I fell in love with Slow Smoked Southern Barbecue quite unexpectedly on a road trip around the U.S. one summer. I’ll never forget the first time I tasted those smoky ribs, juicy chicken, and tender pulled pork. I was touring and working as a guest chef in a number of America’s most prominent restaurants, including Commander’s Palace with Emeril Lagasse, Paul Prudhomme’s K-Pauls, Wolfgang Puck’s Spago and Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse. Looking back, I realized that out of the hundreds of meals I ate on that trip, the most memorable was not in a temple of fine cuisine, but on a paper plate in a strip mall somewhere in East Texas. That’s when I had the epiphany that leads you to be reading about our barbecue at this very moment.