JUST FOLLOW YOUR NOSE
I was driving through a suburb on a Saturday evening. Typical single-family suburban housing. Typical, beautiful Austin weather, sunset, around dinnertime, I had the sunroof open, and a window for fresh air. And suddenly it smells like I'm sitting in Billy Bob's Barbecue Bistro for a few seconds. Wow! Smoking meat. And again a few blocks later. This is just what the burbs are like down here. Driving around in the North, one might smell the occasional hamburgers or steaks, but it's must not the same. Smoking meat is much more intense than just grilling, and you can smell it over a much greater distance.
I had noticed the same effect driving around deserted back roads. Occasionally the smell of barbecueing would waft through the windows, and then a few miles ahead there would be a town with a barbecue restaurant, the pit or the chimney pouring out that wonderful smoke.
And, if one looks carefully, there are stores in shopping centers that specialize in barbecue smokers and grills. And not just one or two of them, but a whole competitive industry. I haven't studied this phenomenon, and my arteries really don't want me to, but I think there is something going on here. (In the meantime, I have sampled the BBQ brisket and pork and turkey at a number of local restaurants, and I'm still looking for one that I really like. But that's another tale.)
Back to driving through the suburbs, I should have just followed the smell upstream and invited myself in for dinner.