Miller's Smokehouse

Dirk Miller, owner of Miller’s Smokehouse, arranges briskets on the smoker outside his Belton restaurant. Texas Monthly magazine recently named Miller’s one of the top 50 barbecue joints in the state.

BELTON — Growing up, Dirk Miller had a passion for processing and grilling meat. He worked construction for awhile, but replaced his tool belt with a chef’s apron 10 years ago.

He emptied his savings account and started a meat processing business, which evolved into Miller’s Smokehouse, a full-service barbecue restaurant.

“It was scary,” Miller said. “I was in the family (construction) business for a long time and (cooking) has always been my hobby, so I started doing it and it turned into a business.”

Miller’s risk paid off, as his barbecue became popular with locals and visitors.

Recently, Miller’s Smokehouse was named one of the top 50 barbecue joints in Texas by Texas Monthly magazine. Since then, Miller’s business has doubled, he said.

His slow-smoked brisket is one of Miller’s most popular menu items. What’s his secret?

“It just takes time,” he said. “Keeping the fire set right, the right seasoning and trimming them up just right.”

Miller puts about 20 briskets on the grill every day, ensuring each one is cooked to his liking. If it’s not, it doesn’t get served to customers. He makes about 500 pounds of sausage every week.

“We try to treat everybody here like friends and family and try to call them by name,” said manager Robert Reid, who left his family’s construction company about five years ago to go into business with Miller. “We make them feel welcomed.”

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