Texas style barbecue? Everything you need to know.
17 Feb 2023
What is Texas Barbecue
Texas barbecue is a style of slow-cooked smoked meat that originated in the state of Texas. It consists of cooking beef brisket, pork ribs, and/or sausage over wood or charcoal in an open pit using indirect heat.
Texas barbecue is usually seasoned with a dry rub consisting of spices such as black pepper, cumin, garlic powder, and chili powder. This combination of spices results in a complex flavor that has become synonymous with Texas barbecue.
## The History Texas barbecue
Texas BBQ has a long and fascinating history. It dates back to the early 1800s with the first settlers of Texas, who needed a way to preserve their meat as they made their way down South. They adapted the traditional American barbecue techniques of cooking over an open flame, but used native ingredients such as mesquite wood for flavor.
This style of barbecue eventually became the Texas style we know today.
In the mid 1800s, German immigrants started what is now known as Central Texas BBQ. This style of cooking was based on beef, slow-cooking it over smoke and using a dry rub to season it. This gave rise to the famous Texas BBQ joints that still exist today.
In the early 1900s, East Texas BBQ began to gain traction. This style of barbecue used pork and beef that was cooked low and slow with a sweet tomato-based sauce. This sweet, sticky sauce is still incredibly popular today in places like Memphis and the Carolinas.
Texas BBQ has been shaped by its rich history, combining different traditions and ingredients to form the style we know and love today.
From the German influence of Central Texas BBQ to East Texas's sweet tomato-based sauce, there is a lot to explore when it comes to Texas barbecue. Whether you prefer your brisket cooked low and slow or hot and quick, one thing is for sure: Texans take their barbecue seriously.
The Fires Burn Low and Slow
Low and slow is the key to achieving the best barbecue. The low and slow method of cooking means using indirect heat and keeping the temperature of your grill as low as possible, usually between 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit.
This will allow you to slowly cook your food over a longer period of time, allowing it to soak up all those delicious flavors.
With the low and slow method, the barbecue will be evenly cooked. Since you’re not cooking at a high temperature, it prevents the outside of your food from becoming too charred while still having that nice smoky flavor.
It also helps to lock in all those juicy flavors, creating some amazing tasting dishes! This makes it ideal for larger cuts of meat like brisket, ribs and pulled pork.
The low and slow method also helps to keep your meats tender and juicy. Not only does the indirect heat help to create an evenly cooked dish, but it also allows for more time for the fat in the meat to render away which will make your food tenderer and juicier. This makes it the perfect way to cook those tender cuts of meat!
Low and slow is definitely the way to go when it comes to creating tasty, restaurant-quality barbecue. While it might take a little more time, the result will be worth the wait. So fire up that grill and get ready for some delicious, mouthwatering barbecue!
Wood is favored over charcoal or gas
Cooking with mesquite wood is the preferred way to make Texas style barbecue because it adds an unmistakable flavor that can't be replicated any other way. The smoky, nutty notes of the wood infuse into the meat for a unique and delicious taste that you just can't get anywhere else.
There's nothing quite like biting into a juicy, mesquite-smoked brisket or pork shoulder. Not to mention that the scent of a mesquite fire wafting through the air is one of the most iconic aromas in Texas BBQ culture!
Plus, cooking with mesquite offers some practical advantages over charcoal and gas. The wood burns for a longer time than charcoal and offers more consistent heat than gas.
So, if you're looking for that slow-smoked flavor and tender, juicy meat, mesquite is definitely the way to go!
And with its unique flavor profile, texas style barbecue just isn't the same without a mesquite fire. It's no wonder why so many pitmasters choose mesquite as their go-to cooking fuel!
So, if you're looking to get your BBQ on in Texas style, it's time to put some mesquite wood on the fire!
Texas Beef Brisket
Texas beef brisket is one of the most beloved BBQ staples in Texas and beyond. Not only is it flavorful, but its unique texture makes it hard to replicate elsewhere! It's made by cooking a large cut of beef over a low heat for several hours until tender and juicy.
This slow-cooking process helps to break down the tough fibers in the beef, resulting in a succulent and flavorful meal. When it comes to Texas-style brisket, there's no better way to enjoy it than with traditional sides of light pickles, sweet onions, and warm bread.
The combination creates a symphony of flavors that can't be replicated anywhere else! Brisket also pairs well with a variety of side dishes, from mac and cheese to coleslaw.
No matter how you enjoy Texas beef brisket, it's sure to be an unforgettable experience. Whether served in sandwiches or as part of a larger meal, the flavor is robust and unforgettable.
And if you're lucky enough to find yourself in Texas one day, be sure to make it a point to try out some of the state's delicious beef brisket! You won't be sorry.
The Two Types of Brisket
Brisket is an incredibly flavorful cut of meat that has become a popular ingredient in all sorts of dishes. It's especially beloved for its bold flavor and the deliciousness it adds to any dish.
The two main types of brisket are moist and lean, each with their own unique characteristics.
Moist brisket is the most popular type and has a higher fat content than lean brisket. This makes the meat incredibly tender, juicy, and full of flavor. It's great for slow cooking methods like smoking or braising since the additional fat helps lock in moisture and make the meat even more flavorful. It's perfect for barbecues since you can get that characteristic smoky flavor and still enjoy the tenderness of the meat.
On the other hand, lean brisket is a great option for dishes that require faster cooking methods since its lower fat content allows it to cook quickly. It has a more intense beefy flavor than moist brisket, making it perfect for flavorful stews or tacos. It's also a healthier option since it contains less fat, so you can enjoy the bold flavors without worrying about your health.
Whether you go for moist or lean brisket, both types are sure to add delicious flavor to any dish. So the next time you're looking for some bold and flavorful ingredients, don't forget about these two types of brisket. They're sure to make your meal even more delicious!
Sausage is Historically Important
When it comes to the history of sausage in Texas barbecue, it's a flavor that has been around for centuries. Sausage has been a part of the region's culinary landscape since Spanish settlers first arrived in the 1700s, introducing chorizo and other sausages to the area. Soon enough, this delicious meat had become an integral part of Texas barbecue.
In the 1800s, German immigrants brought their own sausages to Texas and began producing them in the state. By the 1900s, sausage had become such a staple of the local cuisine that it was even included in some historical cookbooks from the era. The popularity of sausage only increased as more new flavors and varieties of sausage were introduced to the region.
Today, sausage remains an integral part of Texas barbecue, its flavors are incredibly diverse, ranging from traditional kielbasa sausages to zingy jalapeno and cheddar stuffed sausage and everything in between. It's no wonder why it's been such a popular part of regional cuisine for so many years – sausage is simply delicious!
BBQ Pork Ribs
BBQ ribs are an essential part of Texas barbecue. They have been a staple of the Lone Star State’s barbecue culture for generations, and with good reason!
For starters, the flavor combination of slow-smoked pork ribs and savory, smoky spices is truly hard to beat. Whether you’re piling them high on your plate or savoring them one-by-one, juicy BBQ ribs are a must for any Texas barbecue meal.
The secret to making delicious BBQ ribs lies in the combination of spices and techniques used in the cooking process.
In Texas, we’re lucky to have access to some of the tastiest marinades and flavorful rubs around. From classic mesquite flavors to spicy chipotle-based recipes, there’s something to please everyone’s palate when it comes to BBQ ribs.
And then of course, there’s the slow-smoking process that gives these succulent cuts their signature flavor and texture.
4 Styles of Texas Barbecue
Central Texas Style Barbecue
Central Texas Barbecue is known for its unique style and smoky flavor. The meat, usually beef brisket, pork ribs or sausage, is cooked over mesquite wood which gives it a distinct smokey taste and is typically served with no sauce as the flavor of the meat speaks for itself.
It is traditionally served with white bread and pickles, but can also come with potato salad or coleslaw. Central Texas Barbecue is often referred to as "Texas Style Barbecue" because of its distinctive blend of seasonings and spices.
East Texas Style Barbecue
East Texas Barbecue has a distinct flavor and style of its own. It generally includes beef briskets, pork ribs, or sausages that are slow cooked over oak wood for several hours.
Unlike Central Texas Barbecue which is served with no sauce. East Texas Barbecue is usually served with a thick tomato-based sauce. The meat is also often served with sides such as coleslaw, potato salad, or beans.
East Texas Barbecue is favoured for its sweet and smoky taste that is both tangy and spicy. It has become a popular style of barbecue throughout the United States.
West Texas Style Barbecue
West Texas barbecue is known for its unique style and flavors. Its distinct flavor profile comes from the use of mesquite wood to smoke the meat, giving it a smoky taste that complements the other ingredients.
It also features a variety of regional spices and sauces, such as pico de gallo, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, and garlic. The meat is usually cooked over an open flame or in a smoker, allowing the flavors to permeate the meat thoroughly.
There’s also a focus on low-and-slow cooking that allows the fat to render down and give the dish its characteristic tenderness.
South Texas Style Barbecue
South Texas style barbecue is a style of slow smoked meats that is influenced by Mexican and German flavors. This type of barbecue typically features beef, pork, or chicken cooked over mesquite charcoal for hours until it is falling-apart tender.
Sauces and rubs used in South Texas-style barbecue generally include chiles, garlic, cumin, oregano, and other spices. The dish is often served with tortillas, beans, rice, and salsa to create a complete meal.
White bread, Onions and Pickles are Free
When it comes to Texas Barbecue, you can always count on a few yummy sides. Bread, onions and pickles are essential staples that come on the side with nearly every barbecue plate in the Lone Star State!
The hearty bread helps soak up all of those flavorful juices from the meat while crunchy onions add texture.
And of course, the pickles bring a classic tartness that perfectly balances out all other components. With these three items on your plate, you can rest assured that your barbecue experience will be complete!
Other Texas BBQ Traditions
Texas Barbecue isn't just about the food - it's also about the experience. In many parts of Texas, barbecue restaurants are family-run and have been in operation for generations, so you can expect a warm, welcoming atmosphere coupled with traditional recipes that have been passed down through the years.
Whether you're stopping in for a quick bite or planning an all-day barbecue excursion with friends, there's no denying that Texas Barbecue is best enjoyed with other people!
What Are Common Texas Barbecue Side Dishes?
Texas barbecue sides often include coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, green beans, and potato casserole. Additional items such as pickles, chips or french fries are also common.
Depending on the style of barbecue, macaroni and cheese may be replaced by pinto beans or cream corn.
Other popular sides include green salad, corn on the cob, hushpuppies and sliced white bread. Popular desserts at Texas barbecues include banana pudding, peach cobbler and pecan pie.
Where to get the Original Texas Barbecue
If you’re looking for the same great taste that has made Central Texas Barbecue a favorite for generations, then make a visit to Dickey’s Barbecue Pit. Dickey's Barbecue is one of the oldest and most beloved barbecue chains in existence.
Founded in 1941, Dickey’s has been a Texas favorite for more than three-quarters of a century. Dickey’s Barbecue has been serving up slow-smoked pit barbecue throughout the country since its founding, with more than 500 locations in 43 states.
Place an order online to see what Texas Barbecue Restaurants are all about.
To learn more, follow Dickey’s Barbecue Pit on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Download the Dickey’s Barbecue Pit app from the Apple App Store or Google Play.