Thanksgiving is turkey. Christmas is ham. Independence Day is barbecue (especially ribs), sweet tea and a celebration of the American dream.
“July 4th is our biggest catering day of the year,” says Chris Andrews, co-owner of Holy Smokes. “Basically, we just get in here and try to keep up.”
Andrews and Wright Monning, owners of neighborhood restaurant Holy Smokes, are two good ol’ boys who have known each other for a good, long while. They’ve been barbecuing together since they were kids and would sell it out of their parents’ backyards to friends and family. Like any true passion, the men are slaves to it.
While in college, they frequented barbecue contests and gatherings throughout the South, learning at the feet of masters who would let them. Eventually, they started selling the products of those lessons out of their trunks at area marinas.
“Those people didn’t have to be polite with us,” says Monning of their first real clientele. “They were not afraid to complain, and we wanted that.”
“That’s when we first started putting the pieces together that we might could actually do this,” Andrews says.
“We had to modify our tastes a bit for the public,” Monning says, “because we like it real hot, but it’s the difference between backyard barbecuing and commercial barbecuing.”
The duo’s down-home menu is culled from smokehouses they’ve visited and includes a pulled pork sandwich, cold-smoked brisket, fried green tomatoes, a true, heaping Frito pie and homemade onion rings.
“Seeing people enjoy something that you do is the satisfaction,” Andrews says.
Select a 120-cut choice brisket (a piece of brisket that has had the deckle, the outermost layer of fat, removed). Season with coarse ground sea salt and black pepper. Place fat side up and smoke with hickory wood at 200 degrees for 12 hours. Trim and serve.
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