Monday, June 17, 2013

Messing with Texas

All right Texas, it’s time to reign back in your ridiculously large barbecue ego.  You’ve gotten too big for your oversized britches and your gargantuan muffin top has spilled over, leaving you with a pant-splitting FUPA.  While you still think you look good, the rest of us are left wondering how you use the restroom. 
We both agree Louie Mueller is a Top 5 spot

Texas Monthly just came out with the latest edition of the Top 50 BBQ joints in Texas.  Only this time they decided to mark out the word Texas and replace it with World.  Not because they traveled the world over and included other places from outside Texas.  No, they simply decided that brisket--and apparently only brisket made in Texas--is the Holy Grail of barbecue.

Having used the 2008 edition as my barbecue bible for navigating through the Long Horn state during my first tour, I have a certain level of fondness for Texas Monthly.  Interestingly enough, they hired Daniel Vaughan, whose blog was featured along with this one in a CNN piece back in 2009, to be their barbecue editor.   I’ll tip my cap to Daniel because he knows his Texas bbq, he’s funny and he’s a hell of a lot more dedicated to barbecue than I am mine. But I digress…

Here’s the truth: most brisket sucks.

I say that with full appreciation for the historical venom that regional bbq debates entail and also a strong affinity for the few places that offer great brisket.

Texas Monthly, we get that brisket is your baby.  But let’s be honest, most babies are ugly. 

Even in your own description of two legendary Texas establishments, you say Kreutz Market’s brisket “looked like shredded wheat, and the smoke was noticeably lacking” and historic City Market routinely serves “tough, tasteless brisket.”  Yet even after making those comments, you put them in your Top 50…in the WORLD… and turn to us saying, “aren’t these babies cute?” 

You justify your claim by saying that brisket is the most challenging piece of meat to cook well, and that because of it’s difficulty, it must be the best.  First off, try cooking a whole hog.  Second, nobody cares about the degree of difficulty if you don’t stick the landing.  

You claim that brisket is the Mount Everest of barbecue and that reaching the pinnacle requires great skill, practice and dedication.   Only the elite make it to the top.  If you’re going to make that argument and use that metaphor, great.  But stop celebrating the a-holes that don’t make it past base camp.

I will be the first to admit that a perfectly cooked piece of brisket is one of the best culinary treats on earth (right behind the glazed ribs at the Bar-B-Q Shop in Memphis).  It is right to give great brisket thanks and praise. 
Bar-B-Shop- My Number 1

But here’s the deal: if you insist on telling us that the baby with alien-red skin really IS cute, then keep it within the family and change the title back to the top 50 in Texas.  Y’all can lie to each other all you want about little Dougie.

If you want to keep using the word World, well…we’ll see you in Memphis. 


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