During the planning stages of the BBQ Tour, I was lucky enough to meet food journalist and fellow BBQ enthusiast Neil Davey. Neil had been to Texas before and gave me a few tips for places to go, one of them being The Granary 'Cue & Brew in San Antonio. The Granary is the successful brainchild of brothers Tim and Alex Rattray, who take responsibility for 'cue and brew respectively. Having read up on their restaurant and philosophy, The Granary easily made it into my itinerary as they make everything in-house from scratch, including their beers, which are plentiful and very good. It may seem obvious to pair great BBQ with great microbrew beers, but for me, there simply aren't enough places doing it...watch this space. Lunch times are a traditional but very well executed 'market style' BBQ affair, catering tourists and locals alike. In the evening Tim dares to buck the Texan norms and instead looks to showcase the flavour profiles from authentic BBQ with a much more contemporary, and creative menu. Like me, Tim's academic background is in science, and that really comes through in his approach to cooking, which I love. He doesn't do cheffy things because he can or because he spent ages practising them in previous jobs, he does stuff that is exciting and that might create a great new dish. Some people find it too adventurous, but I was very inspired by the range of dishes which all still have smoking and chargrilling at their heart.
Tim kindly allowed me to spend a few days at the restaurant to see how things are done and to ask as many questions as I could, whilst also helping out with some (basic) prep tasks. It was fun to be around a busy, but well-oiled kitchen dishing out food that I can relate to, whilst also be inspired by. Outside of the kitchen, it was great to talk BBQ, restaurants, London, science, and pickled onion Monster Munch with Tim. I'm pretty sure that with these subject matters all still open, we'll be staying in touch for the forseeable.
[Due to all this, site seeing was cut short in San Antonio but I can say they have some great coffee (Brown Coffee Co, 1800 Broadway) and, maybe unsurprisingly some great Mexican joints]