Barbecue is an American tradition that reveals as much about those who make as it does about the location where it is made. These twelve photos will introduce you to some of the places we’ve been and people we’ve met so far.

Our visit to Schoepf’s was, more than anything else, an aberration. We didn’t explore Belton at all, we sat and took our time and didn’t even try their brisket. None of that, however, means that we didn’t like what Schoepf’s had to offer.

Zimmerhanzel’s occupies an orange, corrugated steel shack in Smithville, a town that attempts to distinguish itself by publicizing its appearance in a Sandra Bullock movie. But all anyone from Smithville should really need to mention is Z’s, and that would be bragging enough.

The Texas BBQ landscape changes more often than you might think. Franklin Barbecue, which is really just two trailers and some chairs in a former gas station parking lot, didn’t even exist two years ago.