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Bumbershoot Barbecue in Argyle has a new pitmaster, Aaron Courtney



PLANO, TX – One of the best patios in Denton County, Bumbershoot Barbecue in Argyle, now has a new pitmaster. The Colony resident and chef Aaron Courtney has been smoking on Bumbershoot’s Oyler pit since late February.

Bumbershoot will continue to offer the same menu from pre-pandemic times: pulled pork, turkey, brisket ribs and the like. But soon, Courtney will add some new items, like house-made pickles, which he also sells via his own company, Aaron’s Pickles and More. Courtney also has ambitions of adding a new summer corn succotash dish with Cajun spices and blue cheese; and a cold pasta salad with pico, bacon and bechamel sauce.

“What we’ve got here isn’t broken,” Courtney says of the barbecue joint. The brisket will continue to be made in the traditional Central Texas style: rubbed in salt and pepper and cooked low and slow. Courtney is using hickory and pecan wood instead of post oak, saying he likes the strong flavor of the hickory balanced with the more mellow pecan.

The patio at Bumbershoot is great as ever, with a bevvy of picnic tables, nicely spaced, beckoning barbecue lovers on a sunny afternoon. It’s also fun place for kids because of the Gnome Cones stand nearby. Bumbershoot will eventually have live music again, when the leaders of parent company Radical Hospitality feel comfortable enough to add it back.

Bumbershoot is part of a family of Denton, Argyle and Celina restaurants that includes LSA Burger Co., Barley & Board, and Bongo Beaux’s Bourre Palace & Cajun Kitchen. Walking distance from Bumbershoot is St. Argyle’s Cajun Kitchen & Pirogue Sales, a newish restaurant with New Orleans influences, and Earl’s 377 pizza — also Radical Hospitality brands.

Former corporate chef Chad Kelley, who created the menus at the restaurants listed above, left the company in January 2021. Courtney has taken over as the pitmaster of Bumbershoot Barbecue, but the company has not announced who will be the overseeing chef for the other restaurants yet.

This is Courtney’s first job as a pitmaster, though he spent part of the pandemic traveling around Texas, eating barbecue. Courtney previously worked as sous chef at Mot Hai Ba, chef de cuisine at Rapscallion, and head chef of The Market at Bonton Farms, all in Dallas. Courtney is geeky about fermentation and is currently experimenting with making his own vinegar and kombucha.

He has ambitions of adding smoked desserts to the Bumbershoot menu. “I’m thinking maybe chocolate chip bacon cookies,” Courtney says.

Yes, please.