BBQ on Planet Texas

Texas Monthly has taken it upon itself to declare their Top 50 Texas BBQ joints as “the best BBQ in the world.” They even went so far as to make brisket the “Everest of BBQ” cuts basically saying any old idiot could cook pork until tender then cover the inferior cuts with sauce. Is that right?! Well allow me to grab you a plate of “my 2 cents worth.” Somebody who declares one “style” of BBQ as the best in the world has either never been off planet Texas, or was born without taste buds.

I lived on your fine planet for 4 years and in that time I had the honor of eating at many of the 50 fine BBQ places and I enjoyed them for what they are… good BBQ. I know Texans are a fiercely proud group of folks, and while living there I heard “Well I wasn’t born here but got here as fast as I could” and “Don’t Mess with Texas” more times than I could shake a stick at. So I wouldn’t blame you if you said the Texas Rangers were the best team in Baseball. Unfortunately, just because you say something doesn’t make it so.

I liked how they were able to make so many definitive and bold statements in narrowing the best of the best down to a paltry 50 BBQ joints. The only problem I have is that you used to only feature the top 20. Why would such cocksure folks need 50 spots for a category that only needed 20 spots? Oh yeah, circulation and ad space is more important than the actual “best of list.” Which begs the question, how do the folks in Austin feel about their Texas brethren in College Station being your BBQ experts?

You declare Brisket the Everest of BBQ and then you name places that do chicken, pork and sausage, but why?! Putting the “Oh sure we do pork too, like chops and loins etc…” Restaurants in the list of 50 top places just screams nutless turd. Make a statement, call the restaurants out that are using lowly pork and chicken for the lowlife bastards you deem them to be. Or is it because in the age of “nobody wins, everybody ties now let’s sing kumbaya” you just didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings?  

This Declaration falls into “Food Absolutes” such as, “Nobody puts sugar in cornbread”, “chili doesn’t have beans” or “we don’t let our customers add ketchup to (fill in the blank).” … HOOEY! There are many food styles and tastes out there, learn to enjoy them and stop judging.  All BBQ styles have merit, and all have their challenges. Anybody who has ever ventured out to a smoker, only to walk away with a butt or a brisket that tastes like a saddle and looks like hammered dog shit can tell you it’s not an easy undertaking until you learn technique. This is why all forms of well cooked BBQ should garner respect.

I love how the experts knocked sauces as “sweetened ketchup” and that “in real BBQ the meat should speak for itself,” Really?! I call bullshit! Why smoke it at all, why use a combo of woods/ rubs/ injections/marinades/brines/spices/mopping liquids or even salt and pepper… if the meat should “speak for itself?” Sauces are fine, as are plain cuts. Most of the BBQ world is comprised of Pork. Sorry if that offends the BBQ beef contingent. I say grab a roll and fill it with a heaping helping of “get used to it.” If a person in NC doing chopped pork , A person in GA doing pulled, North Alabama and its White Sauce Chicken, or those folks in Kansas City, Saint Louis or Memphis doing ribs aren’t doing BBQ, I’d like to know what exactly we call that method of cooking because I definitely want some.