Whitfield’s, a new barbecue trailer from Austin chef Josh Watkins, former football player Kasey Studdard, and former Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ cook Scott Fogel, is now open in South Austin. The trailer is located at 9001 Brodie Lane.
Watkins had wanted to open a barbecue spot in Austin for some time. He took over Chavez from Shawn Cirkiel (which was part of then-Radisson Hotel, now Line ATX Hotel) in February 2015 and was going to turn the Southwestern-influenced restaurant into a restaurant with a “modern barbecue” section. That didn’t happen and he left the restaurant a month later. Before that, he was the executive chef of The Carillon at the AT&T Hotel & Conference Center, and worked under David Bull during his Driskill Hotel days, taking over for a year after Bull left.
While Whitfield’s menu is still evolving, it focuses on typical barbecue offerings like brisket, ribs, sausage, and pulled pork with a black garlic or white barbecue sauce. Watkins noted that sauce is served on the side, because “we will always stay true to the ‘no sauce on meat’ Texas-style,” as he told Eater. There will also be more elaborate dishes like smoked beef cheek croquettes, smoked duck confit and breast, and smoked shrimp ceviche.
Meat accompaniments focus on “lighter, brighter, more acidic things,” according to Watkins, “such as pickled items to balance the natural fattiness of barbecue.” This means a slew of pickled items like strawberries with basil, fennel-citrus slaw, red onions, and garlic-dill pickles.
Eventually, the goal is to turn the barbecue truck into a brick-and-mortar. “We really want to become a neighborhood destination” in South Austin, Watkins told Eater.
One of Whitfield’s partners, Studdard, is best known as a member of University of Texas at Austin’s football team when the Longhorns won the BCS National Championship Game in 2006. After playing in the NFL for the Texans, he ran a crawfish truck in Texas and still hosts a radio show called The Big Ugly Outdoors.
Watkins met Fogel, who also worked at Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew, at a fishing tournament, who connected him to Studdard. The truck is named after Studdard’s son.
The Whitfield’s trailer is open Thursday and Friday from 4 p.m. until sold out and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. until sold out.
- Whitfield’s [Facebook]