Pitmaster John Lewis’s Endless Pursuit for Perfect Barbecue

The South Carolina barbecue mastermind designs his own smokers, grinding stones, and more tools to get the ultimate flavor out of his meats


A Guide to the Best New Southern Barbecue Joints
Garden & Gun

John Lewis shook up the Lowcountry when he de-camped for Charleston in 2015, bringing a Texas pedigree with him... his brisket is everything you’d expect from a pit master steeped in Lone Star tradition. LINK

Five Barbecue Sauces That Will Test Your Regional Allegiances

"This tomato-based sauce works beautifully with his beef brisket... 'Very traditional, and just the right amount of sweet' was the consensus from our taste testers." LINK

How Do You Order Your BBQ Brisket?
Southern Living

Lean or Fatty? Customers in pork-centric South Carolina have been wowed by Lewis’s Texas-style beef ribs and brisket, but he says the “moist” vs. “lean” question still puzzles many. “I usually just say ‘more highly marbled’' LINK

John Lewis's Best Brisket Secret
Garden & Gun

The Texas-turned-South Carolina pit master on how to smoke meat like a pro. LINK

Never Drink Bourbon With BBQ, Says This South Carolina Pitmaster

“People assume bourbon is the best pairing with brisket, but it my opinion, it’s too much,” John Lewis says... Tequila, in specific, is refreshing and helps cleanse the palate. Plus, the last thing you want to do is take away from the star of the show: the meat itself.


The South's Top 50 Barbecue Joints
Southern Living

The acclaimed Texas brisket master John Lewis created plenty of buzz when he pulled up stakes and headed east to open a barbecue restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina LINK

Meet the BBQ-Loving Chef Who Also Makes Charleston’s Favorite Enchiladas
Coastal Living

Tex-Mex is more about fake cheese on everything. This is really El Paso–style food—it's what happens on the El Paso border, which combines Texan, Mexican, and New Mexican cuisine. LINK

How Charleston Has Become a World-class Culinary Capital
Travel + Leisure

Less than half a mile away, at Lewis Barbecue, you can sit in a gravel courtyard under the shade of a live oak and enjoy some of the best brisket in the country, Texas-style.

Charleston, South Carolina: Weekend Dining Guide
Garden & Gun

John Lewis smoked the best brisket in Texas. Now you can test those claims within a half-mile-square patch of Charleston LINK

Smoke and Mirrors
Tasting Table

Since starting to cook barbecue some 20 years ago, I've been obsessed with the process and controlling the perfect temperature and smoke. That's what makes a dedicated “pitmaster.” LINK

Charleston Is America’s Vital New Barbecue Destination

At Lewis Barbecue, I gaze down at my lunch of blackened brisket spread over grease-stained butcher paper, and my brain says: Austin. But the milky coastal sky, along with the humidity and the salt hanging in the air, remind me where I actually am: Charleston. Any sense of geography blurs as I rip into the clods of meat like a starved lion. LINK

In Charleston, Pitmaster John Lewis Dips His Toe Into Empire-Building

Juan Luis, a play on the chef’s name, isn’t strictly Tex-Mex, Lewis says. Rather, it serves the kind of ‘border food’ he grew up eating at Mexican restaurants in El Paso. LINK

The Dish: Charleston pitmaster John Lewis
CBS News

Barbecue has long been an obsession for pitmaster John Lewis… he developed the flavors that put Austin-style barbecue on the map. LINK

G&G Exclusive: Introducing Juan Luis: Texas barbecue pioneer John Lewis dishes on the menu for his soon-to-open Charleston restaurant
Garden & Gun

Tacos are such a big fad right now, but this is something different. It’s all rooted in the desert… It’s homestyle food, with plenty of lard. LINK

How John Lewis Brought Texas Barbecue to Charleston
Lucky Peach

Barbecue turns into an obsession because it’s never perfect. LINK

Eater Awards - Restaurant of the Year

No one made a bigger splash in 2016 than Lewis Barbecue. Pitmaster John Lewis woke up the the smoked meat scene with his Austin-style brisket and Tex Mex nights. Ever since he started popping up at breweries around Charleston, the town has been hooked. LINK

Up in Smoke: John Lewis shares his recipe for the perfect smoky turkey brine
Tasting Table

People don't immediately think turkey when they think of barbecue, but that didn’t stop John Lewis, chef and owner of Lewis Barbecue in Charleston, from adding it to his menu. LINK

Lewis Barbecue's brisket will make you moan
Charleston City Paper

All Hail the King, Indeed LINK

Texas pitmaster brings magnificent brisket to Charleston
Post & Courier

Straight talk: The brisket’s magnificent. The fun venue in which it’s served and excellent add-ons that go with it are just gravy. LINK

Today’s South Carolina barbecue is chef-inspired, upscale — and the future
Washington Post

With apologies to Bruce Springsteen, I’ve seen the future of barbecue, and it is Charleston, S.C. LINK

Smoke Show
Tasting Table

Barbecue fans are willing to put their differences aside for native Texan John Lewis’s new restaurant, Lewis Barbecue. LINK

Where’s the Beef: A Barbecue Rebuttal
Eater National

Full disclosure: I have a 30-foot-by-30-foot mural on my restaurant of a glorious Black Angus cow proclaiming "All Hail the King," so you can probably guess my pick for best barbecue meat. I am from Texas, after all. I love how beef can soak up its seasoning and how smoke can get into every nook and cranny. Biting into a crispy, salty piece of brisket bark might just be my favorite thing to do. LINK

John Lewis Is Bringing Texas BBQ To Charleston, South Carolina, For Good
Food Republic

But while Charleston can lay claim to the best Lowcountry cuisine, Southern charcuterie and more, one man thought it was missing something. That man is John Lewis. LINK

The Brisket Evangelist: John Lewis
Garden & Gun Magazine

You can track the evolution of John Lewis through his cooking equipment. First came a run-of-the-mill o set smoker from Home Depot. Then an electric smoker. Not good enough. He built his own out of steel trash cans in his back- yard, then one from a refrigerator. LINK

4 New Charleston Restaurants Shaking Up the City's Food Scene
John Lewis, the widely celebrated pitmaster originally from El Paso, Texas, combines his love of Tex-Mex food and his experience in the smokehouse to create a seriously delicious menu.
Charleston: At a Glance
Hit up Lewis Barbecue for unbelievably tender brisket turned out from custom-designed smokers
The Stories Behind Classic Southern BBQ Sauces
The vivid color of this unique version comes from its base of pureed green Hatch chiles, which add beguilingly floral, citrusy notes and subtle heat amid the tang of vinegar and mustard.
A Texas-Size Taste of Barbecue
Summon your inner caveperson with this rack of Texas-style smoked beef ribs from Lewis Barbecue.
Have You Been to Charleston Lately, Because There's So Much Going On
Some of the best Texas brisket you could ever hope to find on Carolina soil [is] at Lewis Barbecue.
Celebrated Pitmaster John Lewis On Why Brisket Rules, Saying No To Sauce, And What First-Timers Should Barbecue At Home
Lewis thoughtfully made his smoked meats, sauces, and other fun items available for fast, safe shipping right to your door.
Why Charleston Is the Best Food City in the South
Lewis serves up Texas-style beef brisket and hot guts sausage at his namesake restaurant in the city’s up-and-coming NoMo neighborhood
The ultimate al fresco barbecue
Leave the prep to the pros at these barbecue restaurants with prime picnic tables, patios, rooftops and yards.
Review: Lewis Barbecue
Charleston has become one of the best barbecue cities in the country and Lewis Barbecue in NoMo is a big reason why.
Charleston Dining 101
Lewis Barbecue (a venture from Texas import John Lewis, known for its world-class brisket).
These Guys Hit Up 6 Of The Best BBQ Joints In The U.S.
What's their secret? Two words: Beef barbeque. Oh, and they grill these babies on smokers they custom built themselves.
The Soul of Barbecue Is Being Reimagined in Charleston
It should be noted that Lewis’s barbecue is about as good as it gets, anywhere in the world.
The 38 Essential Charleston Restaurants, Summer 2017
Pitmaster John Lewis brought smoked to Charleston by way of Austin, and it's been a hit since day one.
The Best Texas-Style Barbecue In Charleston
Mad BBQ scientist John Lewis brings killer brisket to the lowcountry.
Old School, New School
Roger Mooking gets schooled by two pit masters changing the barbecue game in Charleston, S.C.
An Insider’s Travel Guide to Charleston
Texas ’cue is new to town, courtesy of top pit master John Lewis, an Austin transport.
A Perfect Day of Eating: 24 Hours in Charleston, South Carolina
... pitmaster John Lewis recently brought his Texas-style barbecue to town and hometown pride be damned — SC locals have been flocking here in droves…
Charleston City Paper Readers' Picks: Voted Best New Restaurant, Pitmaster, and Barbecue Views
Fee-fi-fo-fum, we smell the smoke of a Texas man.
How Texas Beef Ribs Became BBQ's Newest Star
[Ribs are] the ultimate indulgent beef barbecue. I don’t think foie gras is ever going to get old. This is like the beef version of it.
On the Side
This Thanksgiving, take a cue from five chefs’ flavorful sides...for your family’s feast

30 Under 30 - Rock Stars Redefining the Industry
[Powers] is an essential part of the operation at Lewis Barbecue, where he serves as chef and “air traffic control” for all moving parts.
The 25 Best Things to Do in Charleston, S.C.
It's worth the ten-minute drive from the downtown corridor to Lewis Barbecue, one of the city’s newest BBQ spots
14 Places to Eat Like a Local in Charleston
One of the most popular spots for a midday meal is also one of the newest, Lewis Barbecue.
Best New Restaurants in Charleston
His classic Texas-style BBQ is just damn good -- we’re getting hungry just thinking about the super-moist and perfectly baked brisket.
This Spicy Tequila and Watermelon Fresca Is the Essence of Summer
Beverage director RH Weaver shares the recipe for an easy summer hit, a spicy watermelon and tequila drink.
Lewis Barbecue adds Tex-Mex Tuesdays
Now pitmaster John Lewis will have a weekly opportunity to flex his Tex-Mex strength.
276 Ways to Rule Summer: The Food & Wine Grilling Guide
Just before taking the meat off the grill, stoke the coals with a hair dryer for a crisp sear. I have a bright-green "designated grill dryer" that I keep in my truck.
Behold the Crisp Interiors at Lewis Barbecue
Ever since pitmaster John Lewis came to town with his brand of Texas barbecue and knee-weakening brisket, people have hungered for his restaurant to open.
A Charleston Magazine Feature: 15 Minutes with John Lewis
He’s been called “the only skinny cook you can trust.” Fireside with John Lewis.
Ask a Chef: How to Make Better Labor Day Side Dishes
A variety of textures, flavors and ingredients means there’s something for every palate, and enough to balance a hearty serving of meat.”
Good Eats from Garden & Gun: Eat Like a Local in Texas
Lewis is getting ready to open Lewis Barbecue in Charleston, where he’ll be an ambassador for smoked beef in the heart of whole-hog country.