TFP BBQ History Ep. 50 - BBQ History project introduction

April 30, 2018

The history of barbecue in the state of Texas cannot be confined to one story, one influence, or even one method of cooking. In a state this size with so much history, barbecue styles vary based on different influences throughout the regions of the state.

Low and slow or hot and fast? Pork or beef? sauced or dry? Oak or mesquite? We wanted to explore where the primary origins of Texas Barbecue came from and how Texas has not one, but multiple signature styles of barbecue

We are documenting Texas' barbecue history in a series of episodes where we will discuss our research and interview people from different regions to help provide a unique insight into what made Texas barbecue what it was and what it is today.

We will concentrate our efforts into four primary styles with unique traditions. Here's a quick overview:

  • East Texas draws much of its barbecue roots from slavery in the 19th century which resulted in a heavy southern barbecue influence. Pork is prevalent in this region and saucing of meat is a common occurrence.
  • South Texas to this day maintains a rich barbecue tradition of barbacoa due to its proximity to Mexico and large Mexican American population.
  • Central Texas barbecue draws from its Czech and German immigration with sausages made from meat trimmings and simply seasoned meats. Meat Markets sold barbecue from the counter and patrons grabbed items like pickles and bread off the store shelves, leaving unused condiments to be shared.
  • West Texas barbecue origins go back to cattle trails and live fire cooking. Mesquite is the prominent wood type and logs are burned to coals with meats cooked over direct heat to give a distinct grilled flavor.

Listen in to this episode as we get prepared to dive headfirst into this project!

Note that we will continue our more standard episodes in between as the interviews and locations will take some time to cover. These will be marked with BBQ History in the title.

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