DALLAS -- There is no more-American holiday than the Fourth of July. No more-American way to celebrate it than barbecue. No state more associated with barbecue than Texas. No bigger expert on barbecue than Daniel Vaughan.
At least five times a week, you'll find the reigning expert on Texas BBQ, Daniel Vaughan, ordering up a plate-full.
He says he's critiqued half of the Lone Star State's 1,600 barbeque joints.
"Every small town in Texas has a barbecue joint," he says.
He has no plans of slowing down. He has logged 13,000 miles as "Texas Monthly's" BBQ editor.
As an architect from Ohio, he has declared himself an expert. "I just think it's my driving passion to learn everything I know about it."
He says the secret to great BBQ is the pitmaster. "Anybody can buy a rub off the shelf, right? But not anybody can tell you when a brisket is done or is about to get done."
The perfect brisket can take 16 hours or longer to cook.
He says the art of taste testing a slow bone barbeque in the heart of Dallas is to see how easily it falls apart.
He rarely cleans his plate, but admits all that fatty meat has taken a toll.
"My doctor, I went into see him. He was telling me I might want to consider taking care of my cholesterol in some way. And gave me a list of foods to stay away from. Number one was beef brisket and number two was pork ribs."
He has sampled BBQ in other states, but says Texas BBQ is a cut-above.
"To me there is no finer bite of barbecue than a great slice of fatty brisket," he says of Texas BBQ.
He says this is his dream job.
"You can drive around the state, eat barbecue everywhere, and write about it and we'll pay you for it, that's a dream job," adds Vaughn.