It has long been observed that a meat-based diet is a poor way to get fat. If you are spending most of your time eating meat – succulent, salty, smoky meat – you won’t look like you spend most of your time eating sugary sauces, starchy sides, and desserts.
This sets the stage for a counter-intuituve observation about trim barbecue guys.
Popular images of barbecuers tend to focus on restaurants run by big-bellied guys, often with goatees wearing guyberra shirts. Invariably, loud blues music is playing in the background (either in their restaurant, or on their tricked out web-site). Examples include Pappy’s in St. Louis, Buzz and Ned’s in Richmond, or Famous Dave’s (national chain). These restaurants tend towards overly sauced and sweetened meat, a focus on sides, and heavy-handed merchandising.
But then what of truly excellent barbecuers like Andy Nelson, John “Johnny Boy” Katsouros, the guy who started Rosedale (Anthony Rieke in 1936), and even Kansas City’s current darling Joe Davidson (Oklahoma Joe) – not to mention such immortals as Edgar Schmidt in Lockhart (started Smitty’s and his kids started Kreuz’s – the two most famous Texas barbecue restaurants), and Wayne Monk of Lexington NC?
(Of course to bolster my argument I chose to ignore a bunch of pudgy guys who make great barbecue – Arthur Bryant, Henry Gates, Mr P, etc.)