BBQuest (2018–…): Season 1, Episode 2 - Houston - full transcript

Barbecue enthusiast and native Texan Kelsey Pribilski on a quest to find secret menu items local flavors in Houston with the help of James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Shepherd.

- I'm Kelsey Pribilski,
a barbecue enthusiast

and native Texan.

I'm criss-crossing the state in search of

local flavors and secret menu items.

With the help of some renowned chefs

and prominent pit masters,
there's no telling

what we might find.

I'm here in Houston, the
largest city in Texas.

This urban sprawl is
home to historic sites,

exceptional art, and some of the most

innovative technology in the world.



With a population of more
than two million people,

Houston is known for its
vibrant cultural diversity.

I'm here with James Beard Award

winning chef, Chris Shepherd.

Chris is a culinary powerhouse,

innovative in both the kitchen
and the local community.

- Little know fact, I'm
not actually from here.

- Oh, really?

- Yeah, I grew up in the Midwest

and I've been down here
for about 20 years, so.

- Nice, well, I'm looking
for that local insight

to the Houston barbecue scene.

- Well, I think with the diversity
that exists in this city,

you'll see some different flavors



and techniques that you
haven't seen before.

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

- Cool, sounds like
we're on the same page,

but as long as we can find some

secret menu items along the way.

- Bet you we can make that work.

- Cool, alright let's go.

- Let's do it.

- For our first stop, Chris
took me to Gatlin's BBQ.

This spot is a true family establishment.

They serve up Southern
inspired smoked meats

with all of the delicious
homemade sides to go with it.

- Good morning, guys.
- Hi, Mary.

- How are you this morning?

- How are you?

- Welcome into Gatlin's.

- What's going on?

- Hello Darlin'.
- How are you?

- How are you?

- Good to see you.
- Good to see you.

- Mary, I want to intro-

Mary, I want to introduce you to Kelsey.

- Hi, my Kelsey, now I
need to give you loves.

Oh, yes, yes, baby.
- I feel the love already.

- Okay.

- So I'm taking Kelsey around town.

- Okay.

- Uh, showin' her some
of my favorite spots.

- That's super.

- And we needed to swing by here.

- Okay.

- If we could try out some
of your best beef cuts.

- Okay.

- I need a kitchen sink and then,

I know you're son, Greg,
who is the pit master here,

he's always doing things in the back, and

coming up with new ideas,
if he's got something like

that, that he's working on.

- Oh, he would love to do that for you

and I'll make sure, personally,
he'll bring it to you.

- Good, I'd love to see him.

See ya in a minute.
- Thank you.

- Thank you.

- So, this place seems pretty new.

- This is actually the second location.

Their first location was so tiny.

As they, as they grew,
they knew that they needed

to actually grow the space as well.

And it's really cause,

they really revitalized
barbecue in this city.

- That's gotta be so
nice, just to see people

that you love and respect so much

grow their business
- Yeah.

- And just be rewarded
for their efforts, and

- Well, it's a lot of hard work,

and they're always trying new things.

Just like this kitchen sink sandwich

that you're gonna eat.
- Yeah, okay.

Yes, I meant to ask you
when you ordered it,

what the heck is a kitchen sink sandwich?

- It's legitimately
everything but the sink.

Um, so it's brisket,
sausage, grilled onions,

jalapenos, cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce.

- All in one sandwich.

- It's pretty ridiculous.

- How do they
fit it on a sandwich?

- I, you know, they do it.

- I'm in it.

- You're in it.

We got this.

It's gonna be fantastic
- Yeah.

- Right on, here comes Greg.

Look at this.

- Oh, cool.

- Alright.

- Greg, how's it goin'?

- What's goin' on guy?

- Greg, Kelsey, Kelsey,

- Hi,
- Absolute pleasure.

- So nice meeting you.

- What you got today?

- The kitchen sink
- Oh, what?

- Old school 19th street, kitchen sink.

- This is it.

- It's just as tall as
I imagined it would be

with all the ingredients.

- That looks fantastic.
- Great.

- I'm gonna touch you

with another old school
classic right here.

Got our moist cut brisket.
- My heart.

- Nice and easy
let the smoke do the work.

- That's just salt and pepper.
- Love it.

- So beautiful.

- Then we got a couple sides here.

- Mama's sides.

- Yes, sir.

- Yep.

- So what's this?

- Last, we got
this off the menu thing

right here, so wanted
something that reminded me

of my childhood, so mom always used

to have the great pot roast,
so we actually took it,

smoked it, braised it down,
put it on Texas toast,

little Swiss cheese, onions,
drizzle it with a lil' gravy.

- Man, this is amazing.

- Yeah, well pull up a chair.

Look, let's chat.

So, the wonderful Mary is your mom.

- Absolutely.

- I wanna ask the question that I think is

on everyone's minds, what is it like

working with your parents?

- Wow, so.

- we Should probably Start eating

about this time
- Should we start eating?

- Yeah, y'all go ahead, dig in.

- Okay.

- It's been one of the best
experiences of my life.

You know, my parents
they've always been there,

but in this capacity, it's
just been totally different.

They're, they're very inspirational

to me, I think to everybody
else that's worked for us.

- Really commend you guys
for really sticking together.

And, I mean, making this
thing so successful.

Because, from what he tells me,

you guys used to be out of
a really small location.

- It was a scary thing and
it was a very daunting task

to go from that to where we are now,

but I think that's one of the things

that's made us successful here

because we said, hey,
the location may change,

but the heart, and the
heartbeat and the soul

of the restaurant doesn't change.

You don't feel like just
giving your mom a hug,

or, you know, rollin' up in blanket,

or, you know, just kinda kickin' back

in a hammock after you eat
that, you're not livin'.

- Oh my gosh.

- This plate right here
- Yep.

- Is quintessential Texas barbecue

- Absolutely.

- At it's best.

- Hands down.

- Salt, pepper, great beef

and then addition of smoke.

- There you go.

- I wanna know more about
your smoking process

because this is insane to be
able to pull this off everyday.

- So, it's kinda, it's really crazy

cause there's been an evolution,

so, I mean, you're just
kinda getting to know

what you, what you want.

You know the taste in your head,

and you know the taste on your tongue,

but it's just trying to get there

and having enough time to do it, I mean.

- How long do you smoke your brisket for?

- Anywhere in the range from 16, 16 to 18.

- 16 to 18 hours for your brisket?

Oh, man, that is dedication
and it is paying off.

- Alright guys, so I'm
gonna leave you all to it.

- Oh yeah.

- I gotta get back to work.

- I love your story, thank you.

- Thank you so much, we appreciate it.

Y'all enjoy
- Totally.

I mean I already am, I'm in It.

- Next, Chris took me to one
of the stranger attractions

Houston has to offer.

The Orange Show Monument
is a 3,000 square foot

art installation which
began to take shape in 1956.

The creator Jeff McKissack
spent over a decade

in isolation building the
monument completely by hand

in honor of his favorite fruit.

I will say I like the commitment.

- It's a dedication.

- It is a dedication,
the amount of tile work

and you can just see the
man hours in this thing.

- I mean, in every single
place that you can sit

or walk, there's something unique.

- Yeah.

- And so, the thought process
behind this is pretty amazing.

- Mmhmm.

What?

What does this have to do with an orange?

- I wish I knew art a little better.

But, you know.

- What is your most orange-centric dish?

- Orange peel beef.

- I've never heard that before.

- Orange peel beef?

- Yeah.

- What are you talking about, really?

- Yeah.

- You take the satsuma skins and dry 'em.

Then use it for Orange, it's really good.

- That sounds delightful.

We left the Monument and walked
next door to Smither Park.

This park was inspired by McKissack's work

and focuses on community
art installations.

Every weekend local mosaic artists work

on bringing new pieces to life.

There's so much detail,

I don't think I could ever get bored.

- I mean, honestly, you could
sit and spend hours and hours.

- Yeah.

- Just looking at everything.

- It's little, and there's little things

like this all over the city
that make Houston what it is.

- No, this is my date.

- Oh.

- I think it's going pretty well.

- Yeah?

- Yeah.

- You hungry?

- We decided on something
a little different

for our next stop and took full advantage

of Houston's diverse culinary scene.

Korea Garden is a woman-owned
Korean barbecue restaurant

that's been open since the early 80's.

Since every table is
equipped with a gas grill,

everyone can be their
own grill master here.

Okay, I have the confession.

- What's that?

- I have never
had Korean barbecue before.

- Really?

- Yes,
- Cool.

- I'm a little intimidated.

- You shouldn't be.

In essence like we're just
gonna grill some meat.

- Okay.

- We're gonna grill some beef.

- Okay.

- And that's the easiest
way to look at this, right?

There's lots of little side
dishes and what have you,

but at the end of it, we're
gonna take really delicious

marinated beef and grill it right here,

we're gonna put it in some lettuce.

It's what's know as a ssam.

- Oh, alright.

- Sean.
- Hey, Chris.

- What's up, man?
- How are you?

- Good to see you.
- How you been?

- Good to see you, this is Kelsey.

- Kelsey, nice to meet you.
- Nice to meet you.

- So Sean and his family own this place.

This is first time.

- Okay, I'll make sure.

- So, we are gonna do
some of the classics.

Bulgabi, beef tongue, just
to mix it up a little.

- Yeah.
- Beef tongue.

- And then jap chae.

- Alright, absolutely, and I'll be back

with your order, okay.

- Alright, Sean.

- Thank you.
- You're welcome.

- Alright, here we go guys.

- Whoa.

- Looks perfect.

- Woooooh.

- Look at this.

- Now that's what
I've been waiting for.

- I know, right?

- There we go.
- Look at this.

There's the big time.

- It's gorgeous, right?

- Potatoes, spinach.

- Perfect.

- And last, but
not least, the jap chae.

- Very nice.
- Oooh.

- here we go, you guys enjoy, okay?

- Thanks, Sean.

- Thank you
- Yeah, of course.

- I'm gonna let you handle this

and kind of show me the ropes.

- Oh no, we gotta do
this together, remember?

I'm kidding.

So this is just beautiful

the marbling in there.

It's one if those things too,

we're just gonna cook this really quickly.

It's thin, it's tough,
but if we cook it fast,

it's not tough at that point.

You'll see, you're just
gettin' nice little seer.

So, culturally, this is barbecue.

This is Korean barbecue, it's
not Texas barbecue, as say,

where you're taking large pieces of meat,

putting them on a smoker,
cooking them for hours.

This is thinner slices of beef

that's quickly grilled over open flame.

- This looks incredible.

- Yep.

- I really want to come up with something

that kind of incorporates some
of the side dishes and such.

- Alright.

- So what are you making for me?

- I'm making the one perfect bite.

It's kind of my little
secret menu if you will.

- Okay.

- It's a beef tongue ssam.

- Walk me through it, what've we got?

- So a little of ssamjang on here.

- Okay.

- Let's do a little fish cake, alright?

Grilled beef tongue.
- Yes.

This is my personal secret menu.

Cheers.
- Cheers.

- It's been a pleasure.

Let's do this.

- Mmm.

- so good.

What do you think, I mean, this
is like au naturale, right?

- Yes.

- Nothing on it.

- I love it.

- And it's just the flavor of what it is.

- I think that's kind
of the main difference,

they play with flavors a little bit more.

- Texas barbecue, you're
looking at salt and pepper.

This is the addition of multiple
flavors, multiple textures.

- Yeah, it's almost like they kind

of encourage you to experiment.

- I can do this all day.

- Chris and I headed to
the oldest craft brewery

in Texas, Saint Arnold.

These guys handle every
part of the brewing process

right here, ensuring the freshest flavors

make their way into every glass.

- Hello, sir.

- What's up, man, how are you?

- Welcome, welcome.

- Hey.

- Lennie, this is Kelsey,

Kelsey, Lennie.
- Nice to meet you.

- Nice to meet you, welcome.

- Lennie is one of the, you know,

longtime beer gurus around here.

It's uh, been with the
brewery for a very longtime.

- Yeah, uh, since our old days.

Been friends with Chris since
his wee restaurant days.

- Yeah, just great people
making great beers,

doing great things, and really helping to,

you know, support our
community and the city.

They're instrumental in
helping us with Southern Smoke,

which is a foundation that
we started to benefit MS.

- We're as into building community,

as we are about brewing great beer,

and have always felt that
you're like a like-minded guy.

- If you try and do things on your own,

you'll get there, but if you can do it

as a community to help your community,

it's, it makes so much more of an impact.

And I mean great beer.
- How 'bout a tour though?

- Yeah.
- I would love a tour.

- go see the facility.

- Yeah.

- We went to Orange Show.

- Yeah.

- I see you have
Orange Show up here.

- We do.

- And this is really cool that
they'll do things like this

and then the money goes back
to helping the Orange Show.

- That's awesome.

- You can't take a tour
without a beverage in hand.

- No.

- So, I'll get you a couple Orange Show's

and the we'll go head out.

- That'd be fantastic, thank you.

- This is the magic?

- that's right.

- Right on.

- What?

- Wow.

- Yeah, so this is the
fermentation area, the tank farm.

This is where yeast eats sugar

and turn it into CO2 and alcohol.

- Wow.

- So, it becomes delicious beer.

- Alright, guys, the greatest thing ever,

fresh lawnmowers right
off the bottling line.

- Thank you.

- You're not gonna get it anywhere else.

- Oh man.

- Wow.

- Me too, you know, why not?

- That's awesome.

- Cheers

- Lennie, thank you so
much for giving us a tour

around this brewery, this is awesome.

- See ya tomorrow.

- Cheers.

Chris told me to meet him at Feges BBQ,

a new local favorite started
by a husband and wife duo.

This place focuses on
modern interpretations

of classic barbecue dishes,
but I think I'm lost.

- What's goin' on?

- Where are we?

I thought that I was lost for awhile.

- You're not lost, this is Greenway Plaza.

- Okay.

- So multi-storied office complex,

but this is where Feges is.

- It's in here.

- It is.

- Okay.
- Trust me on this one.

- Okay.

- It's kind of a hidden little spot.

Wanna try it?

- Let's check it out.

- Let's do this.

- Wassup?

- Hey.

- How are you?

Erin, Kelsey.

- Nice to meet you.
- Nice to meet you too.

- Thank you for letting us come
and explore, I'm so excited.

- We're happy to have you guys.

- Erin and her husband, Patrick,

opened up Feges barbecue a little bit ago.

- Yep.

- And our just really crushing it so,

wanted to make sure we came by here.

- Well, I've heard so many great things

about y'all's brisket and your beef ribs,

but I also got a quick
glance at your sides,

so if you could just like
work us down the line

that would be great.
- Yeah, let's do it.

- Cool.

- We're gonna be getting you guys

a slice of that brisket right there.

- Fantastic.

- I was hoping you would say that.

- Time for some sides.

- Yeah, what've we got?

- The Elote corn salad,
so this is kinda like

a Mexican street corn,
one of our top sellers.

I wanna get you guys kale salad.

- Oooh, yes.

- So this isn't your normal thing, right?

When you think Texas barbecue,

these are not the sides?

- Not at all.

- Now, is this because

of your fine dining background?

- I like to think so.

This is the kind of
food I would like to eat

So, I wanted to have it available.

- And there's, there's
one thing on the menu

that I really kind of focus on,

sweet potato banana mash.

- Yeah.

And I'm gonna get you guys some of our

cornbread.
- Cornbread.

- With whipped honey
butter, can't go wrong.

- My one thing with
every barbecue restaurant

that we're visiting, I want
something a little bit unique,

maybe off the menu.
- Yeah.

- Do you think Patrick might be willing

to kind of whip us something up?

- Think he's got a little
special off menu item

that he's gonna plate up for you.

- Nice, thank you so much
for showing us around.

We're gonna go take a seat and

wait for some beefs.

- See ya in a bit.

- I love how creative
she is with all of this.

- Yeah it's really fantastic.

- I love that she's incorporated

her past fine dining
experience into these sides.

It makes them very unique from every

other barbecue joint I've been to.

Oh, man.

- Like some cornbread?

- Yes, please.

- Oh, looky here.

- Hey guys.

- Mister Patrick, how are you sir?

- Whoa.

- A beef rib that I smoked
and then braised a little bit

in Bulgogi marinade and
then, I took the carrots

and the shallots and
confit 'em in beef fat

and then seared 'em off with
some rice and some Kimchi.

- That's, you're really embracing like

the diversity that exists in this city.

- Absolutely, absolutely.

It's uh, the Houston barbecue scene speaks

for the diversity of this
city, it really does.

- Everything about this town is so unique,

they're taking the barbecue and the rules

of like smoking, and they're,
you guys are turning it

into something new with the sides and,

oh my God, this is amazing

I don't even wanna talk right now.

I just wanna eat it.

You are the pit master here?

- Yes.

- Can you tell me a little bit more

about your smoking process,
and what goes into it?

- Sure, so I can't have like
a regular offset smoker,

Fire Marshall will not let that happen.

- Yeah.

- So, I use a J&R
Oyler which is, it's all wood,

but it's a rotisserie, the rotisserie kind

of helps keep everything nice
and moist and consistent.

- Well, you
can definitely taste it.

- So that's your
Central Texas style right there.

- This is really light though in a way.

You know what I mean, like
the texture of it's not heavy

and dense, the fat in it is gooey,

cooked through, and
moist, and it's perfect.

- How did you perfect your beef technique?

- Well, I've been cooking,
boy, as Chris knows,

I've been cookin' barbecue for six years.

- You worked with him at Underbelly.

- Yeah.

- Chris is the guy that
told me to quit talking

about doing barbecue and
actually do barbecue.

- Really.

- Yeah, it's like, yeah
I wanna sell barbecue,

like well then do it.

- You can see it was at
a place in his career

where it was like, it was time to do that.

- Yeah.

- You know, and he was the choice,

like you can continue to do this,

or you can go do what
makes you really happy.

- Yeah, and he kicked me out the nest.

- I love that.

- Yeah, really, really proud of you guys

for what you guys have
done and what you're doin'.

This is what I wanna eat.

- Yeah, me too, honestly.

Get brisket anywhere, you know,

but just something like this,
it's more difficult to find.

- I really appreciate you
whipping this up for us.

I am thrilled and I'm very impressed.

We've tasted some of the
best barbecue Houston has

to offer and discovered some
awesome secret menu items

along the way.

We tried an open faced pot roast sandwich

with Swiss cheese and onions at Gatlin's,

Chris made us a beef tongue
ssam at Korea Garden,

and we found a Bulgogi
glazed beef rib at Feges,

but that's not it, Chris still has

one more surprise in store for us.

- So, I wanna make a toast because, today,

with the help of everybody
around this table,

we were able to reach our scratch goal

for our sponsorships for Southern Smoke,

so a hundred and thirty thousand dollars.

- That's awesome.

- So, let's talk about Southern Smoke.

- I would love to hear

about Southern Smoke.
- Cause it's one of the things

like everybody at this table
is a huge part of this.

It's a foundation that we brought together

to take care of our city and
to take care of our home.

One of my good friends
was diagnosed with MS,

and so, he asked if we would,

if we could hold a dinner for him

and raise some money for the MS Society.

And, we all had the idea of like,

we're not gonna do a dinner,
we're gonna throw a party.

And, it's our goal every year to raise

as much as we possibly
can for the society.

But, it's all for the strong belief

that we can do better
than just for ourselves.

And, if we can help take
care of our community,

then it gets paid back tenfold.

- I just wanna make a
toast, just being here,

and having Chris take me around,

I really see the love and the passion

and it's just so familial
and it's so refreshing

and he does lot of good
and I really appreciate

how you give back to the community

and you are just, you are such a good dude

and I am so happy to be here

and thank you so much, cheers.

- Thank you.

- Cheers.

- Well, let's eat.

- Let's eat.

- San Antonio is rooted
in Mexican tradition

and you're gonna see that,
you're gonna taste that.

Look at that gorgeous brisket,

you know there's a lot of
love that went into this.

- Absolutely.

- How many women pit masters do you know?

- If you'd like to come to the back,

we can actually put it
together right in front of you.

- Are you inviting me into the kitchen?

- Yeah.

- Oh my gosh.
- Absolutely.

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