So much bad barbecue is in the world that, occasionally, Daniel Vaughn has to replenish his barbecue soul. That’s when he finds a friend and drives to Central Texas, the heartbeat of Texas barbecue.

One recent Saturday, he and a coworker drove 600 miles and stopped at 10 barbecue joints, tasting a couple of brisket slices and ribs at each. Vaughn reviews and provides addresses and operating hours for hundreds of barbecue joints on his website, Since 2005, the blog has gained respect among foodies.

He calls himself a barbecue snob, a prophet of smoked meat. And he can tell the difference between meat smoked with wood or gas. His goal is to taste and rate every barbecue place in the Dallas area — roughly 160 — and as many as possible throughout the state. The thrill of the hunt inspires him.

“It’s fun to be first, especially if it’s really good,” he says. “There’s nothing better than that good find.”

Meshack’s Bar-B-Que in Garland is one of his famous finds. And he was the first to review Pecan Lodge at the Dallas Farmers Market, which he says has the best brisket in Dallas.

Vaughn is an architect by trade, and he’s honed his writing skills reading books such as “Will Write for Food”. But he’s a natural at reporting. To find the newest barbecue places, he searches certificates of occupancy that businesses have to file with the city before they can open.

And he’s willing to go way out of his way to taste barbecue. “My dream trip is to start in Dalhart and drive to Brownsville,” he says. “It’s like 900 miles.”

Read Vaugn’s reviews at

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