‘Luscious’, ‘yummy’, ‘delicious’, … people just fall short of praises when speaking of Texas style barbecue. In fact, each time I put a tender slice of Texas style barbecue into my mouth, the juicy and flavorful piece of meat convinces me that the Texans where the only ones to perfect the BBQ art. Nonetheless, it is not just the taste factor, the Texas bar-b-qs enjoy equal acceptance as health food.
Like everyone else, if you are wondering what makes the Texas barbecues so special, I will tell you that it is almost everything. If you go on to make a list, the whole lot will feature in it – right from seasoning to cooking and smoking to presentation. Above all, you will require patience! If you falter there, you will spoil the barbecue.
To start with, we will be mentioning the cooking process. Texas style barbecue is not cooked in the standard grilling process. While BBQs in general are cooked over searing heat, the secret to grilling (rather smoking) melting soft and succulent Texan barbecues is to cook them slowly over low temperature and indirect heat. The lower the temperature (say, between 200-250 degree F) of the pit/grill, the lesser will be the moisture-loss and so the piece of meat will not get dry. Moreover, the steady and low heat will thoroughly cure the brisket, causing the collagen as well as connective tissues to break down and add to the tenderness of the meat. In fact, it is this prolonged process of cooking (around 6/7 hours) which renders even unusual and more difficult cuts like a brisket, shoulder or ribs utterly delicious.
Adding to this lusciousness, this deliciousness of the Texan style barbecues is the frequent use of mop sauce. After the meat has been smoke treated, say for the initial 2/3 hours, it is basted with a mop sauce containing bacon, beef broth, lemon, pepper, onions, etc. and turned every 30 minutes for another 3 to 4 hours.
The flavor is the other specialty, the ‘tang’ factor of a Texas style barbecue. Both seasoning and hardwood smoke contribute to the unusual flavor of Texan barbecues. Texans prefer dry rubs containing black pepper, cumin, garlic, red pepper, salt, sugar, etc. in powered form. People even use Marinades. There are lots of good dry rubs and marinades available in the market, which penetrates into the meat-cut when left overnight, tenderizing it and making it flavorsome.
Smoke from the hardwoods such as mesquite, pecan, hickory and fruitwoods give the Texan bar-b-qs a typical sweet flavor. Used with charcoal, they increase the food value of Texan BBQs. The much talked-about reddish colored smoke-ring that forms around the internal edge of the meat as a result of a chemical reaction between smoke and air (nitrogen) is another specialty of Texan style barbeques; it is usually considered that the bigger the ring, the greater is its penetrating power and consequently stronger favorable effects on health.
This speaks for the taste and health benefits of the Texan style barbecue, but what about its looks! Well, you can give an appetizing look to your Texas style barbecue by slicing each piece across the grain of the meat. Now, when you serve the Texas barbecues, your guests will be eager to enjoy the well-cooked aroma of the steaming barbeque cuts and will gather around the dining table to bite into the savory, succulent Texas BBQ.