Smoke Rings


Smoke Rings is a series I wrote from 2017 to 2018. The column took a yearlong dive into central Arizona’s barbecue culture. Here are a few favorites stories from that run:


Silvana Dreams of bbq

I reported on an experimental barbecue session that bridged Mexican and American styles. A pioneering Mexican chef, Silvana Salcido Esparza, led the way. (A year later, I wrote part two!)


Brisket in an Orange Grove

What is barbecue? What is Arizona barbecue? Why is barbecue different from place to place? Where do the boundaries between cuisines stand?


High and Fast

“Lewis ate rib tips in his sharecropping days. Throwaway cuts like rib tips were tossed to poorer folks like him. Through barbecue, through the alchemy of smoke and fire, talented cooks made tough meats melt.”