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TexMex grill
TexMex grill

Washington Post Lauds The Tex-Mex Grill

Fidel Castro Eating BBQ in Houston, 1959 (from The Tex-Mex Grill)

Just in time for the Christmas shopping season, The Washington Post has named The Tex-Mex Grill, one of the Top Cookbooks of 2010. Listed under Ethnic/Regional, the book was described as: “Full of personality and great ideas; a must for carnivores.”

Many thanks to Washington Post cookbook reviewer Bonnie S. Benwick and the Washington Post Food gang for the honor.

In Houston, you will find a few autographed copies of the Tex-Mex Grill & Backyard Barbacoa Cookbook and some of my other books at the River Oaks Barnes & Noble on West Gray.

Desi-Mex: Masala BBQ and Tortilla Samosas

Masala BBQ Brisket at Himalaya

Chef Kaiser at Himalaya called the other day and told me to come and sample his Masala BBQ brisket. He rubs the packer’s cut brisket with a garum masala blend and then smokes it in his kitchen smoker. Kaiser’s barbecue sauce is an eyebrow-raising blend of commercial barbecue sauce and a tomato masala curry.

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Space City World BBQ Tour

Chris Shepherd, Byron Johnson, Robb Walsh (photo: Julie Soefer)

Catalan chef and barbecue fan Chris Shepherd and yours truly led a Houston Culinary Tour for readers of Texas Highways Magazine last Sunday. It was titled “The Space City World BBQ Tour” and it was meant to show off the wide variety of restaurants that serve some kind of BBQ in Houston. Chris Shepherd and I will lead this tour again in 2011, so keep an eye out if you want to sign up. The tours sell out fast.

More photos from the tour after the jump.

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The Real Chappell Hlll Sausage

“Wurst BBQ in Texas” was the title of the talk I gave at the Texas Dance Hall Symposium in Round Top on Saturday. I passed out samples of German sausage from Burton’s and Polish sausage from Chappell Hill Meat Market, all in natural casings. The Chappell Hill Meat Market and Cafe was founded by the Kopycinski family in 1939. The original business was located closer to downtown Chappell Hill, but when Highway 290 was rerouted in the 1970s, the business moved to its current location at the 290 stoplight in Chappell Hill. I had a sausage sandwich at the cafe while I was picking up my sample links. Don’t mistake the Kopycinski’s sausage for the packaged products made by the Chappell Hill Sausage Company, a latter-day copycat that makes the commercial style Chappell Hill Sausage found in grocery stores.

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Church Lady Q

Check out “Made in the Shade,” my article in the August/September issue of Garden & Gun Magazine. The piece includes listings of my favorite Texas shade tree barbecue stands including this group of church ladies in Rosenberg.

Any noteworthy barbecue pits operating on the side of the road, under a tree, or in a parking lot in your neighborhood?

Legends of Texas BBQ: Martin's in Bryan

The tabletops are worn out from dominoes

The ribs are outstanding at Martin’s Barbeque in Bryan. The brisket I sampled was very moist and tender, although it had that slightly steamed texture of a brisket that had been held for awhile in foil or a sealed hotel pan. The German potatoes are a favorite here, but all the sides are excellent. But the real attraction at Martin’s is the ancient Texas barbecue joint atmosphere. The tile floor in the kitchen has been worn down to the cement and the flues above the old brick pits are covered with creosote stalactites.

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The Making of a Food Film

Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA) film maker Joe York interviewed customers at Taylor Cafe yesterday on the subjects of barbecue and philosophy. York is here in Texas shooting segments for an upcoming SFA movie tentatively titled “Southern Food: The Movie.”

I haven’t been blogging much lately because I’ve spent the last week working with York on getting some tasty bits of Texas on tape. Hopefully, SFA will allow Foodways Texas (FTX) to reuse some of York’s footage for our own upcoming short films and informational videos.

Stay tuned.

Large Barbecue


In August of 1969, The University of Nebraska Animal Sciences Department reissued this pamphlet titled “The Large Quantity Barbecue.” (Click on the link to see the whole thing–the photos are amazing!) The booklet contains step-by-step instructions for building the kind of old-fashioned barbecue pit in which the meat is buried under a covering of dirt. You dig the pit three and half feet deep and determine the length by how much meat you are cooking– six feet of pit for every 200 pounds of meat.

This was always the method used for the XIT Reunion Barbecue. The world’s largest free barbecue will be held on Saturday August 8 this year. If you go, please send me some photos.

Early Morning at Franklin

The pit at Franklin Barbecue trailer in Austin was once used at John Mueller’s on Manor Road.

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Chef Ray's BBQ Stand

Chef Ray

A smoking barbecue trailer was drawing a crowd to a convenience store parking lot in north Houston. It was Friday evening around six and people were ready to party. Some of the customers hung around and joked with the guys passing out the rib and sausage plates. One guy sipped a beer and joined in the conversation from the open driver’s side window without getting out of his car.

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