Barbecue Restaurants Are Booming in Texas

Daniel Vaughn, barbecue editor of the Texas Monthly, says there are more restaurants in Texas than ever before.

By Emily DonahueJuly 30, 2015 5:30 pm,

It’s hot in Texas, yet Daniel Vaughn is spending his days driving around the sweltering heat.  He’s the barbecue editor for the Texas Monthly, and he spoke to the Standard’s David Brown to give an overview of the growth of barbecue through the state. That is, if you can believe there’s room to grow.

On the Barbecue State of the Union:

“Certainly barbecue is booming. More barbecue restaurants are in Texas these days than ever before. CHD Expert is a company that does market research for restaurants. They shared some of their data with me on specifically the barbecue joint growth in Texas. If you’re talking about barbecue rest overall we’ve gained quite a few over the last five years. A few hundred actually.”

On the difference between barbecue restaurants and joints:

“If you look at the specific types of barbecue restaurants we’ve added, we’ve actually lost ground in limited service restaurants that are independently owned. That means a place that does counter service or cafeteria style service. Essentially the true quintessential barbecue joint, we’re actually seeing a decline in the numbers for that.”

On the best chain barbecue restaurant:

“I think Rudy’s probably does it best. My order at Rudy’s generally consists of sliced turkey and their creamed corn. If you got those two things from Rudy’s you’re doing just fine. They’re not within the top five.”

On why people go to chains over smaller joints:

“I think if you look overall, the fact that Dickey’s has 500 locations means that people aren’t incredibly discerning [about taste]. I write about barbecue. It’s my life. But I do understand that the people I talk with all the time about barbecue that obsess about it, that’s not the general population. The general population is jumping into a barbecue place, getting their chopped beef sandwich, their slaw and some beans and heading back out.”