Steve Freidkin of TEXAZ Grill On Great Texas Restaurants, the Terlingua Chili Cook-Off and His Last Meal On Earth
This is part two of my interview with Steve Freidkin, owner and operator of TEXAZ Grill. If you missed part one, where Freidkin dished about chicken fried steak, his favorite local deli and two local chefs he admires, read it here.
Buchanan Freidkin with his beloved Tito's
What's your guilty pleasure?: Jack in the Box tacos (please don't tell anyone).
What is it about the restaurant business that has kept you at it for so long?: I was raised in it (10 yrs old in a family-owned deli), and I seem to have a knack for it. It's a new challenge every day to make people happy, on many different levels.
Three of your favorite places to eat in Texas and why:
Buchanan Steak and spuds at TEXAZ
Southside Market in Elgin: the best hot guts in the world.
Babe's Fried Chicken in Dallas: great fried chicken.
Los Barrios in San Antonio: wonderful Tex-Mex.
How did you get involved with the Terlingua Chili Cook-off?:
One of the founders, Sam Lewis, was passing through Phoenix shortly after we opened TEXAZ. He stopped in because we had a Texas flag hanging out front. Sam and I became close friends and he invited me to judge the cook-off in 1986, and I've been going ever since.
What do you love about this event?: The camaraderie is wonderful. I've developed lifelong friends that I see once a year. Chili is just a good excuse for a good time with friends. I bought property there about 10 years ago, and I'm in the process of finishing up "Rancho Freidy".
What makes a great bowl of red?: Subtle seasoning, which is not what most people think. Good aroma, texture, and front & back burns in your mouth. It shouldn't blow your head off with heat. I prefer chili grind.
Tell us something about Texas BBQ: After attending BBQ Summer camp at A&M and the Foodways Texas BBQ Symposium in Austin, it's apparent that everything that is smoked is good. There are many different styles, ingredients, traditions, etc. I grew up in Dallas so Northeast Texas BBQ is my preference. There's nothing better than a well-smoked brisket.
Your jukebox at TEXAZ is full of Texas singers and bands. Who are your favorites?: Stevie Ray Vaughn because he's one of the finest guitar slingers to ever live, and Gary P. Nunn because he captures the essence of Texas.