Restaurants / Openings

Houston’s Hottest Pitmaster is Getting His Own Restaurant After Dramatic Throwdown Win

A New Barbecue Wonderland is Rising in Katy With Live Music and a Beer Garden

BY // 11.06.18

There’s a brand new pitmaster on the scene. He’s setting down roots, giving the Bayou City barbecue community a run for their smoked meat money — and is now set to go from a food truck to a permanent restaurant. Surprise Houston BBQ Throwdown double champion Daddy Duncan’s BBQ is opening up it first brick-and-mortar location in Katy.

For pitmaster Randy Duncan, the projected Spring 2019 opening cannot come fast enough.

“Right now, we’re catching about two-to-three hour lines at the food truck, and they buy everything,” Duncan laughs.

He’s laying down his new restaurant roots in a rural area of Katy. Randy Duncan is going for a casual vibe sprawled out across Daddy Duncan’s two acres, with an open barn-type structure, a stage for live music, a pond for little kids to fish and eventually a beer garden. The barbecue haven will be located near Katy Hockley Cutoff and Clay Road. It’s near the Four Seasons baseball park, and Duncan’s hoping to draw those crowds.

“People in the busy city of Katy can go out there and feel like they’re in the country,” he says.

Of course, Duncan memorably wowed the crowds at Houston BBQ Throwdown, snagging the Judge’s Top Award and the People’s Choice Award.

The two-time winner? The top item on the food truck menu: barbacoa. He served up the smoked beef cheek with a sweet potato mash, bacon corn chorizo and habanero caviar.

Duncan says they didn’t expect the win.

“That was pretty big for us. We were really surprised we got the Judge’s Award and People’s Choice Award. That’s the first time that’s ever been done,” Duncan tells PaperCity. 

“It was  all restaurants, all big names. It’s pretty cool. They all know us now.”

Duncan barbecues Central Texas-style. “I grew up watching my grandpa smoke barbecue. He had a restaurant back in the 1970s. I always grew up around barbecue, so I just took the style that he showed me over the years,” Duncan says. “It’s crispy barbecue. People really love it — salty, peppery.”

A Barbecue Wonderland

The new sprawling restaurant complex marks a big change from Daddy Duncan’s mobile beginnings, which only came back in March 2017. Their origin story starts with the muscle-bound fans of their many meats. Daddy Duncan’s got its start setting up tents outside the Katy Elks Lodge during DZW pro wrestling matches.

Back then, it was simple sandwiches stuffed with 14-hour smoked brisket, sausage, nachos and baked potatoes. Then it grew to a truck, with innovative sides such as Tuscan salata with cherry vinaigrette. Next came the catering menu.

“We may still have some of the items at the new location, but the menu is going to change quite a bit. We’re going to offer more meat. We use Ruffino Meats out of College Station. Prime brisket, boudin, turkey, ribs,” Duncan says.

He plans to run a beef ribs special once a week and a lot more traditional options you just can’t make in a food truck. “With brick-and-mortar, we’ll have more brisket stew, chicken and dumplings, pork belly mac n cheese. We’re also thinking about whole hog roasts,” Duncan says.

And Daddy Duncan’s will continue its ever-growing collaborations with local businesses. The Texas brisket pizza is popular at The Pizza Shoppe, Glaze Donuts next door invented the brisket kolache. Papa Gyros now makes a brisket gyro.

“They sold 300 in a little over a week,” Duncan notes proudly.

Tiger Noodle House has paired four different Daddy Duncan’s meats with its noodles, rice and veggies. Duncan’s got another fusion on his mind — maybe Japanese for a brisket ramen, or Vietnamese for a brisket pho. The salt-and-pepper permutations could be endless.

Randy Duncan is on a roll. Next stop: HOU-ATX BBQ Throwdown, pitting pitmasters from Austin against their Houston culinary counterparts.

May the best barbecue win. In a big way, it already is.

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