Credit: Valentino Mauricio FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN

After helping establish Freedmen’s as one of the barbecue restaurants in Austin, pitmaster Evan LeRoy has left the campus-area spot that he helped open in December 2012

The Austin native had returned to Austin from New York City, where he worked at Hill Country BBQ. LeRoy, known for his brisket, tangy pulled pork and thoughtful side dishes, says he has plans to open his own restaurant in town.

“A barbecue joint plus a lot more,” he said cryptically.

In the meantime he will participate in collaborative dinners and pop-ups in the coming months, the first in Portland, Oregon in late September with Matt’s BBQ.

Christopher McGhee, a three year Freedmen’s veteran who has been working as co-chef with LeRoy, according to restaurant owner Cuatro Kowalski, has taken over full duties as executive chef and pitmaster.

McGhee previously worked for John Lewis during the first year of business at La Barbecue, so he steps into the smoky spotlight with some solid experience.

“Nothing is changing about the restaurant,” Kowalski said via text. “We don’t expect a dip in quality at all and look forward to continuing what we’ve always been doing.

 Related: Best Barbecue in Austin (2014) ]]