The James Beard award-winning BBQ legends at Taylor, TX's Louie Mueller recently posted a Craigslist Missed Connection for a smoking-hot piece of meat. Just kidding. It was a job ad, to recruit a new BBQ pit apprentice to join their dynasty. Be warned: the work is totally (baby) back-breaking -- in fact, over the past three years, only one of six apprentices actually graduated. Whether you're interested in the gig, or just want to see how some of the best meat in the world is made, take a look at this photo exploration of a day in the life of the lowest rung on the Mueller totem pole. Whether or not you emerge inspired to take on new employment, you will emerge goddamn hungry.
Louie Mueller's BBQ Apprenticeship
This will be your new “nightlife"
It's 530a. You're late to work.
Wayne Mueller, third-generation pitmaster. Ready to bust your juicy hindquarters.
Tony graduated from Apprentice to Associate Pitmaster. His skills will Trump yours in every way.
Chris moved all the way from Colorado to hold up that brisket
You should probably quit now.
You'll chop up 20yr-old oak all day. If you're afraid of splinters, make like a tree.
The fire needs tending every 15min, so don't expect any smoke breaks.
This thing is largely ceremonial. You'll learn how to judge temp based on gut feeling, OR YOU WILL DIE.
You'll become a seasoned veteran.
No gutting, no glory.
Each one of these requires 15hrs of attention; you'll just be expected to chip in, until you know wtf you're doing.
This is really advanced stuff. Until you stop being polite and start getting real, you'll mostly be assisting and observing.
It's entirely possible that karate is involved in the making of Mueller sausage.
It's actually much harder than putting on a condom, but causes less sadness
Here, even choking the sausage requires you to prove yourself.
That is a broomstick, taking links off the fire. You can probably handle this your first week. Or maybe your second.
11a. You're already exhausted, but there's still more because…
...to get real wide. All those dots represent your customers' hometowns; Mueller's at 90 countries and counting.
Raising the flag means they're open for business, so get ready for…
Would you dare disappoint this nice old man?
You'll be slicing his meat…
...but not until after you ask him the all-important question.
The closest you'll get to being extra thin.
Not surprisingly, they don't include any actual fruit.
Means you've done your job well.
Maybe someone else will hire you? Do you have an engineering background?
Louie Mueller might rightly been the king of Texas barbecue. He was the grandfather of John of J. Mueller Meat Co. and LeAnn of La Barbecue, and was even once said to have been the inspiration for Aaron Franklin of Franklin BBQ, who was blown away by their brisket. With massive dinosaur-sized beef ribs, juicy smoke brisket, and fatty sausages, Louie Mueller Barbecue is a Texas legend that still has its fastball.