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Fronteras: ‘It goes beyond food’—Third-generation pitmaster continues family’s legacy through barbecue

Texas barbeque goes back centuries to when the Caddo Nation and other indigenous tribes roasted hunted game over open fire. It continued to evolve after Spain claimed the New World and brought livestock like goats and lambs.

From roasting cabeza (beef heads) in a pozo (hole in the ground), to Czech and German smoked meats, barbeque in Texas has kept evolving.

Different regions have their own spin, and the immigrant experiences have further diversified the cuisine.

Adrian Davila is a third-generation pitmaster in South Texas who specializes in Tex- Mex barbecue.

He’s owner and president of operations at Davila’s BBQ in Seguin, and recently launched the food truck Davila’s On Wheels at the BésameBar and Food Truck Park in San Antonio.

Adrian Davila is owner and president of operations at Davila's BBQ in Seguin.
Courtesy of Davila's BBQ
Adrian Davila is owner and president of operations at Davila's BBQ in Seguin.

Davila said barbecue serves as a uniting force between people.

“Whether it’s a wedding or a birthday … you’re always creating memories with food,” he said. “It’s a very human trait embedded in us to connect with people, connect with food, and that’s our identity.”

Davila is also co-author of Cowboy Barbecue: Fire & Smoke from the Original Texas Vaqueros.

He said he found inspiration to write the cookbook based on his family’s history.

“Barbecue is defined one way; we define it other ways,” he said. “It was there, my family’s story. It hadn't been told. It’s emotional because then you had a place at the table.”

Davila will introduce his style of Tex Mex barbecue to New York’s Greenwich Village at a pop up event Sept. 8 and 9.

It features takes on traditional foods like lengua (beef tongue), fideo, and mollejas (sweetbreads, or thymus glands).

Watch a CBS News profile on Davila below.

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1