A FAMILY TRADITIONAbout Bud's
The legacy of Bud’s began in Bee County, Texas, where TR Branch Sr., Bud’s dad, developed his sauce and secret spice rub through years of trial and error.
How It Began
MEET THE PITMASTER
Inside the Smokehouse
Bud’s Pitmaster BBQ is an homage to the deep, rich history and tradition of Southern barbecue, and features a collection of recipes inspired by the original “Bud,” who found his love for smoked meat in Corpus Christi, Texas. The photography in our establishment is a tribute and reflection of the generations of men and women who have passed down the traditions of Southern food and barbecue.
The legacy of Bud’s barbecue began in the early 1920s in Bee County, Texas, where the original Bud, T.R. Branch, ran a “bootlegged” liquor store. T.R. never wanted his son, “Little Bud,” to follow in his footsteps on the wrong side of the law, so he worked very hard to become the first African-American to open a licensed package-liquor store in South Texas. At his shop, T.R. was responsible for the liquor while Little Bud was drafted to cook and sell barbecue outside of the store.
It was a sound business decision. During the ‘40s and ‘50s, Little Bud was no longer a child. He was hot stuff around Corpus Christi, working as a ranch hand on the famed King Ranch, where many claim barbeque was invented. Well, if barbeque was invented at King Ranch, then the now grown Little Bud was one of its inventors. The recipes he practiced there were often prepared on-site over the campfire, mostly using cast-iron cookware and open pits. The early pitmasters used a combination of fragrant woods, spicy rubs, and perfectly balanced, sweet-and-spicy sauces to create legendary barbecue delicacies. These were the same irresistible elements that Bud brought to T.R.’s package shop. Before long, the pair expanded the business from Corpus Christi to Brownsville, producing what was often called the best barbeque in South Texas.
It was a thriving business until Little Bud enlisted in the Army and spent the next 20 years in Korea and Vietnam. After retiring from the Army, Bud moved his family to the bustling city of Houston—a place always hungry for great barbecue. Friends and family would come from near and far to taste his “smoke,” as he liked to call it. Bud believed there was nothing better than a piece of good, smoked meat, and he passed his skills and knowledge down to his sons. Now, the fourth generation of Bud’s barbecue lineage emerges in Houston, where those historic blends of wood and spices live on and remain a closely held family secret.