The first brisket Quentin Van Horn ever made was for Easter, and it didn’t turn out very well. Van Horn, who now runs the Point and Flat BBQ barbecue pop-up (instagram.com/pointandflat_bbq) at the new Limitless Brewing in Lenexa, was watching a lot of Food Network and getting inspired by shows like BBQ Pitmasters.
“My first brisket turned out raw in the middle,” he says. “I didn’t know how to trim, I didn’t know how to wrap it, I didn’t know anything I do now. I was very beginner. I cut it open and it was raw. I had the whole family over and I had to cut it into steaks, and that wasn’t very good.”
Those “steaks” served to his entire family were chewy and not especially tasty.
“It wasn’t what it should be, but I didn’t even know what it should be at the time—I didn’t know what the hell I was doing,” Van Horn says.
Rather than becoming discouraged, Van Horn set about learning how to make better ’cue. Point and Flat’s brisket tacos on a recent Friday night at Limitless show he’s well on his way.
“I’m a very detail-oriented person, and smoking meats requires that you be very detailed,” he says. “You’ve got to do the same process over and over again.”
Van Horn sold men’s suits at Jos A. Bank and Men’s Wearhouse for eighteen years on commission until being furloughed during the pandemic and then brought back under a new and less-favorable pay structure. He left for a car dealership job and bought a smoker.
Van Horn has been inspired by Texas-style KC ’cuers like Tyler Harp and Justin Easterwood have forsaken burnt ends in favor of a simple rub of salt and pepper and overnight stick-burning on wood (hickory and oak). He catches the trimmings, melts them into tallow and bastes his wrapped brisket with it. (“It basically braises it in the tallow; it’s a beautiful thing.”)
Van Horn also makes creative use of cardboard in his smoking process, which he learned from Zilla’s Pit in Tennessee. He trims a piece to fit the bottom of his briskets. “It just holds the juices and everything to the brisket.”
Point and Flat’s first pop-up was on First Friday in August. Van Horn latched onto Limitless right before the brewery moved to its new, more prominent location, where the pit sets up from Tuesday to Saturday. The brewery-and-cue pop-up model that Harp pioneered at Crane and that has become a staple at a handful of breweries across the country worked out well for both sides.
“I know food trucks are kind of sporadic and they charge people to come sometimes,” he says. “They don’t charge me anything, I don’t charge anything. I come and bring the fire.”