Michael filled me in on a relevant Texas BBQ cook-off taking place this weekend in the tiny hamlet of Muenster, Texas. The Germanfest Barbeque Cook-Off on April 24th and 25th is open to all comers. As described on the website, the cook-off is "being brought back as a sanctioned event under the Lone Star Barbecue Society. Chicken, Pork Spare Ribs, Brisket and Sausage - $65 one or all. Sausage provided. All entry fees back to cookers. Jackpot Beans - $10 - back to Cookers. For additional information contact Margie Starke at 940.759.2227 or email email@example.com "
Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.
-THE PROPHETS OF SMOKED MEAT
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Crust - Layer of black goodness around the edges of brisket or ribs that holds excellent flavor.
Meat Caramel - After gratuitous amounts of smoke are applied, and liquid rendered fat has come to the surface of the meat to mix with the applied rub, a chemical rendering takes place that creates a sweet sticky layer on the surface of the meat that clings to the tip of your finger when pulled away from the meat. This is affectionately known as meat snot.
Parboiled - A process in which ribs are boiled before being grilled or smoked. This is what makes meat fall off the bone, and it also leaves good, flavorful fat in the water. It's cheating. Rendered - The process of cooking fat until it literally melts into the meat. Cook it too fast and the fat is absent from the meat creating dryness. If it's not cooked long enough, the fat remains gelatinous and unsavory. There's no need to put well rendered fat aside. Roast-Beefy - Brisket that hasn't been bathed in smoke, but rather tastes as if it was thrown in an oven like any hunk of roast beef. It might be good food, but it's not BBQ. Sauced - Unsolicited BBQ sauce slathered over top of your meat, usually to add what was non-existent flavor in the meat. Smoke Line - Red line around the outside edge of sliced brisket just below the crust that signifies an adequate amount of time in the smoker. Sugar Cookie - Fat that turns to a slightly sweet and crispy flavorful nugget after copius amounts of smoke are applied.