On the Road

On the Road with Bryan Roof: El Paso, Texas

Bryan visits with barbecue maestro Richard Funk at El Paso’s acclaimed Desert Oak Barbecue. 

Published Nov. 6, 2023.

“You don’t get into the barbecue business to make money,” says Desert Oak Barbecue owner and chef Richard Funk. “You get into it because you love cooking barbecue.”

Bryan visits Desert Oak Barbecue in El Paso, in the western corner of Texas, to learn what makes the food there so special. The answer? Attention to detail; long hours tending smokers; and a love for the sights, smells, sounds, and flavors of live-fire barbecue. You can’t fake any of those things. You can’t fake the Funk. 

And about the name of the restaurant: Funk prefers the taste of meat smoked over oak, even though his restaurant is in mesquite country and he has to pay extra to bring in the oak from the central part of the state. No compromises. 

On the menu—and on the table in front of Bryan—at Desert Oak are hulking beef ribs; ultratender brisket; spice-rubbed pork ribs; pulled pork; sausage; and more. And don’t sleep on the green chile–cheese rice, a unique side dish that pays homage to nearby New Mexico’s devotion to green chiles. 

Click below to watch the video and see the smoke—and the Funk—for yourself. 

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