Change can be hard, but sometimes it's for the best. Over the past few decades, you may have noticed or even been to the Baker's Ribs location at 2223 South Voss between San Felipe and Westheimer. However, if you've gone by in the past few months, you may have also noticed the sign has changed to Roegels Barbecue Co.
Russell and Misty Roegels worked at Baker's Ribs for years, starting out as employees before buying that franchise location. Russell is the pit master, while Misty makes sure the front-of-house operations run smoothly. The name change marks not only the Roegelses leaving the franchise, but a change in how Russell approaches barbecue. He joins the group of Houston pit masters who have stepped up their game to produce smoked meats that are every bit as good as those found in lauded Central Texas.
In Part One of this Chef Chat, we'll hear how Russell got his start in cooking in Longview and how, he, Misty and their 13-month-old baby ended up in Houston at a time that wasn't exactly ideal. They'll also tell us about one particularly famous visitor who came by during their days as Baker's Ribs.
Come back tomorrow for Part 2, where we'll talk about how Russell has changed and improved the barbecue, other pit masters he admires and some of the challenges of making longtime customers happy with the changes.
EOW: How did you become interested in cooking?
RR: I've always cooked from the time I was a kid. Not anything fancy, but it was me, my mom and my brother. My mom worked nights and she slept during the day, so we cooked.
As far as cooking barbecue, when I was 15 there was a guy down the road that had a barbecue place called Bodacious up in Longview. I was friends with his babysitter, and he did catering there. So I started doing catering jobs with him. I was 15 years old and not into cooking, but I went there and I poured tea on these catering jobs. When we got back, I got to clean them up. More »