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TexMex grill
TexMex grill

The New York Times Seeks My Financial Advice

photo by Robb Walsh

photo by Robb Walsh

My wife says I’ve got to be the brokest guy ever quoted in the New York Times Financial section. Here’s part of what John Schwartz wrote in There’s No Future in Being an Oracle (Sunday July 12):

I DECIDED to take one more crack at this: divining the future by means of the old entrails-of-a-goat routine.

Now, goat guts aren’t part of my usual shopping run, but a food writer I know, Robb Walsh, noted on his Facebook page that he had recently bought a whole baby goat to grill up. I sent Robb a note asking if he had gutted the goat himself and, if so, whether he had happened to see the economy’s future in the aforementioned guts.Robb said the goat came pre-gutted but that the kidneys were still attached. While it cooked, he said, the fat around the kidneys melted and dripped, “which caused my mesquite fire to flare up and scorch the loin a little.”

“So if I had to extrapolate stock market advice from the little bit of goat entrails I had to work with,” he wrote, “I’d say when things get cooking and the fat hits the fire, you better move fast or your loin is going to get burnt.”

I might not make the grade as an oracle, but Robb shows real promise. If Ben Bernanke doesn’t work out as Fed chairman, Robb’s got my vote.

If they appoint me Fed chairman, I recommend you bury your money in a coffee can in a place where the goats can’t get at it.

BBQ 101 Class at Texas A&M

Luling City Market Sausage Smoker---Robb Walsh

Luling City Market Sausage Smoker---Robb Walsh

I’ll be giving the BBQ history lecture for students taking BBQ 101, a three-day professional training session sponsored by the National Barbecue Association at the Texas A&M Meat Science Center in College Station. The course begins on the morning of Tuesday May 12 and ends on Thursday May 14th after lunch. The class is intended for barbecue pros, but open to anyone.
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Texas Barbecue: A Metaphor for Life?

SXSW Texas BBQ Panel

SXSW Texas BBQ Panel

The first thing visitors to SXSW in Austin want to know is: “Where is the nearest barbecue joint and what do I order when I get there?” So this year Joe Nick Patoski organized a Texas barbecue panel at SXSW featuring John Morthland from Texas Monthly, Rick Schmidt from Kreuz Market, the Kitchen Sisters, photographer Wyatt Spadden and myself. The panel discussion focused on the basics, but there was still plenty of room for debate. Afterwards, I signed a whole lot of copies of the Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook at the SXSW bookstore.

Reactions were swiftly posted:
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The Tex-Mex Grill: Barbacoa de Borrego

From the Houston Press Eating Our Words blog:

This recipe originally appeared during the rodeo barbecue cook-off. It’s complicated, but the results are spectacular.

Borrego actually means mutton in Spanish, but for some reason, Anglos are more comfortable translating it to “lamb.” Which is odd when you think about it, since Anglos are usually squeamish about eating veal, suckling pig, tiny cabritos and other baby animals.

Mutton used to be a traditional meat in Texas barbecue and is still found at a few African-American barbecue joints such as Ruthie’s in Navasota and Sam’s in Austin. So call this “Mexican mutton barbecue” if you like.The smoky-flavored, falling-off-the-bone tender meat this recipe yields is even tastier than the the stewed goat dish called birria.

Mexican barbacoa is still made in a smoker by a few Tejano barbecue enthusiasts, but commercial pit barbacoa is all but extinct in Texas. Vera’s in Brownsville is one of the last restaurants in the state to use a real pit to make barbacoa. In the old days, Mexican ranch hands used to wrap cow heads up in canvas or maguey leaves and bury them in the coals. (In the movie Giant, Elizabeth Taylor faints when they unwrap the package and show her the head.) But health departments frown on such traditional barbacoa these days.
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