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It's BBQ Time

In the state of Texas, barbecue is more than just a meal option. It’s a source of regional pride, a celebration of community, and the passing down of family tradition. Depending upon which area of the state you visit, there are regional differences in just what denotes the quintessential Texas barbecue. While there are no hard-and-fast rules, regional preferences look something like this.

  • East and South Texas barbecue emphasizes sauce whileCentral Texas is all about the rub.

  • West Texas barbecue is cooked at a high temperature with meat directly over the heat while Central Texas prefers meat cooked low and slow over indirect heat.

  • Central Texas burns oak and pecan wood while West Texasprefers mesquite.

A quick history lesson of the state explains the origins of many of these preferences.

  • Czech and German settlers made Central Texas their home where they opened butcher shops and often smoked leftover meat to preserve it then offered these smoked meats to customers. They were so popular that many butcher shops transitioned into barbecue joints.

  • In South Texas, Mexican farm hands introduced “barbacoa” made by wrapping a cow’s head in damp leaves and placing it in a pit with hot coals for several hours.

  • African-Americans settled in East Texas bringing with them their traditional saucy, chopped barbecue.

  • West Texas barbecue dates back to the days of cattle drives and trailblazing when cowboys cooked over open fires, hence the name “cowboy barbecue”.

One thing’s for sure. When you say “barbecue” in Texas, you generally mean beef. But whether you’re smoking brisket, ribs, sausage, or even turkey or pulled pork, barbecue is a part of our Texan identity. And wherever you are in this big state, you can rest assured there’s a slap-your-mama good barbecue joint not far away.

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