Daniel Vaughn will not be Texas Monthly's most poetic writer ever, but he's the most courageous.
I can't imagine ranking 600 barbecue restaurants, some serving meat of dubious origin.
But unlike the other self-styled Texas barbecue experts, Vaughn isn't stuck on Austin barbecue. Sure, he loves Franklin just like everybody else, but he also waxes poetic about Pecan Lodge in Dallas or Off the Bone BBQ in Forest Hill.
He told me in 2010 that he was out to prove the experts wrong, that DFW must have barbecue as good as that found in Central Texas. We don't, but he has maximized every opportunity for research, often exceeding the recommended daily allowance of three meals per day.
He likes the well-known places like Angelo's in Fort Worth and Lockhart Smokehouse in Dallas, but he also praises struggling small shops like Fort Worth's Smokey's. And he can stand toe-to-toe with any native and argue the relative merits of Angelo's versus Cousin's or Hard Eight.
If it sounds like I want his job, I don't.
I'm just thrilled there's somebody out there who makes me look vegan.