Meat John Lewis, a master of barbecue and founder of Lewis Barbecue in Charleston, SC. John never cuts corners, unless you’re talking about burnt ends of course. The pitmaster’s cult-like following can be attributed to his unerring dedication to barbecue – from welding his own custom-designed smokers to waking up at 4 a.m. to tend to the fire, he takes his meat seriously. Barbecue enthusiasts have flocked to his pits for years, waiting in long lines to get a taste of his expertly smoked pork spareribs, beef ribs, “Texas hot guts” sausage, oxtail, and his legendary beef brisket.
Growing up in El Paso, TX, John moved to Austin at 18 to start his culinary career. Around this time, John’s parents gave him a New Braunfels smoker for his birthday, and he started dabbling in Austin’s longstanding tradition of the backyard barbecue. He was soon getting creative with both his smokers and his meats, taking liberties with the design and construction to try and yield a better result. After a stint in Denver honing his craft in the competition barbecue circuit, John returned to Austin to help his friend Aaron Franklin as he opened Franklin Barbecue and then partnered with LeAnn Mueller to open the much-beloved La Barbecue.
In March 2015, John packed up his smokers and moved to the Holy City to introduce the Lowcountry to the great world of Texas barbecue. He and his barbecrew opened Lewis Barbecue in June 2016 and since then, his eponymous spot has been hailed as one of the best in the country by the likes of Southern Living, Conde Nast Traveler, Garden & Gun, and more for its legendary brisket, honky tonk music, and laid-back vibes. If you can’t make it to the brick-and-mortar, you’re still in luck! John ships all his smoked meats across the states via our online shop here.
John is opening his second concept in April 2022, Rancho Lewis. Inspired by his childhood growing up in the Southwest Texas-El Paso region, Rancho Lewis reflects the spirit of West Texas, a place rich in multicultural traditions. Lewis Barbecue will soon have a sister property in Greenville, SC, too.