BBQ State of Mind

J.C. Reid chronicles the state of barbecue in Houston and around Texas.
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The New York Strip steak is named after the city that made it famous.

Eating your way through a steakhouse menu

The New York Strip steak is named after the city that made it famous.

These "brothers" bond over barbecue and bring a new style of smoked meat to Houston's diverse food scene.

Asian barbecue entrepreneurs let Houston's diversity inspire their meat

These "brothers" bond over barbecue and bring a new style of smoked meat to Houston's diverse food scene.

New Zion Missionary Baptist Barbecue supports the church and hungry souls.

A bastion of barbecue tradition in the piney woods of East Texas

New Zion Missionary Baptist Barbecue supports the church and hungry souls.

A lesson in dry aging, what it is and what it is not.

Making better beef through dry aging

A lesson in dry aging, what it is and what it is not.

Pork ribs, pulled pork, "beer can" chicken and sliced brisket are smoked using almond, cherry, hickory and oak woods.  Which is just fine with wine bar manager Andrew Seagrave, who is tasked with pairing the barbecue with the Bounty Hunter's constantly changing list of more than 400 wines.  The vinegary nature of a pulled pork or a light spice rub on a rib works well with Napa Valley's well-known pinot noirs.  Riesling, a white wine known for its sweetness and high acidity, also pairs well…

Barbecue and wine: The final frontier

Pork ribs, pulled pork, "beer can" chicken and sliced brisket are smoked using almond, cherry, hickory and oak woods. Which is just fine with wine bar manager Andrew Seagrave, who is tasked with pairing the barbecue with the Bounty Hunter's constantly changing list of more than 400 wines. The vinegary nature of a pulled pork or a light spice rub on a rib works well with Napa Valley's well-known pinot noirs. Riesling, a white wine known for its sweetness and high acidity, also pairs well…

Pitmasters face dilemma of keeping customers happy with menu prices while still being able to make a profit  Though prices have stabilized and have even gone down recently, many barbecue fans still cringe when paying $15-$20 per pound for their beloved smoked brisket.  There's even the occasional whisper that barbecue joints may be taking advantage of the demand to make more money.  To understand why barbecue joints are struggling to maintain a balance between value to customers and their…

The raw and the cooked: economics of barbecue

Pitmasters face dilemma of keeping customers happy with menu prices while still being able to make a profit Though prices have stabilized and have even gone down recently, many barbecue fans still cringe when paying $15-$20 per pound for their beloved smoked brisket. There's even the occasional whisper that barbecue joints may be taking advantage of the demand to make more money. To understand why barbecue joints are struggling to maintain a balance between value to customers and their…

The inaugural event, called Gettin' Sauced, was organized by two barbecue bloggers and friends of mine, Drew Thornley and Brad Istre.  Vaughn, who is now the barbecue editor at Texas Monthly Magazine, had visited Franklin Barbecue earlier and raved about it using terms often reserved for reviews of fine dining restaurants: balanced, nuanced, subtle, luscious, silky.  Beard Awards mostly are associated with high-end, fine-dining restaurants helmed by classically trained chefs.  Among others…

Franklin Barbecue's James Beard win sets benchmark for Texas pitmasters

The inaugural event, called Gettin' Sauced, was organized by two barbecue bloggers and friends of mine, Drew Thornley and Brad Istre. Vaughn, who is now the barbecue editor at Texas Monthly Magazine, had visited Franklin Barbecue earlier and raved about it using terms often reserved for reviews of fine dining restaurants: balanced, nuanced, subtle, luscious, silky. Beard Awards mostly are associated with high-end, fine-dining restaurants helmed by classically trained chefs. Among others…

A Muslim convert, West started cooking halal barbecue for friends, including Ali, at backyard gatherings.  Specifically, halal meat must come from a permitted animal (cows, sheep, goats) that is slaughtered in a humane way by an adult Muslim.  The Chopped N Smoked barbecue trailer sits in the parking lot of a Citgo gas station on Texas 6 in northeastern Fort Bend County, the most ethnically diverse county in the most diverse metropolitan area in the nation.  Indian food trucks (Tandoori…

New trailer serves halal - meat that satisfies Muslim standards

A Muslim convert, West started cooking halal barbecue for friends, including Ali, at backyard gatherings. Specifically, halal meat must come from a permitted animal (cows, sheep, goats) that is slaughtered in a humane way by an adult Muslim. The Chopped N Smoked barbecue trailer sits in the parking lot of a Citgo gas station on Texas 6 in northeastern Fort Bend County, the most ethnically diverse county in the most diverse metropolitan area in the nation. Indian food trucks (Tandoori…

Once the barbecue bubble bursts and all of the Johnny-come-lately barbecue joints close, which classics will you still frequent?  Today, most barbecue pilgrimages are headed toward Austin and recently opened places such as Franklin BBQ, La Barbecue and Stiles Switch.  On a recent visit to Lockhart, I revisited the legendary barbecue joints there.  Slices of bread, cheese, pickles and onions are added to the pile, which you pay for and take to an adjacent dining room to eat.  Once you arrive…

Self-proclaimed or not, Lockhart is full of barbecue legends

Once the barbecue bubble bursts and all of the Johnny-come-lately barbecue joints close, which classics will you still frequent? Today, most barbecue pilgrimages are headed toward Austin and recently opened places such as Franklin BBQ, La Barbecue and Stiles Switch. On a recent visit to Lockhart, I revisited the legendary barbecue joints there. Slices of bread, cheese, pickles and onions are added to the pile, which you pay for and take to an adjacent dining room to eat. Once you arrive…

Like many beloved cuisines of Texas, barbecue derives from recipes and techniques that used lesser cuts of meats and inexpensive ingredients to serve a working-class population.  The barbacoa we get today in Texas is generally traced to a cooking technique in Mexico where cuts of lamb or goat are wrapped in maguey (agave) leaves and placed in underground pits with smoldering coals, covered, and left to slow-cook for hours.  Tradition suggests that the vaqueros of South Texas would acquire…

Barbacoa and the tradition of Tejano barbecue

Like many beloved cuisines of Texas, barbecue derives from recipes and techniques that used lesser cuts of meats and inexpensive ingredients to serve a working-class population. The barbacoa we get today in Texas is generally traced to a cooking technique in Mexico where cuts of lamb or goat are wrapped in maguey (agave) leaves and placed in underground pits with smoldering coals, covered, and left to slow-cook for hours. Tradition suggests that the vaqueros of South Texas would acquire…


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