Joe Quintanilla is a colorful speaker. The white-mustachioed owner of Avila’s BBQ in Hebbronville, an hour’s drive east of Laredo, is sitting on the edge of a picnic table bench in the shade cast by his open-sided smokehouse. The tantalizing scent of nearly finished beef sausages and fajitas wafts out from one of the long-barrel, direct-heat smokers. Meanwhile, Quintanilla delivers morsels of the wisdom gathered in his 61 years of life and his three decades at the helm of Avila’s BBQ. Customers often ask him for the secret to great barbecue, he says. “I don’t have secrets,” Quintanilla tells them. “Secrets are for a–holes.” For him, culinary skill comes not from creative genius but rather from hard work, attention to detail, and experience.