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Has Texas Brisket peaked?

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    Has Texas Brisket peaked?

    Or so asks Texas Monthly Magazine. Here's a link I think will get you behind the pay wall for a peek: Has Texas Brisket Peaked? – Texas Monthly

    As they say, this question came about as the staff did the "dirty work" of evaluating Q joints around the state for their upcoming rating list. And based on the experiences we had a few months ago with the Meat Up we had and the food we got to sample they may be mostly correct. The briskets we got to sample as a group and some of the feedback from individual experiences both came to a similar observation. Nearly all the briskets we sampled/discussed were close, with "better than" ratings being measured with slim margins. Make no mistake, there are still joints here in Texas that will put out awful Q (to my tastes), my local area has several but fortunately we've got a couple winners as well. Anyway, enjoy the read...............
    Last edited by Uncle Bob; October 3, 2021, 06:23 AM.

    Good piece. Rather than bitch about boringly excellent brisket, issue a challenge for pitmasters to pursue new and innovative ways to cook brisket and sides and elevate the game. Make it typical to have Texas brisket on the menu and the pitmaster's own unique spin that also blows away the tastebuds.

    Raichlen is already here though.

    The Brisket Chronicles: How to Barbecue, Braise, Smoke, and Cure the World's Most Epic Cut of Meat https://smile.amazon.com/dp/1523505486/


    • CaptainMike
      CaptainMike commented
      Editing a comment
      One of the most notable BBQ joints we tried was Brett's Backyard BBQ in the little town of Rockdale where we were staying for the Meat UP. What you're describing is exactly what Brett is doing there. In addition to the regular menu he offers daily specials and his side dishes are pretty amazing. He really seems to out front on this issue. He's also catering our next Meat Up in a few weeks.

    I think part of the problem with that is the Texas attitude about brisket in general - S&P, SPG or whatever they're doing is "Texas brisket" and nothing else is worth even trying. That kind of discourages innovation, sadly. There are plenty of ways to do lots of meats that are incredible. I for one would encourage some innovation.


    • Oakalley
      Oakalley commented
      Editing a comment
      I read the entire article and also the “Top 50 BBQ joints” article. Was surprised that there were quite a few new names and faces, many cooking some decidedly different BBQ dishes, including brisket. Probably the 2021 list raised eyebrows among us “old timers”, but these new faces and ideas are just normal movement forward.

    Nice read. If any of those Franklin "Wannabes" need a place to standout, tell 'em they can move here. They'd be like a nova amongst a bunch of fading hacks (IMHO), except for Heritage BBQ in San Juan Capistrano. Just sayin'....


      A good problem to have….


        I'm with GolfGeezer
        If Texans are bored with it they could move their operation here. I think there are enough carnivores left around to support them!


          Glad you posted this, I was about ready to myself. In the last of my Taco Chronicles series I alluded to this as well. I don’t want to say that Texas barbecue and brisket in general is boring but I will say that there’s not enough difference in the style and the way they serve it around the state. It seems like barbecue joints are popping up like mushrooms and they’re all copying the same style in the same flavor profiles. That’s why I’m high on the barbecue joints that are taking Barbecue to the next level. Making barbecue and blending it with other cuisine‘s like Vietnamese or Mexican is in my opinion the future of barbecue.

          In talking with local and state wide pitmasters I think there’s a lot of general consensus in that regard. You’re starting to see a lot of fusion cooking and I think you’re going to start seeing a lot more of it. I for one am excited about it because it indeed is the future of barbecue otherwise it’s going to turn into just another McDonald’s or Starbucks.


          • Uncle Bob
            Uncle Bob commented
            Editing a comment
            I think it's possible for folks to take the article a bit too narrowly, not uncommon in this era of info "overload". Nothing is as constant as change, and I'd like to see this observation as just a measured point in time of the evolution of "Texas" BBQ. An over simplification for the sake of quick discussion, there are two types of Q joints. Ones that aspire to be at the top, and then the also rans. Now that the toppers are getting the texture and base taste "right" they will push to evolve.

          • Spinaker
            Spinaker commented
            Editing a comment
            Like Loro in Austin. You would love that spot and you gotta check it out.

          • jfmorris
            jfmorris commented
            Editing a comment
            I think you are right. There will always be a place for traditional BBQ, but I think more success will be achieved by these fusion twists on BBQ.

            I would be curious to hear YOUR thoughts on how to do brisket differently. Rather than the taco chronicles, maybe your homage to the brisket chronicles is next? I may cut the full packer in my freezer up into several hunks and treat each differently next time I smoke brisket....
            Last edited by jfmorris; October 7, 2021, 10:11 AM.

          I wonder if we should do a challenge thread. We all commit to cooking brisket in a non-traditional way and share the results.


          • GolfGeezer
            GolfGeezer commented
            Editing a comment
            Heck, ALL my briskets are non-traditional! 😎

            I think there have been a number of said briskets cooks posted on The Pit. SVQ, QVQ, hot-n-fast, braised, pellet cooked, PBC cooked, KBQ, PK, etc. are lurking around here. Maybe not so many using Indian, Middle eastern, Asian, various island inspired, African or various Hispanic inspired, (I'm sure there are more) - those would certainly be an interesting thread.

          • IFindZeroBadCooks
            IFindZeroBadCooks commented
            Editing a comment
            Yeah, I was thinking more different ingredients and textures than different grills and sous vide Texas brisket.

            Korean grilled would work, some kind of meat pie would work.

          • Draznnl
            Draznnl commented
            Editing a comment
            Heck, my Grandmother would have said any brisket that wasn't braised was nontraditional. Personally I'm still working on getting "Traditional" Texas style brisket down. I feel what I've cooked up to now has been good, even real good on occasion, but not consistently great. When I get there, I'll be ready to move forward to experimentation. To put it in musical terms, I'm still learning my scales. Gotta have your scales down before you can move on to improv.

          There's much room for improvement. Folks are boating brisket (butcher paper in a foil boat), to my knowledge kayaking brisket is non-existent. In south Louisiana a "pirogue brisket" would rock.

          Soon brisket will be like bake potatoes and those great pork loins; 800 other ingredients needed to make it worth a crap.


            This thread reminded me of a video that Mad Scientist BBQ put out a month ago. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhPD1w_6jL0) In it he suggests -- with some interesting evidence -- that the salt-and-pepper only Texas rub notion is, essentially, a myth. Matt Pitman (Meat Church) also says something similar with discussing his brisket/beef rub.

            The general idea is that while the Aaron Franklins of the world will tell you it is just salt and pepper, there are other things in there as well.


              58limited Hey David, in the article they gave a shout out to your buddies over at 1701 BBQ. Good article Uncle Bob. Thanks for posting.
              Last edited by Panhead John; October 2, 2021, 11:28 AM.


              • 58limited
                58limited commented
                Editing a comment
                Don't know how I missed it but Daniel Vaughn wrote a pretty good article about 1701 on Sept. 1: https://www.texasmonthly.com/bbq/170...aumont-review/

                Quote from the article: "A restaurant seems like an odd side business for a family of morticians..." No comment except that 1701 makes wonderful BBQ that is excellent. When my friends ask if it is good I say that the taste varies from person to person.
                Last edited by 58limited; October 2, 2021, 02:34 PM.

              I've always felt that BBQ in general isn't complex or filled with technique. Like most classic dishes in all cuisines it comes from humble origins.. Brisket is tough and needs to be cooked long and slow. Salt and pepper are common, cheap and any cook will have it. Rinse and repeat for the common BBQ meats.

              It seems that people have learned that using better meat is crucial and after that, really, is it a hard thing to do? Yes, it's hard at scale, so pit masters like Tootsie and Franklin and others have an expertise that is different from what we do, but once you learn to buy good meat, trim it right and control temps... that's pretty much it.

              Oddly, I was surprised that 'brisket' as a search term hasn't really exploded at any point. It's seen a pretty consistent rise in interest over the last two decades:

              Click image for larger version  Name:	Screen Shot 2021-10-02 at 10.24.24 AM.png Views:	0 Size:	37.9 KB ID:	1103905

              So it makes sense that BBQ places have grown over time and now saturate places like Texas. Here in Seattle we didnt have any decent 'que places a decade ago and, while it's not like there, I can now pick from a handful of quality places. I suspect that we'll see more people start places outside to Texas, both Texan expats who for various reasons relocate and others who are simply learning, love it and decide to take the step.
              Last edited by rickgregory; October 2, 2021, 11:40 AM.


              • Troutman
                Troutman commented
                Editing a comment
                Snows uses select grade brisket. It’s more than just quality of meat (although that’s important) it’s techniques and style of cooking.

              Click image for larger version

Name:	0E64CFD2-A1FB-44A8-A683-73AEBB84648C.jpeg
Views:	282
Size:	262.6 KB
ID:	1103907 For a long time, I said the only BBQ cookbook you needed was Chris Lilly’s “Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book” plus the Amazing Ribs website. Then Aaron Franklin published his book. So, I added that to my list. Then Meathead published his book, and I added that. And said those are the only 3 you need.

              And then along came a whole slew of innovation ….. and now my BBQ cookbooks have exploded.

              I think Brisket will go on the same path very shortly.
              Last edited by ecowper; October 2, 2021, 11:37 AM.


                Originally posted by Michael_in_TX View Post
                This thread reminded me of a video that Mad Scientist BBQ put out a month ago. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhPD1w_6jL0) In it he suggests -- with some interesting evidence -- that the salt-and-pepper only Texas rub notion is, essentially, a myth. Matt Pitman (Meat Church) also says something similar with discussing his brisket/beef rub.

                The general idea is that while the Aaron Franklins of the world will tell you it is just salt and pepper, there are other things in there as well.
                The thing about it is that apparently Aaron Franklin very well may be blowing smoke regarding "just salt and pepper". According to a post a read regarding John Lewis, who helped Franklin open Franklin's BBQ and was a pitmaster there, they never used just salt and pepper. The rub recipe that Lewis shared with someone that they used is 8 parts course ground pepper, 3 parts Lawry's Seasoning Salt, 3 parts Kosher salt, and one part granulated garlic. They rubbed down the brisket with a half and half mixture of yellow mustard and pickle juice and then put on the rub. I honestly can't remember where I got this, but I screen shot the recipe from the story.

                Attached Files


                • BluesDaddy
                  BluesDaddy commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Just to note, at the end of this interview with Texas Monthly, Lewis says he never cooked a brisket in his life with just salt and pepper, including at Franklin's. https://www.texasmonthly.com/bbq/int...f-la-barbecue/

                • Michael_in_TX
                  Michael_in_TX commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thank you! That was actually what I was initially looking for!

                • rickgregory
                  rickgregory commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Lewis comes off as if there were some conflicts at Franklin. Odd.

                Due respect to innovators. I am a salt and pepper brisket lover. If I can find beef cooked with wood and smoke that tastes great, I have what I need.



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