Last week, Texas Monthly, a magazine about life in paradise, hired Daniel Vaughn for a newly-created position. Vaughn quit his job as an architect to become the only full-time critic of barbecue for any magazine or newspaper in America:
Mr. Vaughn’s last day as an associate at Good Fulton & Farrell is Tuesday, and he starts his new job in April, a few weeks before the release of his book, “The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue.” He spent six months exploring the state’s barbecue spots and collecting pitmasters’ recipes, eating at up to 10 restaurants a day and logging 10,000 miles.
Standing at a table at Lockhart, with his dinner scattered about the oily butcher paper and not a plate in sight, he pulled apart the brisket, which had been smoked for 14 to 16 hours. Lockhart opened in 2010 seeking to replicate Central Texas barbecue, using the same techniques, wood — post oak — and down-home style that is both anti-fork and anti-sauce.
“They leave some fat on,” Mr. Vaughn said, brisket in hand. “If you go to East Texas, you’re going to get basically just gray slices of brisket. The saddest thing you can see is for them to pull out a fresh new brisket, slap it down and it’s got this nice jiggle to it. Then they’ll take the back of the knife and scrape the fat off in one fell swoop and throw it away. They love the fat in Central Texas.”
(Photo: Texas Monthly)