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A master of Central Texas barbecue, John Lewis brings a new style of BBQ — and lots of adoring fans — to Charleston at Lewis Barbecue.
The pitmaster’s fame can be attributed is simply the result of his pure dedication to barbecue. Lewis welds his own custom-designed smokers. Regularly waking up at 4 a.m. to begin the day, he takes his meat seriously. BBQ fans around the world crowded around his pits for years. Fans wait patiently in long lines to taste of his expertly smoked meats. Lewis smokes pork spareribs, beef ribs, “Texas hot guts” sausage, oxtail and his legendary beef brisket.
To begin, Lewis grew up in El Paso, TX. He moved to Austin at 18 to start his culinary work in pastry, believe it or not. Sometime later, Lewis’ parents gave him a smoker, and he began trying his hand in Austin’s longstanding tradition of the backyard BBQ.
During this time, a passion was born and Lewis became creative with both his smokers and his meats. He began taking liberties with the design and construction to find the best process and the best results. Moving to Denver, Lewis continued to sharpen his skills by joining the competition BBQ circuit. In 2010, Lewis returned to Austin to work with his friend Aaron Franklin who was working to open the now-famous Franklin Barbecue. During his collaboration with Franklin, Lewis developed the flavor profile that helped put Austin BBQ on the map.
In 2012, Lewis and LeAnn Mueller opened the much-beloved La Barbecue in Austin. Lewis quickly became the rising star of Austin’s BBQ scene. In a few short months, La Barbecue worked its way onto Texas Monthly’s “Top 50 List” and earned the distinction as the “Best BBQ in Austin” by the Austin American Statesman.
In March 2015, Lewis packed up his smokers and moved to Charleston to introduce the Holy City to the great world of Texas BBQ. He and his “barbecrew” opened Lewis Barbecue in June 2016.