Raymond Erwin’s legacy of cooking of salty traditional barbecue with true Texas flair began in 1952, when he took a job under restaurateur Jimmy Underwood, who had establishments all over Dallas.
Erwin spent decades learning the craft of barbecue, from how the make fall-off-the-bone ribs to never-dry turkey to the perfect Southern sides that brought the whole plate together. He spent much of his time at Underwood’s Barbeque, which opened in 1964 at 10920 Garland Road. In 1981 he took over the location and renamed it Raymond’s Bar-B-Q.
It was a no-muss, no-fuss kind of place where food was served on cafeteria trays and sodas cost 85-cents even into the 2000s. The butter-yellow booths and kitschy ‘50s décor made it seem like one of those true road-side restaurants you see in old photos on Texas highways.
He sold the building in 2004, but his namesake business kept on until new owners moved their Monterrey BBQ and Mexican Cuisine into the Garland Road location.
But during his many decades in Casa View, Erwin was known for doing things the same way. He kept his flavors consistent and used the same chili bean recipe since 1957. Here it is, first shared with the Advocate in July 1999, and dusted off just in time for the summer grilling season.
Raymond’s chili beans
2 cups dried kidney beans (Raymond prefers Colorado Mile High Beans)
5 cups water
½ cup chili powder
¼ cup salt
2 tablespoons black pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable shortening
Dash of cayenne pepper (to taste)
Soak beans overnight in the water in a large pot.
Bring beans to a boil and add shortening, waiting until it melts to stir.
Reduce heat to low and cover, cook until beans are soft (about 2 hours). Add water if necessary to keep beans fully covered.
Add spices, and cook another 5 minutes.
For best taste, let beans sit at least 45 minutes to soak in all the flavor.