Texas Barbecue

The Podcast I listened to yesterday that really caught my interest was this one…

Tiny Texas Cafe Fills Up After Barbecue Award : NPR
All Things Considered, July 18, 2008 · Barbecue is religion in Texas.

Every five years, Texas Monthly goes on a quest for the Holy Grail — to find the best barbecue in a state that reveres smoked meat. It takes the mission seriously.

This year, the magazine dispatched 18 writers who traveled nearly 15,000 miles to 341 establishments. In an unheard-of upset, a tiny cafe in central Texas beat out the longtime favorites to take first place.

Snow’s BBQ is in the little town of Lexington, an hour’s drive northeast of Austin. It’s open only on Saturday mornings. Owner Kerry Bexley is a bandy-legged former rodeo clown and prison guard. He and his helpers arrive at 10 p.m. Friday to light the oak logs.

Listening to the story from NPR made me think about all of the other folks, just going along, doing there thing in their piece of America suddenly being “discovered” by the rest of the world. Becoming an “overnight” success and having to worry about whether the neighbors can still get their Saturday barbecue because it will all be sold out by 9am…

Like a lot of Texans, I really like our barbecue. I personally don’t eat at many barbecue restaurants though because too many use way to much sauce. Me, I like my meat smoked with a minimum of basic seasoning. So most of the time I just smoke my own…Started on the smoker one day. Wrapped in foil and stuck in the refrigerator overnight to marinate in it’s own juices. Back on the grill the next day to finish…You never even need a knife to eat the brisket…

For some reason I almost never have any left over. Even when we don’t tell anyone, my kids all manage to show up with spouses and significant others, kids…grandkids…old gray headed kids, we all love our Texas barbecue.

Lexington: Snow’s BBQ: Texas Monthly June 2008
The best barbecue in Texas is currently being served at Snow’s BBQ, in Lexington, a small restaurant open only on Saturdays and only from eight in the morning until whenever the meat runs out, usually around noon. Snow’s is remarkable not only for the quality of its meat but for the unlikeliness of its story. No one on staff had heard of it until we received a reader tip following our 2003 barbecue issue. To stumble upon a place this good and this unknown is every pit hound’s dream, and so we feel compelled to offer, as evidence in favor of our judgment, our story of discovery. It begins with a staff writer’s asking her husband for a favor . . .

So began the article that changed the life of one small barbecue joint…

I see that Coopers in Llano is not in the top 5 this year. Whenever my wife and I get into the hill country of Texas we will swing through Llano for a stop at Coopers even when it means driving 45 miles one way for dinner…Where we always buy way too much meat…And love every minute of it…

The Top 50: Texas Monthly June 2008
Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que

Chain alert: According to recent reports, Cooper’s will soon open a franchise in New Braunfels and has two others in the works. The horror!

Rating: 4.
604 W. Young (Texas Hwy. 29), 325-247-5713. Open Sun—Thur 10:30—8, Fri & Sat 10:30—9

Then there is this from another NPR show…

Deep In The Heart Of Texas Barbecue : NPR
NPR.org, July 2, 2008 · It’s the Fourth of July and time for a barbecue. Like many Americans, I thought “barbecue” meant throwing a few hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. Then I moved to Texas.

The word “barbecue” has a whole different meaning there. For one thing, it is a noun, not a verb. “Let’s go out for some barbecue,” therefore, makes perfect sense.

In Texas, barbecue is not just a food — it is an icon, an ideal, a way of life. If you’re not a Texan, the assumption is that you just don’t get it.

The process is pretty simple: Get a huge slab of meat covered in fat, get the coals ready, slap the meat on the grate, cover and cook for a couple of days.

Finding the right combination of heat and time, however, is an art. The coals and/or wood must be replenished, so “pitmasters” (usually men) tend the meat. They are the celebrity chefs of the barbecue world, and their domain can be anything from a charcoal grill to something that looks like a small train engine.

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