If you’ve ever spent more than a few days in Texas, you’ve more than likely ate some barbecue. If you were born in Texas, you more than likely grew up on barbecue. It’s a delicacy in the Lone Star State and several people possess the talent of smoking a brisket, grilling some tender chicken and making their own sausage but very few can call themselves a master of the craft. Junior Urias is one of those who has mastered the art of barbecue and tomorrow February 26th, 2022 his new restaurant in Early, TX called Up In Smoke will be open to the public for the first time.
“We can’t wait. We were supposed to open up back in June but with everything going it just pushed us back but we are finally ready and very excited.” said Junior Urias.
Up In Smoke was announced as a new business coming to Early at the beginning of 2021 and immediately the public showed great interest and excitement. Many people had already heard of Junior Urias and his famous barbecue since he appeared on the television show BBQ Pitmasters back in 2014.
“I was actually at a cookoff at the San Antonio Live Stock Show Rodeo and I got the call. I answered it and they said ‘Hey this is BBQ Pitmasters!’”
Junior was asked I the wanted to be on the TV show and he said yes. The only catch was that he needed to be in Florida by Sunday with a smoker. He got a flight that night, had his friend meet him with a smoker, won the show on Sunday and won the Texas Championship which titled him as a Pitmaster.
“It happened so fast. It was like a blur, it felt like I was floating in the clouds through the whole process. It was weeks after that where I was like, ‘wow, we were on BBQ Pitmasters and we won it!’” said Junior.
A few years after the show aired, Junior and his wife opened a business up in Midland but it wasn’t long after that COVID forced their doors to close.
“It was a brand-new restaurant, brand-new building, maybe a year into it and they shut us down. That was hard. We were doing really well but being a brand-new business that was just too hard.”
Junior and his wife bought some property at Lake Brownwood and began to come visit every week.
“My wife and I were like, ‘we need to move down here. This is cool.’ I began to notice, there’s a lot of commerce here, not a lot of restaurants. So, me being a businessman I noticed that this area needs some barbecue.” He said.
Junior says that Early being centrally located is another reason as to why he was able to make the decision to move his business here.
“We will have people come from all over to come eat our barbecue. Even in Midland, people were driving to Midland from Austin just to eat our barbecue and then driving back to Austin in the same day. Early being centrally located will be so great for my business because it allows people to come from all over the state without having to drive too far.” Junior said.
It takes someone with a passion for barbecue to gain such a devoted following. People don’t only enjoy Junior’s barbecue because of its quality but also because of the passion that has when cooking and running his business. So where did all this passion for barbecue come from?
“I used to go to camp meetings outside of Fort Davis, TX. They were one week long and for 7 days, we fed them breakfast, lunch and dinner and we would feed around 600 people. These camp meetings started in the early 1900s and they were where ranchers would get together and pray for rain. I started going when I was about 12 years old and my dad used to do the biscuits and every year for my birthday, August 9th, we would be at the camp meetings. When I was 12, I wasn’t doing much working but slowly I began to cook more and do more for the people out there.”
And over that time, Junior not only fell in love with cooking but the joy of seeing people’s faces light up when they would eat some good food and now you will have the opportunity to see how Junior’s passion for food has grown over the years now that Up In Smoke will be opened.
Not only will you be able to buy some great cooked food but Junior is currently working on opening up a meat market next door where you can purchase any of the meats that he sells in his restaurant.
“We will have all the meats, seasoning, my suggested seasonings, frilling supplies, charcoal and more. A little bit of everything.” Said Junior.
On top of all of that, Junior is also planning on hosting around 10 classes annually where you will have the opportunity to learn how to barbecue just like a Pitmaster.
Up In Smoke – 231 Parkway Dr. #100 Early, TX 76802
(432) 528-5017 | www.upinsmokebarbeque.com