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A BBQ Disaster Narrowly Averted

On Sunday I blogged and tweeted about smoking a Kobe brisket with Bellville Meat Market rub. @BBQsnob, the guy behind the Full Custom Gospel BBQ website tweeted about how good it sounded and I ended up inviting him and his family over for lunch on Memorial Day.

Sounds lovely, eh? It was…until I noticed something weird going on in the smoker.

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Memorial Day Smoke Signals

Update: Here’s what our Memorial Day barbecue looks like after five and a half hours of smoking. I think the pork is done, but I’m going to hit it with a wine jelly and mustard glaze just for the hell of it.

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Texas Q History

A producer for the History Channel named Paul La Blanc put this pilot together for a food history show to be called “A Bite of History.” I don’t think the show ever got broadcast–or at least I never heard anything about it. Here is the Texas segment.

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On Pastrami and BBQ Brisket

Pastrami and Eggs at Katz's

I had breakfast at Katz’s Deli on my recent visit to New York. (The Katz’s Delis in Houston and Austin have no association with the original New York Katz’s, by the way.) While I was eating this plate of smoked brisket and eggs, I couldn’t help thinking about a smoked brisket and egg taco I had at the Plantation BBQ trailer on 90A outside of Richmond a few weeks earlier.

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National Spotlight on BBQ Burgers at Guy's

BBQ burgers on the smoker

The barbecue burgers at Guy’s Meat Market on OST are remarkable. In a city of great burgers, they stand out because of the smoky flavor. To make them, half pound partially-cooked ground round patties are placed on the rotisserie in the barbecue smoker and smoked with hickory for about an hour. When they come off of the smoker at 11 a.m., there is already a line of people waiting. This Thursday, a famous food writer from New York was one of the guys waiting in line.

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At Barbecue Inn, You Order Fried Chicken

David Skrehot

“You know that’s gonna take 25 minutes,” the waitress will warn when you order fried chicken at the Barbecue Inn in North Houston. Just smile politely and tell her that’s fine with you. And be forewarned–nobody orders barbecue at Barbecue Inn.

The legendary restaurant at the corner of Yale and Crosstimbers opened in 1957. The waitresses have all been there for decades. And the cooks make the best fried chicken in the city. The chicken-fried steak in evaporated milk-spiked cream gravy is also sensational. And so are the “French-fried shrimp.” Get a baked potato and the waitress will bring you the stainless steel condiment carousel loaded with sour cream, green onion, cheddar and bacon bits.

I asked David Skrehot, the third-generation manager to fill me in on the history.

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Gil Vrazel's Czech Barbecue Shack

If you’re driving hungry on Highway 71 this weekend, consider skipping the burgers and kolaches at Hruska’s in Ellinger and visiting Gil Vrazel instead. Gil’s Bar-B-Que Shack is that little place just south of Hruska’s that’s only open on Saturday and Sunday. Gil and his wife work at the auction barn in Columbus on weekdays. They smoke their homemade Czech sausage, pork roast and brisket on the weekends only. The old smoker is tucked away in a screened-in shed behind the “main shack” which houses a couple of tables, a fridge for the drinks, and the cash register.

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Texas Pulled Pork BBQ

The pulled pork sliders at Little Big’s aren’t causing Carolina pit bosses like Ed Mitchell to lie awake at night, but they are pretty good for Houston, Texas. Try one next time you visit–and don’t forget to get the Sriracha remoulade dipping sauce for your french fries–that stuff is awesome.

Nobody’s pulled pork sandwich beats the one made by my buddy Ed Mitchell. But then again Mitchell single-handedly revived the whole hog style of barbecue in Raleigh, North Carolina. He mixes some crispy skin in with the creamy soft pork and barbecue sauce when he makes sandwiches. If you are ever over there, visit him at The Pit barbecue restaurant.

But the pulled pork sliders at Little Big’s got me thinking about smoked pork barbecue in general. Maybe some more Texas barbecue joints with good pork ought to consider making these kind of sandwiches. Maybe Clarence Pierson at Pierson & Company BBQ on T.C. Jester in Houston could come up with a Texas version of a pulled pork sandwich with his excellent smoked pork.

I’m just saying…

Eating Seriously in Texas

Ed Levine, the founder of the James Beard-nominated food blog Serious Eats, is on an eating tour of Texas this week. Yesterday, I picked him up at the airport and rushed him to the Shipley’s on Ella for a hot glazed doughnut. Our second stop was Pierson and Company in Acres Home for some East Texas-style Q.

Ed was so impressed with the falling-apart tender ribs and the mashed potato salad with pickle relish that he tried to kiss Clarence Pierson. The Houston eating continues today.

Foodways Texas (FTX)

Foodways Texas

Watch for more information about this Texas foodways group in the making.