Since Anthony Bourdain’s tragic death last week, there have been multiple stories told about how the industry icon helped to shape the industry as a whole.
But his food-focused adventures had an impact regionally, as well.
One of the culinary scenes that took off after one of his visits was Texas.
There has always been a rivalry between Kansas City and Texas over which area has the best barbecue. After Bourdain visited Kansas City, he said the barbecue was the best he ever had.
So when he made his way to Texas to the renowned Franklin Barbecue, Barbecue Editor for “Texas Monthly” Daniel Vaughn made it his mission to change his mind and convinced him that Texas barbecue was the best in the country.
“We ate everything on the menu. So: brisket, ribs, turkey, pulled pork, and sausage, along with beans, slaw, and potato salad. I just let Aaron Franklin’s barbecue do the talking, and I described to Tony why I loved it,” writes Vaughn. “It was 2012. This is back when Franklin was still really new on the scene. Texas barbecue wasn’t nearly as dominant as it is now seen across the country. Bon Appétit had already written about Franklin, but that magazine is mainly for foodies. With the regular eating crowd, what Bon Appétit says isn’t as important as what Tony Bourdain says.”
Then they went to another BBQ place and another and another and Bourdain made it clear that he approved of Texas’ savory meats.
After Bourdain’s visit, the lines at Franklin Barbecue and the others continued to get longer and longer.
Texas barbecue didn’t remain popular in just Texas either, BBQ places then started to pop-up all over the country.
“He just gave Texas barbecue that legitimacy across the entire country. It’s not all because of him, of course, but he certainly helped contribute to it. That legitimacy from him has led to there being Texas barbecue in New York City, Seattle, Phoenix, everywhere really, much of it influenced by Franklin,” writes Vaughan.
Read more about Bourdain’s impact on the Texas BBQ scene at “Esquire."