THE PITMASTER SERIES: Scott Moore of Tejas Chocolate + Barbecue in Tomball, Texas
Scott Moore, a lifetime foodie and food hobbyist, stumbled into chocolate making “by accident,” as he says. While channel surfing, he came across a television special on bean-to-bar chocolate making, when a comment on the show caught his attention: “We think every neighborhood should have a chocolate maker,” it went. And so, Scott made himself the chocolate maker of his neighborhood of Tomball, Texas, and along the way, started making some of the town’s best BBQ, too.
"I thought, 'What would a good Texan do?' So I started roasting [cocoa beans] in the BBQ pit."
S&D: How did you go about becoming a chocolate maker?
SCOTT: I started researching craft chocolate, bought craft chocolate, and experienced truly good, quality chocolate for the first time. I became fascinated with single origin chocolate. From there, I joined forums on craft chocolate making, studied, and with a thousand bucks bought everything I needed to start, including the ingredients.
S&D: You say that your chocolate making method is “uniquely Texan.” How’s that?
SCOTT: It comes down to how we roast the cocoa beans. I started by putting the beans in the oven, and while waiting thought, “What would a good Texan do?” So I started roasting them in a BBQ pit. I eventually made a custom cocoa bean roaster out of a modified peanut drum.
S&D: What's been your favorite chocolate to make and eat so far?
SCOTT: Dark chocolate, particularly the single origin from Madagascar. It doesn’t have the classic fudgey properties we usually associate with chocolate; it’s got a lot of fruit notes.
S&D: What was the Tomball BBQ scene like before you opened the Craftory
SCOTT: There were about five BBQ spots in the area, but no one was doing true craft BBQ - smoking with high quality meats, using old school methods. We wanted to fill that void, and sell our chocolate too.
S&D: What experience did y'all have in the food and restaurant business prior to opening Tejas Craftory?
SCOTT: I like to say that I “rescued” my brother (Chef Greg) from the restaurant industry. He worked in restaurants his whole life, and has an extensive background in Italian fine dining, with some Asian and Cajun influences. His experience will come out in some of our occasional specialty dishes, like a chicken tinga, or a pastrami.
S&D: Speaking of specialty dishes, your sides are decidedly untraditional. How’d you come up with the unique Tejas Craftory favorites like the cornbread pudding and the carrot soufflé?
SCOTT: A lot of our recipes are collaborations between each other and the home cooking we grew up with. The cornbread pudding is a variation on a Thanksgiving turkey stuffing that Greg and I ate as kids, and the carrot soufflé is a homemade favorite of (business and life partner) Michelle Holland.
S&D: Chocolate and BBQ - how do you make such a unlikely combination into a successful restaurant and business?
SCOTT: BBQ and chocolate both is where science and art collide. We wanted people to know that chocolate is made in Texas, and to learn what good craft chocolate is. Right now we're averaging about 700 chocolate truffles per week. As far as our BBQ, I'm really proud of the quality of BBQ we're doing. On Saturdays we sell out between 3 and 4pm. Th best bridge between our chocolate and BBQ is our mole sauce, a recipe that Greg came up with, that has about 27 different ingredient in it. It's all about instinct and collaboration.