The September You & Julia Challenge was launched last week by Andy Husbands, Pitmaster at The Smoke Shop Barbecue. We talked with Husbands about the secret to making delicious bread, why he loves barbecue, and Julia Child’s legacy.

Q: What’s the key to making good bread?

For me, the key to making bread is how it feels. You can follow recipes — I learned to put my hand in there and feel it. Is it sticky? Is it stretchy? Is it soft? Is it light? Those are things you get to know when you feel it. Once you've the learned the feel of how to make bread, the recipe's only secondary.

Q: Why do you love barbecue?

What I love about barbecue is that when you're going to a barbecue it's always a celebration — it’s the food of celebration, the food of family gatherings, it's the food of just having good times... I've been in the barbecue community for a long time. And just about everybody I get to meet is doing it for the love of barbecue. What's really neat about barbecue, if you think about it, is that nobody cooks a brisket for themselves. Brisket is always cooked for somebody else, and that's what I love about it.

Andy sandwich.gif

Q: Why does Julia Child resonate so strongly with chefs today?

I think what was so special about Julia Child was her authenticity, and her being precise and really focused. She was also being real and humble. Even as a professional chef, we all have challenges and things can be difficult, but she would just let things slide and just keep going on with what she was trying to do. I think TV showed the honesty in what she was doing — how people actually cook.

I had an opportunity to meet Julia, and it was at a really fancy event. I turn around and she's standing right next to me, and asked for a pulled pork sandwich! I say, “You have all these choices,” and she goes, "I just want pulled pork!" This is awesome, you know? To me, it exemplified that she is a lover of food, and all food.

Andy's sandwich
Andy's brisket sandwich