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BBQ Road Trip: Pits of the Piedmont

Feediing the cookhouse furnace at Lexington (North Carolina) Barbecue

The array of chimneys sticking out of the brick cookhouse wall at Lexington Barbecue in Lexington North Carolina are very impressive.
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Reverend Baby J’s BBQ

Baby J's in Palestine

Last Sunday Chris Shepherd and I lead our World BBQ Tour for the GHCVB. Last Monday I taught a BBQ class at my house with guest instructor and veteran cook-off judge, Richard Flores. Then on Tuesday I met photographer O Rufus Lovett at Baby J’s BBQ in Palestine. Lovett and I worked together on the Saveur story titled Zen and the Art of Barbecue.
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More on Foodways Texas BBQ Summer Camp

From Foodways Texas: This Houston Chronicle story by Greg Morago about our 1st Annual Barbecue Summer Camp brings back tasty memories. Stay tuned for details on our 2nd Annual Barbecue Summer Camp planned for Summer 2012 in College Station. We expect the 2012 camp to sell out, so become a member of Foodways Texas for 10% off registration and to make sure you get first chance to purchase tickets. We had a blast at Texas A&M this year and can’t wait for next summer. Hope to see you there.

Greg’s story after the jump:
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Real Texas BBQ: Last of the Open Pits

Mutton and mutton ribs (bottom right), pork shoulder (left) and beef shoulder clod (top) were the three meat choices at the annual Millheim Father’s day BBQ. German-style red potatoes in butter and pinto beans were the sides. There was also plenty of white bread, raw onion slices and pickles available. Beer was sold inside the hall, along with desserts. I lost a couple of bucks gambling on the Cake Wheel.

The Millheim Harmonie Verien fires up the old-fashioned open pit out back only once a year and cooks barbecue for the whole community. It’s a fund-raiser for the preservation of the dance hall. Some of the pit masters at this barbecue have been cooking for more than forty years. The German singing society was organized on August 30, 1872. The original music hall no longer exists, the current hall was built in 1938. Members of the Millheim Harmonie Verien claim their barbecue tradition goes back over a hundred years.

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Foodways Texas BBQ Summer Camp


Dr. Jeff Savell, the head of the Meat Science program at Texas A&M, led the whole hog demonstration at the first annual Foodways Texas BBQ Summer Camp last weekend. In fact, the pit was located in Dr. Savell’s backyard. The three day crash course in barbecue arts and science included some thoughts about BBQ culture from me, a sneak preview of a new Foodways Texas movie about pit master Vencil Mares of Taylor Cafe, and a whole lot of hands-on seasoning, smoking and work in the meat science lab.
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Do You Recognize This Place?

They sold boneless point brisket from “Heavy Beef,” but that’s all I know about the Open Air Bar-B-Q. (I read that on the sign.) I suspect it was somewhere near San Antonio because of that’s where most of the other restaurants in this folder were. But if you happen to recognize the place, I would love to know more about it.

The Ultimate Christmas Gift for Q-Heads

Looking for an extra special gift for the Q-head on your Christmas shopping list? How about a three day BBQ camp at the prestigious Texas A&M Meat Science Center?

This weekend seminar on barbecue cookery will feature sessions on butchering and the science of barbecue by Texas A&M Meat Science professors. It will also include a food lab on formulating rubs and sauces presented by a spice industry expert. Cooking demonstrations will include beef, pork and chicken. Seasonings, woods, and techniques like brining and injecting will be presented and the results will be compared.
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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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