BBQuest (2018–…): Season 1, Episode 1 - Austin - full transcript

Barbecue enthusiast and native Texan Kelsey Pribilski on a quest to find secret menu items for local flavors in Austin with the help of the Hardcore Carnivore author Jess Pryles.

- I'm Kelsey Pribilski,
a barbecue enthusiast

and native Texan.

I'm crisscrossing the state
in search of local flavors

and secret menu items.

With the help of some renowned chefs

and prominent pitmasters

there's no telling what we might find.

Austin, Texas, the live
music capital of the world.

This place has hill country vibes,

a big city sound, and
no shortage of style.

I'm here with my good friend Jess Pryles,



Austin local and the hardcore carnivore.

I met Jess a few years back

at the Austin food and wine festival,

and although I have lived
in Austin for 14 years,

Jess is still the true
Austin barbecue expert.

- It's great to see you and yeah,

even though I'm Australian
born I am Texas trained

and barbecue is my passion,

so I can't wait to show
you true Austin barbecue.

- Yeah I love checking
out new restaurants,

but the one thing that I'm looking for

are undiscovered menu items.

- Well I have been to just about

every barbecue joint in town,



so I think I could suggest a few places.

- Cool well I know the more famous places,

but I'm not as familiar with
the under the radar joints,

so any idea where we should start?

- I have just the place.

- Cool.

For our first stop, Jess
took me to LeRoy and Lewis.

They serve up alternative
cuts and creative sides

using seasonal ingredients sourced from

local farms and ranches.

- Kelsey, welcome to
LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue.

- Oh yeah.

- Their whole deal is new-school barbecue,

old-school service.
- Okay.

- And what that means is
they're constantly rotating

their menu and doing really,
really interesting stuff,

like they use beef shank
to make their barbacoa,

and you can see it's just
a really different menu.

- They have a barbecue kimchi sandwich.

That's awesome, cool.

- They really really mix it up

and that's what kind of makes it great.

- Let's do it.

- Hey, bud.
- Hey!

- Hey Jess, I'll be right out.

- Awesome, so, I'm gonna
introduce you to Evan LeRoy

he is the owner and pitmaster here.

Hey bud!

- Hey!
- Good to see you.

- Hey, you too.

- This is Kelsey.
- Hi.

- I love what ya'll are doing here

with all of the rotating dishes.

- Thanks so much, yeah, it's a lot of fun.

We just try to mix it up.

- What are we gonna have today though?

- So today I've got a couple sandwiches,

a barbecue bagel, some brisket fried rice,

and later, a little special treat.

- Like, secret menu item treat?

- Yeah.

- I'm into this.

- Can you get a beef platter together?

We'll meet you at the table.

- I'll hook you guys up.

- Thank you.

- Cool.

- You go to these barbecue
joints and they're great

but you can certainly
expect the same things

over and over again.

And here, you never know
what's gonna be on the menu.

It's always really
interesting and exciting.

- Yes.

- And different.
- Ah!

- Here we go ladies.

- Hey!

- Wow!

- So we have the barbacoa torta.

Chopped onions, smoked
jalapeno salsa, and cilantro.

The beef cheek sandwich
with house-made kimchi

and meat barbecue sauce.

Brisket fried rice and the
bagel with brisket schmear.

- Brisket schmear?

- Have you ever a barbecue bagel?

- No.

- Let me go run and get that special treat

for you, one second.

- Thank you.
We will be here with the food.

- I think I'm gonna
go in for the fried rice.

- Good choice,
good choice, solid choice.

Oh, look at this sauce and the bread.

- Totally different right?

- The cilantro is everything in this

and it's spicy but not too spicy.

- It's just really creative and different.

- Mm-hmm.

- Yeah, it's inspired,
but, it's also familiar.

You know, it's just classic
brisket cooked in a classic way.

- Don't forget about dessert.

Brisket chocolate-chip cookies.

So there's brisket in
the cookie dough itself

and there's a candied burn end on top.

- A candied burn end on top.

That's how I wish all
happy stories would end.

- If I were to dream up the best dessert,

this is it coming to vision.

'Cause it's just a slab of
barbecue on top of a cookie.

Okay.

- You goin' in?

- Mm-hmm.

I never, I can't even talk.

- Yeah, I'm gonna need you
to start putting chunks

of candied brisket on most
of everything I eat, please.

- Mm-hmm.

- Done and done.

- Yeah.

- Okay so Evan, tell
me a little bit about how

LeRoy and Lewis got started.

- Yeah, so me and my partner, Sawyers,

had a long background in the industry.

She's Lewis, I'm LeRoy.

- Mm-hmm.

- We just decided to get together

and open up this food truck.

- What was your experience?

Was it always in barbecue?
- Yeah.

Where's the chef element come from?

- Well I kind of grew up
cooking in the back yard

with my dad and then I
went to culinary school.

Kind of came back around
to it eventually, so, yeah.

- Nice.

- And it's such a thing, like
you use really unusual cuts

as well as the flavor.

- I mean, we really just try
to work with local farmers

and ranchers and kind of see what they're

not giving to other
restaurants and we take it.

Like the beef shank, the
barbacoa, what we'll do

is smoke those and then
comfy 'em in beef fat.

We're not trying to throw anything away.

- Well thank you so much
for this bountiful plate.

These are actually mine so
you can come back for others.

- Okay.

- Thanks Evan, it's
always great to see you.

- Thank you.

- If you need me, I'll be over here.

- Think we should just eat.

With Austin being such
a lush and active city,

Jess and I met up again later

for a hike down the
Barton Creek Greenbelt.

- You know, I love the Greenbelt.

It feels like you're in
the middle of no where,

but it's ten minutes from downtown.

- But it's crazy because
people just drive by

without even realizing
that all of this is here.

These trails wind alongside
Barton Creek for 7 scenic miles.

The creek eventually
joins with Barton Springs

and empties into Ladybird Lake.

For most months, the creek is flowing with

crystal clear water.

But, during dryer months,
the creek bed can dry out.

- I hope there's water today.

It's not too much farther
so let's check it out.

- See, there's water across
the whole thing, wow.

- Looks really refreshing.

- Okay, doin' it.

- Are you serious?

- Yeah.

- Good luck.

- We headed south of town to

Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ.

According to Jess, this place has the best

brisket breakfast tacos in town.

- Okay so this is Valentina's,
and the line thing,

this is a hallmark of
Texas barbecue right now.

And it's named after
their oldest daughter.

- Nice.

- And Miguel Vidal and
Modesty, they're the owners

and it's like a real family business.

- That's so nice.

I'm just excited because
it seems like we're trying

something a little bit more different.

- Yeah.

- Than the other places.

- Yeah, and their big thing here is

they have this amazing
breakfasty brunch taco.

- Mm-hmm.

- The real deal holy field.

- So brunch might be my biggest
hobby in life.

- I can get on board
with a hobby like that.

- So I'm just really excited to see if

maybe they have a secret
menu item brunch related.

- We can check that out.

- I think so.

- Yeah.

- Good morning.

- Good morning.

- We need two of your finest

real deal holy field tacos, please.

- Also, if there is anything
off-menu that you recommend,

feel free to bring it to our table.

- Yes ma'am.

- Thank you.
- Thank you.

- Here's good.

- Yeah.

- The hardest part is waiting.

- I know, I've heard so
much about these tacos.

- Yeah, well these guys
started as a trailer

and I mean technically
they're still a trailer

but now they have the whole dining room.

It's such great food,
people kept coming back.

Trust me, you're gonna get addicted.

- I don't think I could
ever turn down a taco.

- Nor should you.

- No.

- Hey!

- Hello.
- Hi.

- What's up, what's up?

_ Miguel this is Kelsey.

- Hi.
- Hi, nice to meet you.

- Kelsey this is Miguel the
pitmaster and owner here.

I'm good.

- What's going on?

- And this is the real deal holy field.

- Yeah, here you go.
- My heart.

- Thank you.

- These are just some pieces of the moist.

- He can tell you what's
in here while I do this.

- Yes, let's describe it
while we're biting into it.

- Yeah, no problem.

So you have refried beans,
potatoes, bacon, fried egg,

with tomato serrano salsa, and
then nice slice of brisket.

This is based off my
father's favorite dish

which was a huevoes rancheros plate.

- Mm-hmm.

- So we took all those
elements, put 'em in a taco,

and then added the slice of brisket.

- This is genius.

- Their brisket
makes everything better.

- Awesome, yeah.

- And honestly, this salsa
adds such a good flavor to it.

Is this homemade salsa too?

- Yeah everything's homemade here.

The tortillas,

- Oh my gosh.

- They're based off my
grandmother's tortillas.

- There's a reason that
they won Best Taco in Texas.

- So how did you get started
in barbecue and tacos?

- Actually it's something
I grew up around.

I've worked in restaurants since I was 15.

- Wow.

- My family eats like this.

Any excuse to get together, a
quinceañera, a birthday party,

or just the weekend.

The Spurrs are playing
or something tonight.

When it's how
Mexican-Americans eat at home,

and it's something that
wasn't in restaurants,

so I wanted to be able to bring that

and share that with people.

- It's such a no-brainer.

Everyone here loves barbecue
and they love tex-mex

and now you got a place that
combines the best of two.

- Yeah, mm-hmm.

- So many times there's a brisket
sandwich or a brisket taco

it's kinda to bury it
amongst other ingredients.

- Yes.

- But this is some of the best brisket

that's being made in Texas right now.

- Well I appreciate that, it means a lot.

- I don't disagree at all.

- You know it, you know it.

- It's just crazy to me
the combination of flavors

works so well together
and then to throw brisket

on top of it just makes
it that much better.

- Mm-hmm.

- Yeah.

- How long are you
smoking your briskets for?

- We do about
14-16 hours on them.

- Wow.

- Yeah, that's longer
than most people's hordevers.

- It is.

- And that's just
for a piece of meat.

- And we use 100% mesquite.

I get the question of how
do you get the mesquite

and not over power the
brisket with the smoke?

- Yeah.

- And a lot of
it's just I've been using it

since I was 10 year old, you know?

I didn't know that it was
hard to smoke a brisket.

- I've been
doing it all my life.

That's the only way I've known.

I told you to save some room.

- What?

- Oh my God, girl.

- Gauchos nachos.

- Modesty, Kelsey.

- Hi.
- Hi, nice to meet you.

- I'm just staring
at these nachos.

- How can you not?

Look at that. That is a work of art.

- Oh my gosh.

- This is her thing right here.

- The smells.

- This is my favorite.

It's not on the menu, but I
make it every time I come here.

If you ask for it,
they'll make it for you.

- And what about this right here?

'Cause I'm about to dip in.

- So we have
some homemade beef chorizo

that we put in our queso here

that we make in-house everyday.

- Kinda just mix this up there.

- Wow, this is amazing.

I didn't think that you could top this,

but you might have done it.

- So you'll be able to find
that there certain things

that aren't on the menu that you can get

'cause we have the ingredients to do it.

And we might run stuff as specials,

but then people come
in and as for a little

- Little customized meal.
- Yeah.

- That's incredible.

- Word gets around.

- Seriously you think a place

that has great queso is gonna not?

Then you come in with
your great tortillas,

and killer brisket, and that's
the lethal combo right there.

- You guys are awesome.

This has been amazing.

Thank you so much for showing us your

awesome taco and then
secret menu item nachos.

- No problem.

- Well I appreciate you
guys comin' out, thank you.

- We headed into town
to check out South Congress.

This shopping district
has grown in popularity

with tourists, but it
still has some of the best

local boutiques and restaurants.

- I love the smell.
- Wow.

We're like screaming.

- Tip-toe, square-toe.

Here.

- Oh, those are it.

- You feelin' it?

- Yeah.

- I feel like these are
obnoxious and amazing

at the same time and I want them.

Yes, this is you.

- Okay.

- I'm really feeling a
profile shot of mine.

- Options.
- Goin' in.

- Oh that's fantastic.

- It's the charcoal, are you feelin' it?

- Yes!
- Mm-hmm.

- I feel like this.
- It's your color.

- is something I would wear.

- Oh, that is so perfect.

- Yes?

- Nailed it!

- Okay.

- I know.

- Yeah, that's amazing.

Thank you!

- Oh, yeah.

- What do you think?

- Perfect.

- Thank you.

- Thank you.

- Now give me a turn.

- Okay.

- No.

Yes.

Well, mm-hmm?

- Oh yeah.
- Mm-hmm.

- Nailed it.

I think we're a little bit
more appropriate-looking now.

- Totally, it looks so good on you.

- Thanks.
- Perfect choice.

Alright, so you ready to
go see some live music?

- I'm ready.

- Alright.

- Thank you so much.

With the sun going down
and dinner approaching,

Jess decided to take me to
Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que.

Smack in the heart of downtown.

Unlike most barbecue joints
that close after lunch,

Cooper's serve up
delicious cuts till 10pm.

And better yet, the Llano Llounge

often features live music until midnight.

- After I saw you
guys, like is that Jordan?

- You're awesome, man.

♪ Now she don't think I'm funny. ♪

♪ She don't laugh at my jokes. ♪

♪ I could care less about all her shoes. ♪

♪ My parents both hate her. ♪

- Oh.

- Welcome to Cooper's.

- Hi! Kelsey, this is Terry the owner.

- Hi.
- Hi.

- Okay, here's the menu.

What do you think looks good?

I know, there's a lot there.

- What do you recommend?

- Well, Terry do you think maybe

we could get a sample platter?

- Yes, I can get you a sample.

We can get brisket, beef ribs, sirloin

- All of it.
- Prime rib.

- This sounds amazing.
- Yep.

- But, you gotta make sure you
get that special sauce there.

- Okay, we can do that.

Let me get started.

- Okay.

- Wow.

- Okay, here's your barbecue.

- Yes.

- There's prime rib.

- We gotta put your
fine china down, don't break it.

- So my favorite part about Cooper's is

they're actually one of the few places

you can get so many different
cuts of beef especially.

- Oh, wow.

- Mm-hmm.

- So Terry, can you tell
us a little bit more

about Cooper's and the history?

- Well, in 1962, Tommy Cooper
started in Llano, Texas.

Then I bought it in 1992.

- Ya'll cook West Texas style, right?

- We call it the cowboy.

- Oh yeah.

- Oh.

- It's on a bed of coals,
just the way the cowboys

did it on the range.

We get mesquite, burn it
down, and get a big shovel,

and scoop it and put the
coals right under the meat

just like you're grilling
a steak in the backyard.

- So many menu choices, like
do you still have a favorite?

- The beef ribs is probably my favorite

and brisket is right behind it.

- So this is the second.

- The beef ribs to me
have a different flavor

and a little more
flavorful than the brisket

and it maybe because of
the bone, I don't know.

But it's a real popular
item at all 4 locations.

- Well, we're gonna get started on this.

Thank you so much.

And, before I forget, I know that you guys

have let us try your secret sauce,

but are there any other secret menu items

that you can tell us about?

- You'll need to talk to Wade,
the bartender about that.

They don't even tell me what's in it.

- Okay, deal.

- Thank you.

- Thank you so much, Terry.

- Thank ya'll. Ya'll enjoy your meal.

- Thanks.
- Thank you.

Are you using a fork?

- I guess the way
to do it is without a fork.

- Yeah, get it.

- Cheers.

I'm having a moment
with this rib right now.

- Just leave us alone.

- Keep it close to your heart, girl.

- Right?

- Mm-hmm.

- That is great.

Oh it's just so moist.

- There's something
about the beef rib too.

They're so forgiving.

You can throw them on the pit.

You want them to be as tender
as you can possibly get 'em.

And they're built for barbecue.

- And the bark on all of their
barbecue is just so flavorful

but it's not overpowering
it's very simple.

- It's a Texas style.

We're known for, we
call it a Dalmatian rub.

So it's just salt and
pepper, hence the Dalmatian,

but it really lets the
beef sing, you know?

- Mm-hmm.

- It makes the meat the star.

- I love that philosophy,
just let the beef

speak for itself.

- Mm-hmm.

- But I can't stop thinking
about the secret menu item

that Terry mentioned.
- Mm-hmm.

I know. I might have saved some room.

Do you want to go check it out?

- Yeah, let's do it!

To the bar!

- Ay!

- Hello.

- Okay, so word on the street,

is that you have a secret menu item.

- We do.

- And what might that be?

- It's the pitmaster.

It's our version of a Bloody Mary.

- I'm in.

- I'm totally in, let's do it!

- Dos, por favor.

- Little bit of Tito's.

- Local vodka.

And what is that?

- That's our
Revolution Bloody Mary Mix.

- Cool.

I'm still waiting to see
what makes this so special

and secret, though.

- Well, what makes it
so special and secret

is our barbecue sauce.

- Barbecue
sauce in a Bloody Mary.

- Who'd a thunk it?

- It makes sense, right?

- It makes so much sense but I would have

never thought to put barbecue
sauce in a Bloody Mary.

- Jalapeno face.

- Okay.

- Oh, I see what he did there.

- That's what
I'm all about, the olives.

- Feel like it's nearly a meal in itself.

- It really is.

- It's like a drink salad.

Here you are.

- Okay, I do not usually
drink these after 11am,

but I am on board.

- Oh yeah.

- Okay, cheers.
- Cheers.

_ Ya.

- That is amazing.

- Well I know you guys
just ate, but Pitmaster

pairs well with our beef rib.

- I feel like you are
reading my mind right now.

- I have an idea.

- Mm-hmm.

- You ready?

- Do it. Go for it.

- Okay, I'm goin' in.

- Dippin'?

- Mm-hmm.

Oh my God.

- Try it?
- Do.

- Alright, you don't have to ask me twice.

Because there's nothing more

that I like than a side of beef.

- With a little but of alcohol.

- Little bit of alcohol.

- This is delicious.

- This is amazing.
- Mm-hmm.

- Okay. I have to know.

Why do you call it the Pitmaster?

- It's the Pitmaster because the Pitmaster

is the first person here
and the last one to leave.

Now the Bloody Mary any time of day.

- I like your logic, Wade.

Thank you so much for hookin' us up.

- Thank you.

- With this secret menu item.

We're gonna enjoy these
and I'm gonna inhale this.

- Awesome, enjoy.

- I know, it so works, honestly,

the nuggety-ness of the beef rib.

- Yes.

- And then the smokey-ness
of the barbecue sauce.

- This is the perfect pairing.

- Mm-hmm.

- And seriously, this Bloody
Mary, any time of day.

- That's what I'm sayin'.

- Oh.

Okay, I hear something goin' on.

- Oh, you wanna go see the band?

- I'm down.

- Let's go, whoo!

- Oh, hold on, wait.

♪ Let's stop letting go. ♪

♪ I'll be the one, I'll be the one. ♪

♪ When all is said and done. ♪

♪ I'll be the one, I'll be the one. ♪

♪ Let's stop letting go. ♪

♪ I'll be the one, I'll be the one. ♪

♪ When all is said and done. ♪

♪ I'll be the one. ♪

- We've tasted some of the best
barbecue Austin has to offer

and found some awesome secret
menu items along the way.

With experimented with
the new-school barbecue

of LeRoy and Lewis.

We found some tex-mex
flare at Valentina's.

And reveled in some
late-night eats and live music

here at Cooper's.

♪ I'll be the one. ♪

♪ I'll be the one. ♪

- Thank you.

- So this has been so much fun.

Thank you so much for
coming along with me.

- Of course!

You don't need to twist my
arm to come eat food with you.

But where is BBQuest taking you next?

- With the diversity
that exists in this city,

you're gonna try a whole
bunch of different things.

- I have a confession.

I've never had Korean barbecue before.

- We've got this
off-the-menu thing right here.

♪ Wheel driving, when's
this break gon' come? ♪

♪ Ya buy my pigs ♪

- What the heck is a
kitchen sink sandwich?

- It's legitimately
everything but the sink.

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