Meat lovers don’t need an excuse to indulge in delicious barbecue any time of year – rain, snow, sleet or hail. But, with May being National Barbecue Month and spring now blooming to its fullest potential, there’s never been a better time to pull out those pits (or grills), dust off those tongs and dive into delectable meats that will have your mouth watering no matter what part of the United States you live.
While traditional barbecue was birthed in the South, a variety of styles now exist throughout the country in areas including Texas, Kansas City and Nashville. Throughout this week, we will look at three of the most popular - and debated - styles of BBQ before giving you tips on how to become a master griller.
Today we’ll look at Texas barbecue. Texas boasts brilliant brisket and barbacoa, but preferences in barbecuing styles differ from city to city in the Lone Star State.
Texans take their barbecue seriously. From the hidden restaurant gems in small towns such as Belton to the big-city barbecue chains found in Houston, Dallas and Austin, Texas boasts the most barbecue restaurants in the country. Barbecue is not just a weekend tradition in the state. It’s an homage to the local culture and history. German and Czech immigrants brought barbecue to the Lone Star State during the late 1870s. The trail-blazing cuisine was also heavily influenced by African-American immigrants after the Civil War.
Today, Texas-style barbecue focuses largely on brisket. It’s been said that if a BBQ restaurant doesn’t have an exceptional brisket, you can bet that the rest of its meat is lackluster. Texas is also famous for barbacoa, or slow-cooked and shredded meat with spices, which originated in Mexico and crossed over the border to make its way on the menu in many restaurants.
While each region practices a different cooking style, the Hill Country specializes in smoking meats over a mixture of coal and wood-fire flames.
“The holy trinity of Texas barbecue is big hunks of meat, wood fire and smoke,” said Angela Hobbs, Media Director at The Salt Lick BBQ. “We cook our meat over an open pit. The radiant heat and smoke from the open flame of our oak wood caramelizes our barbecue sauce on the outside of the meat. We put water-soaked pecan hulls on the coals. This adds the pecan-smoked flavor to our meat. Flare-up smoke from drippings of our meat also adds to the flavor of our brisket.”
Texas stands out with its savory brisket, brought to life through smoke and flames. But Kansas City is also a strong contender in the world of renowned barbecue. Why? Find out what sets this city apart in the next blog post of our National Barbecue Month series.
Greystar's National Barbecue Month Series
- Coming tomorrow: Kansas City declares itself as the barbecue capital of the world because of its … burnt ends?
- Coming Thursday: Nashville is a melting pot of West Tennessee, Texas and North Carolina. Is that what makes it a barbecue king?
- Coming Friday: So, it’s your turn to be a master griller. We’ve got some tips for you.
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