Friday, December 14, 2012
Lockhart Smokehouse’s Will Fleischman sparks it up on Sunday’s BBQ Pitmasters premiere
He's an honorary Texan enchanted by the smoky siren.
OAK CLIFF Central Texas might be known as the “Capital of Texas Barbecue,” but DFW seeks to smoke out a bit of the competition on Sunday evening during the new season of BBQ Pitmasters on Destination America. Beginning at 8 p.m., the premiere episode will feature Will Fleischman, pitmaster of Oak Cliff’s Lockhart Smokehouse, who competed at the Bedford Blues & BBQ festival during Labor Day weekend.
A Wisconsin transplant with a master’s degree in English literature and a childhood love of Julia Child, Fleischman might initially seem like an unlikely face for the Texas smokehouse. Lockhart is, after all, the brainchild of a barbecue baroness Jill Grobowsky Bergus, whose grandfather, Edgar “Papa” Schmidt, began running the famous Kreuz Market in Lockhart, Texas in 1948. Known for serving some of Central Texas’ best smokes for more than a century, Kreuz's is a tough act for any young restaurant to follow.
But, its Oak Cliff progeny has doggedly sought to bring a bit of original German-style flavor to North Texas. Bergus and her husband Jeff teamed up with pitmaster Tim McLaughlin, and since its early 2011 opening, Lockhart has garnered raves from some of Dallas’ food critics for its meticulously smoked meat, chopped up and slapped down in a delightfully unpretentious setting. It was also dogged for not having forks or plates (and the forks have since been added).
McLaughlin brought in Fleischman, who originally came to Dallas as an oil futures consultant. The two met while Fleischman studied at Le Cordon Bleu Dallas, a career turn prompted by both a lifelong passion for cooking and an intoxication by his new state's culinary temptress: barbecue. The only restaurant in DFW that carries Kreuz Market Sausage, Lockhart smokes brisket, ribs, pork chops, and chicken slow and low over Texas post oak. Anyone who has sampled a bit of Fleischman’s fare knows that it doesn’t matter how he got here; he’s all Texas, deep down to the bone.
New to the competition circuit, Fleischman was chosen by Southern Living as one of 10 of the South’s best pitmasters, an honor also bestowed upon BBQ Pitmasters judge and Austinite Aaron Franklin. During the Bedford competition, Fleischeman faced off against owner/pitmaster of Burnt Bean Co. Ernest Servantes, and owner/pitmaster of Buzzie’s BBQ Harold “Buzzie” Hughes.
Watch Fleischman fight for it all at 8 p.m. on December 16. Stick around for a special program, Ultimate Barbecue Showdown, where master class barbecue chefs and Pitmasters judges Myron Mixon and Tuffy Stone go head-to-head immediately following the Pitmasters premiere, on Destination America at 9 p.m.
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