How to identify authentic southern American BBQ

Chef Jules, owner and chef of TJ Billies BBQ in Northcliff is excited that the people of Jozi have taken to the concept of smoked food, even if it is on a small scale. But how do you know if grill or smokehouse is truly an authentic Southern American low and slow BBQ restaurant?


It’s easy, ask these questions Jules put together:

  1. Do they have a smoker on site?
  2. Do they have a Pitmaster or a Pit boss?
  3. Do they use said smoker every day?
  4. What’s more important, the wood/charcoal they use or the temperature they cook at?
  5. How do they know when their meat is ready?
  6. Do the words, butt, baby back and St Louis cut mean anything to them, no Googling!
  7. How do they cope with “The Stall”?
  8. How big is their wood stake?
  9. Does their restaurant smell like wood smoke most days?
  10. Does 90% of the menu have a smoked ingredient?

Jules lives in Roodepoort with her chef husband, Paul. They started TJ Billies BBQ in Northcliff after falling in love with Southern style BBQ when staying in New York. After two and a half years at the Hazel food market in Pretoria, they decided to take a leap and looked for a fixed space to start a restaurant and TJ Billies was born.

Jules is inspired by Tootsie Tomanetz (in the pic with Jules) who is 82 years old, still works a 30 hour week at Giddings High School, trimming trees and hauling garbage, but on Saturdays Tootsie ties on her apron and becomes the Pitmaster at one of Texas’s most beloved barbecue joint, Snow’s BBQ in Lexington Texas.
Website: www.tjbbq.co.za
Facebook: @tjbilliesbbq | Instagram: @tjbillies | Twitter @TJBillies
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