How Terlingua’s lone barbecue spot has expanded

DB’s Rustic Iron BBQ has moved from a food truck to a permanent brick-and-mortar restaurant with “pristine bathrooms.”

By Casey CheekMarch 19, 2024 5:02 pm, , ,

Say the word “Terlingua” and a lot of people might think of an old Jerry Jeff Walker album, or perhaps a chili cook-off. That was a big deal, certainly, back in the 70s and 80s.

But do you think of barbecue? Not so much, perhaps, unless you’re Daniel Vaughn, barbecue editor at Texas Monthly.

Vaughn joined Texas Standard with the details on the only BBQ joint in town – one that’s gotten a massive upgrade.

This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity:

Texas Standard: I know you are from the Dallas area, generally speaking. So I am quite curious indeed how you found this spot where they’re serving up barbecue in Terlingua. That’s a long way from home for you.

Daniel Vaughn: It is. It’s really. It’s the furthest barbecue joint from my home in Texas. And, if you consider the fact that I could fly pretty much anywhere in the state, the closest I can fly to this place is Midland and then drive 4.5 hours to DB’s Rustic Iron BBQ in Terlingua.

Terlingua is – well, rustic is a word that could be used to describe it, but it is definitely an outpost, for sure. And it’s long been that way and prides itself on being somewhat isolated. What kind of barbecue can you get in a place that remote?

Well, pretty good. I mean, he’s got some good smoked brisket. He’s got an all-wood smoker, some sweet and spicy pork ribs.

And, I mean, really, the big news is the fact that he has left his food truck and opened up a permanent spot, which has allowed him to expand his menu to things like some barbacoa tacos, big old stuffed baked potatoes and a full bar as well.

Where’s he getting his his raw material from here?

All the companies that would make deliveries to any of the big cities make them down into Terlingua. They just don’t come by quite as often.

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I see. Well, tell us a little bit about what this place is like. It’s gone from trailer to actual stand-alone barbecue joint, brick and mortar place, right?

Yeah, that’s right. You know, he started small with just a kitchen. And then he just added on to it as he went along, and now he’s got a big covered patio with a stage for live music.

He opens up all the big garage doors on either side of it, and you get this great view of Big Bend National Park, which the entrance is, you know, just a few miles away. It’s really a pristine place to be eating barbecue.

Good barbecue, good music. Got some incredible vistas. Was it missing anything?

Well, you know, at the at the old food truck – let’s just say that I found out the hard way that he didn’t have any restrooms there when I was in desperate need of one several years back. And, when I was looking at the at the sign-in book – he’s got a little guest book there, right by the bar – and one of the comments there was “pristine bathrooms,” and he’s quite proud of them.

If you’re in Terlingua, you know, there’s just not a whole lot of businesses there. So having a place with pristine bathrooms can be helpful when you’re down there at the end of the world. And they do indeed.

I had to go check them out myself, just to make sure. I wish he’d had them this nice few years back, but yeah, let’s just say it’s a good thing he’s got them now.

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