Over the past decade or more, barbecue restaurants have become a staple in Texas. These restaurants have become huge parts of their communities, and pit masters are near celebrity-like status.
Hutchins Barbecue in McKinney and Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor are two such restaurants in Texas, acting as anchors in their community.
John Mueller is a third-generation pit master who grew up around the BBQ business. The same can be said for Trey Hutchins, whose dad opened his first BBQ stand in 1978.
In a new collaboration, Mueller joined those at Hutchins Barbecue in North Texas. Both of them attended the recent BrewFest event.
Hutchins talked about the McKinney restaurant that was closed for eight months after a fire. After the recent reopening, the community has shown its support.
“It’s outstanding, and what the city has done, really everyone even making the drive over to Frisco [which has remained open],” Hutchins said. “It’s been amazing. We’re finishing up our second week of both stores being open, and it’s full throttle. The community has come back and supported us. It’s truly incredible.”
Mueller also talked to reporters about his decision to move his skills to North Texas.
“It was for a change for me,” he said. “I’ve been an owner for 30 years, and Hutchins has an impeccable reputation. So I gave them a call, they said yes, and I’m here.”
Mueller does not have a specific role at the restaurant yet. Hutchins said so far it has just been fun to work alongside a great pit master and they have both been able to learn from each other.
The two men spend nearly every day working together on the pits.
“We come from the same background. We grew up in it,” Hutchins said. “A lot of new guys, and kudos to them, but they’re coming from corporate America or different marketing backgrounds, and that’s what’s going on with this Texas barbecue revolution. So [John and I] have loved that over the last 10 or 12 years. It’s put money in our pockets, but at the same time, we can go back to when it was just a job. It was making a living.”
Hutchins and Mueller said there will be new menu items coming soon, including various sausages, Tomahawk pork chop and pork belly rub.
Hutchins also spoke about what would be next for the duo, given the pandemic and recent fire in McKinney.
“With the dynamics of working through the pandemic, we’d had a lot of big plans for this year and then the fire in McKinney hits,” he said. “Then a few months ago John reached out to us. So we had some big plans and navigated through them. And so we’re hoping to just sit back and hopefully get a little bit of normal. To both our restaurants.”
Mueller said that for now, he’s “loving it.”