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View Diary: Next Up: Texas In The Rearview Mirror (251 comments)

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  •  HeyMikey: unpurse those vinegary lips (3+ / 0-)

    and have some real barbecue.

    From this year's Texas Monthly Barbecue Issue:

    Texas barbecue has no peer on earth. If you’re reading this in Texas, you may wonder why we need to begin with such an obvious statement, but there are people who contend otherwise. In Kansas City they tout paltry slices of gray beef covered in sweet ketchup; the whole thing resembles cold cuts more than barbecue, which is why their arguments generally center on sauce rather than meat. In Memphis they grill ribs over charcoal and fret about whether to hide the product under a pool of sugary sauce or cover it with flavored dust. In the Carolinas they lift their noses and say through pursed, vinegary lips that they invented barbecue. They may have a claim there, but luckily we Texans came along to perfect it.
    If you do the meat right you don't need sauce; but you could always put it over the beans and cornbread, or into the frito pie. And don't try to push off that shredded pig as barbecue, either. Barbecue is beef.

    Here is another excerpt from the article above.

    The Europeans’ contribution to this scenario was to introduce a tasty new animal: the hog. Not only was this beast a marked improvement over the previous fare, but its own gastronomic habits proved well suited to the slop-filled environs of the burgeoning Eastern seaboard. In rural areas and colonial burgs, pigs would roam freely, indiscriminately eating trash until someone decided to roast them, which was done in the local manner—a hole in the ground, a fire, and a split hog laid directly above it on a wood frame.

    Barbecue might never have advanced beyond this crude stage but for the fact that another type of animal had come to these shores at the same time as the pig: the cow. Eventually, bovines made their way up through Mexico to the vast grazing lands of Texas, and it didn’t take long for us to figure out what to do with them. We started out by placing the beef directly over the flames but eventually adopted a more elegant approach by which the meat was smoked to tenderness in a chamber with a fire pit at one end and a chimney at the other. Over time, barbecue proliferated throughout the state, eventually leading to the opening of commercial establishments like Elgin’s Southside Market, in 1886, and Lockhart’s Kreuz Market, in 1900.

    I've eaten good barbecue all my life -- Underwoods is highly overrated, as is Dickeys and anyplace else that inflicts steam-rewarmed braised mystery meat on your plate. If you're in Houston head for Goode Company (the Taqueria's brisket tacos, por ejemplo).
    In Lockhart head for Kreuz Market, or Smitty's; Black's makes good food, but you might want to get yours to go... Sadly, a lot of other places that made the 1973 "best in Texas" list are justly either no longer listed, or have gone away altogether, like the one place I loved enough to want to fight to have it added: Waggoner's. The Texas Monthly editors have sometimes deigned to give Lubbock or Amarillo (never both in the same list) a mention as having a decent barbecue place, but their adoration of Tom and Bingo's here is a mystery to me. It's cheap, it's chopped, and it needs sauce. I have not been in Amarillo while Taylor's is open to sample, but I will one of these days (green chile mac'n'cheese on Tuesdays? Hmm: if it's a barbecue joint, why is the barbecue editor writing a paean to one of the sides, primarily?).

    Eschew chains with one exception: Cooper's. They have a store in Llano and one, now, in Junction. Both are fine.

    Rudy's, the next-nearest-thing to an exception, is kinda hit-or-miss: the good ones are really good, the misses are spectacularly not good.

    Right now, bar none, if you want good real barbecue, the place to go is Canadian, to The Cattle Exchange.

    LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

    by BlackSheep1 on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 05:30:55 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  I am bookmarking your comment... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cassandracarolina

      ...in case I ever get back to Texas.

      On the issue of whether sauce detracts from meat: Did Rogers detract from Astaire? Does the fizz in beer detract from the malt? Does either detract from the hops? Did Lennon detract from McCartney, or Plant from Page? Does the sparkle in a woman's eyes detract from the curve of her hips?

      Meat and sauce: what God has joined, let no human try to separate.

      "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

      by HeyMikey on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 06:07:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  there was barbecue (smoked meat) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cassandracarolina

        way before anybody ever messed it up with vinegar, mustard, wine, ketchup, or marinade.

        That said, you want to use those things on what you grill, you go right on. Just know grillin' ain't barbecue.

        LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

        by BlackSheep1 on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 07:36:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Cave people dreamed of flight, too... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cassandracarolina

          ...but they never soared.

          When you are ready, slip the surly bonds of earth and join me in touching the face of God.

          (I will forever be annoyed that many people credit that to Reagan. He borrowed it, likely from Magee, who seems to have borrowed part of it from Hicks: http://en.wikipedia.org/.... )  

          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

          by HeyMikey on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 07:58:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ok, let's come right out in the open. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cassandracarolina

            A properly-barbecued brisket is the peak of culinary achievement. Full. Stop.

            LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

            by BlackSheep1 on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 08:06:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  A-freakin'-men! n/t (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BlackSheep1
              •  And obviously the world is flat... (0+ / 0-)

                ...and the center of the universe.

                "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

                "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                by HeyMikey on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 09:42:02 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  A proposal: (0+ / 0-)

                  If either of you ever come by the Atlanta or Columbus, GA area, I would be delighted to treat you to some BBQ pork with sauce on the side, which you will be free to taste...if you do not fear expulsion from brisket Eden.

                  And if I ever get back to Texas, I will be delighted to meet you at whatever Texas BBQ joint(s) you recommend, and gorge myself on brisket, sauceless.

                  I hope local beer will be heavily involved at either location.

                  "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                  by HeyMikey on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 09:47:09 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm in Lubbock. If you want good (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    HeyMikey

                    barbecue brisket we have a local place that's almost the equal of Waggoner's.
                    Bigham's has been around since the late 1970s.
                    They are most assuredly NOT "Tom and Bingo's" nor are they J&S.

                    LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

                    by BlackSheep1 on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 11:36:44 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  Just my $.02, but Goode Company is overrated. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cassandracarolina, HeyMikey

      Best barbecue in the Houston area is a little place called The Swingin' Door, way out in Richmond.  Excellent brisket, sausage, ribs and turkey.  The sauce is even good, though you don't need it.  Oh, and cobbler.  Yum.

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