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Pitmaster Evan LeRoy OUT at Freedmen's

He will open his own barbecue spot

Evan LeRoy
Evan LeRoy
Robert J. Lerma
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

Evan LeRoy, the founding pitmaster of Freedmen’s, the campus barbecue spot and whiskey bar, is leaving. He plans on opening his own restaurant, though details are vague at this point. He describes it as "barbecue but a lot more."

In the meantime, LeRoy is focusing on keeping his smoked meat skills sharp with barbecue pop-ups in Austin and beyond. The first one will happen out in Portland with Matt's BBQ on Sunday, October 2. LeRoy trained the West Coast pitmaster Matt Vicedomini.

Taking over the helm at Freedmen’s will be Christopher McGhee, according to Austin 360, who worked there for three years. Before that, he was "co-pitmaster" with John Lewis at La Barbecue in 2013.

Owner Cuatro Kowalski, who also operates beer and sports bar Tap 24, opened Freedmen's in the historic Civil War-era building in 2012. LeRoy joined Freedmen's after working in New York City barbecue restaurant Hill Country.

Freedman’s is considered one of Austin’s top barbecue spots, which happens to also offer table service.

Editor markup for The Essential Barbecue Spots in Austin. This is only visible in the story editor.


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