In Texas barbecue is an obsession. However you like it – sliced thick onto butcher paper, on picnic plates, doused with a tangy sauce or eaten right out of the smokehouse pit – be sure to savor it.
And then argue to the death that your way is the best way. Like a true barbecue-loving Texan.
BBQ done right
The best Texas barbecue often comes from famous family dynasties that have been dishing up the same crowd-pleasing recipes for generations.
Telltale signs that you've located an authentic barbecue joint include zero decor, smoke-blackened ceilings and laid-back table manners (silverware optional).
At most places, you can order a combination plate or ask for specific meats to be sliced by the pound right in front of you.
Most folks agree on the basics: slow cooking over a low-heat wood fire. A cooking time of up to 12 or 16 hours isn’t unheard of – anything less and you’re just too durn impatient.
It allows the meat to be infused with a rich smoky flavor of usually hickory or pecan in the eastern part of the state, oak in central Texas and mesquite out west.
Texas barbecue leans heavily toward beef – a logical outgrowth of the state’s cattle industry.
The most common is beef brisket; with a combination of patience, experience and skill, a seasoned pit boss can transform this notoriously tough meat into a perfectly smoked, tender slab of heaven.
The noble pig makes appearances in the form of succulent ribs, and occasionally chops and sliced loin.
Every self-respecting barbecue joint will also serve sausage. Texas hot links, the peppery sausage of regional renown, is created with ground pork and beef combined with pungent spices.