “in the wild” at a Barnes & Noble in Manhattan. The book’s designer, Suet, and my editor Libby were both excited for launch date. That evening I had an interview with Anthony Bourdain at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square.

Suet and Libby

Tony and me with matching shirts

5/15: The Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ Joints list is revealed while I’m still in New York making it my busiest day on Twitter ever. That night I had a book signing party catered by my friend Daniel Delaney of Brooklyn’s Delaney Barbecue.

Daniel Delaney, David Hale Smith, and me

5/16: Celebration lunch at Le Bernardin with my agent David Hale Smith. There was a strict no photo policy that we enforced on ourselves.

5/17: A ridiculous party was hosted by Steve and Anne Stoghill at their house in Dallas. Hundreds of people including the Dallas mayor came to enjoy barbecue from some of Texas’s best pitmasters. I signed books through the entire party.

5/19: In Chicago with Tony.

5/21: Interview on NPR’s Think with Krys Boyd.

5/23: Interview at KUT studio in Austin where I met Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett in the kitchen.

5/24: San Antonio book signing at Two Bros. BBQ Market.

5/25: Book signing party at Four Corners Brewery in Dallas.

5/28: OKC book signing at the Semtner house.

5/30: Book signing party at Fox Bros. BBQ in Atlanta.

6/1: Texas Monthly BBQ Bus Tour to Snow’s, Louie Mueller and Franklin Barbecue.

6/6: Interview with Dan Rather and Texas Monthly BBQ takeover with Aaron Franklin at Hill Country BBQ in New York.

6/7: This morning was the worst event of the tour. I went on the Opie and Anthony Show and it bombed. But the bonus was that I brought one of Aaron Franklin’s briskets that was warmed in the kitchen of Le Bernardin. The interview later that day with an Austrailian morning show made up for it when the host ended the segment showing concern for my colon.

6/8 and 6/9: Big Apple BBQ Block Party.

With burger aficinado George Motz

With 17th St BBQ’s Amy Mills


John T. Edge, me, Jimmy Hagood

With Frank Ostini

With John Markus
6/?: Sometime in June my book showed up on the desk of Geoff who is the co-star of the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. I have no idea how it got there.

6/10: BBQ University with Steven Raichlen in Colorado Springs, CO.

6/14: Book signing in Cleveland where they cooked a few cow heads for me at Greenhouse Tavern.

7/10: I smoked beef ribs for a cooking class put on by Tom Douglas in Seattle. Later that night, Sir Mix A Lot raved about one of the leftover ribs at another Tom Douglas restaurant.

8/29: Took Todd Blackledge on a “Taste of the Town” scouting trip to BBQ on the Brazos in Cresson. It was featured in the LSU v. TCU game a few nights later.

9/4 and 9/5: Cooked with Adam Perry Lang in Los Angeles. Got to chat with restaurateur and author Roy Choi and writer Lolis Eric Elie as well.

With Roy Choi

Adam Perry Lang, Lolis Eric Elie, me

9/19: Spoke in a panel discussion on American food at Feast Portland with chefs Christopher Kostow, Naomi Pomeroy and Hugh Acheson.

Photo by Jay Friedman

10/3: Sat in on a press conference with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and asked a few barbecue questions.

10/5: Met Nina Sells of Smitty’s BBQ in Lockhart during a book signing. Despite my harsh words for Smitty’s, she was very gracious and even gave me this Smitty’s shirt to cover the Kreuz Market one I was wearing.

10/10: Andy Langer sent me this photo of ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons.

10/15: Filmed a segment with Frank Stewart and Wynton Marsalis in Lockhart for CBS Sunday Morning.

10/25: Talked with Rick Schmidt, former owner of Kreuz Market, at the opening of Schmidt Family Barbecue in Bee Cave, TX.

10/26: Attended the Texas Book Festival in Austin. Spent and evening with a bunch of authors at the Paisano Ranch outside of Austin and witnessed a great party trick with grain alcohol.

11/2: Met my nemesis, Josh Ozersky at Meatopia Texas.

11/3: Texas Monthly BBQ Festival in Austin.

11/17: Judged Meat Fight in Dallas with Nick Offerman, aka Ron Swanson.

11/21: The BBQ Audi that had been my trusty road companion was totaled.

11/22: The most sparsely attended book signing I had was saved by these nice folks from Tyler, TX.

11/23: I drove to Longview to get a new BBQ Audi and stopped for barbecue in Tyler on the way back.

12/7: Judged the Linn-San Manuel cook-off and ate the finest cabrito of my life just north of McAllen.

12/13: Learned that The Prophets of Smoked Meat was listed as one of the ten best non-fiction books of 2013 by the Wall Street Journal.

12/14 and 12/15: Filmed Bizarre Foods America with Andrew Zimmern in Dallas and Fort Worth.

12/18: I received the January issue of Texas Monthly where my interview with Kreuz Market pitmaster Roy Perez appeared. What an incredible end to an incredible year.

I met so many incredible people and made some great friends along the way. There are too many people to thank of making this such a fulfilling year, but I mostly have to thank my family for their patience. Their absence along the way is glaring in the photos above, but they know I’ve gotta keep working.

– BBQ Snob

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