Thursday, March 21, 2013
Dallas’ BBQ Snob is now Texas Monthly‘s new barbecue editor
It's been a busy few years for Daniel Vaughn.
DALLAS A congratulatory note on Twitter Thursday morning from Anthony Bourdain proved to Dallasite Daniel Vaughn that he'd really made it. As Texas Monthly's new barbecue editor, Vaughn has officially left his day job as an architect to eat fatty beef for a living.
"It's a good day, and it's going to be a good year," Vaughn said in a phone interview Thursday morning.
Vaughn is the blogger behind Full Custom Gospel BBQ, once a pet project on evenings and weekends as he ate his way through barbecue joints big and small. He also was an early content partner of Pegasus News, which he said "gave me a lot of local publicity." Today, he's the BBQ Snob -- his Twitter handle, and also a good way to characterize his take-no-prisoners approach to good 'cue.
Vaughn's new job at Texas Monthly begins April 15. He previously helped Texas Monthly with its barbecue app and served on the tasting team for the Texas Monthly Top 50, but never full time.
Vaughn will continue to live in Dallas and will explore barbecue in Texas, across the U.S., and even internationally. He claims there's an interesting barbecue trend in Europe that needs exploring.
We'll let Vaughn tell you more:
PegNews: New gig, huh? What will you be doing?
Daniel Vaughn: [I'll be] the eyes and ears -- or as Jake [Silverstein, editor in chief of Texas Monthly] puts it -- the nose and mouth of Texas barbecue, really all over the state. I'm trying to push them that it's starting to be a trend in Europe. Fly me out there, I can do some investigative reporting! ... A portion of the job is my continuation of driving around the state and eating barbecue, and now I get paid for that.
Will barbecue in Texas ever be a passing fad?
Oh no, not at all. Maybe it's a passing fad in New York; we'll see if it sticks. If it was a passing fad, Kreuz Market and Barbecue [in Lockhart, Texas] wouldn't be around after opening in 1900.
Tell us about the new job. Did you interview for it or did they find you?
Three years ago, it was right after New Year's 2010, I emailed Pat Sharpe [food editor at Texas Monthly] out of the blue. I had never talked to her before, really, and I said, "It's only three years before the next barbecue issue: We need to get started" -- in my dry sense of humor, with a lot of bravado in there. She was extremely nice. She said, "We don't really use freelancers for it, but if you're in Austin, let's get together." ... So we went and had dinner at Lamberts [Downtown Barbecue in Austin]. We talked straight for two hours about barbecue. ... It just kinda grew from there.
Was it a tough choice to leave your day job?
Let's put it this way, I'm getting paid to drive around the state and eat barbecue. I've been stuck doing that on evenings and weekends, and getting the opportunity to do that whenever I want is incredible ... very much liberating.
Tell us about your fitness plan, if you have one.
The plans and then how it actually ends up happening are two different things, but I do realize that there are health risks involved with consuming massive quantities of fatty beef. I'm going to try to make it a point to eat better when I'm off the clock.
Is there an area of the country that's unexplored for you when it comes to barbecue?
Yeah. Actually, I'm going to be going to the Carolinas in two weeks. It's going to be my first trip to the Carolinas. I hope the book tour takes me to Santa Maria, California to try the Santa Maria style.
Vaughn has a new book coming out May 14 on Bourdain's Ecco imprint called The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue.