Aggies participate in 5th Houston BBQ Festival

Spencer Tindel, Adam Murray, Marc Vogelsang, Libby Schneider, Kensie Lackey, Jordan Hevner, Bryan Bracewell, Erika Victor, Sandy Martinez, Madalynn Kainer, Vanessa Sanchez, Davey Griffin, Becca Kirkpatrick, Ray Riley, Katy Jo Nickelson, and Kadden Kothmann at Houston BBQ Festival
Spencer Tindel, Adam Murray, Marc Vogelsang, Libby Schneider, Kensie Lackey, Jordan Hevner, Bryan Bracewell, Erika Victor, Sandy Martinez, Madalynn Kainer, Vanessa Sanchez, Davey Griffin, Becca Kirkpatrick, Ray Riley, Katy Jo Nickelson, and Kadden Kothmann at the Houston BBQ Festival

Spencer Tindel, Adam Murray, Marc Vogelsang, Libby Schneider, Kenzie Lackey, Jordan Hevner, Bryan Bracewell, Erika Victor, Sandy Martinez, Madalynn Kainer, Vanessa Sanchez, Davey Griffin, Becca Kirkpatrick, Ray Riley, Katy Jo Nickelson, and Kadden Kothmann at the Houston BBQ Festival

A large group of Aggies participated in the 5th Houston BBQ Festival, which was held in the NRG Park area in Houston on Sunday, April 9, 2017. Those in attendance from Texas A&M University were faculty Davey Griffin, Ray Riley, and Jeff Savell, and students Jordan Hevner, Madalynn Kainer, Becca Kirkpatrick, Kadden Kothmann, Kenzie Lackey, Sandy Martinez, Adam Murray, Katy Jo Nickelson, Vanessa Sanchez, Libby Schneider, Spencer Tindel, Erika Victor, and Marc Vogelsang.

Ray Riley visiting with Fredrick Khoury, 1934 BBQ Sauce

Ray Riley visiting with Fredrick Khoury, 1934 BBQ Sauce

Davey Griffin visiting with Wayne Mueller

Davey Griffin visiting with Wayne Mueller

We enjoy going to the festival each year to talk to folks about Texas Barbecue and to see so many of the pitmasters we have gotten to know through festivals and camps and to make new acquaintances with those we have not met yet. One of the most common questions we get is not about how to cook better barbecue, but how to get into the always-sold-out Barbecue Summer Camp and Camp Brisket, two outstanding programs we conduct with Foodways Texas.

Davey Griffin, Chris Reid, and Jonathan Cohen

Davey Griffin, Chris Reid, and Jonathan Cohen

Davey Griffin, Jason Tedford, and Ray Riley

Davey Griffin, Jason Tedford, and Ray Riley

Spencer and Marc sampling at Tin Roof BBQ

Spencer and Marc sampling at Tin Roof BBQ

Ray Riley, Davey Griffin, and Patrick Reardon

Ray Riley, Davey Griffin, and Patrick Reardon

The Houston BBQ Festival has two great champions, Chris Reid and Michael Fulmer. Chris and Michael are the event founders, and thanks for always inviting us each year and allowing us to interact with barbecue specialists and enthusiasts from around the Houston area. Your passion for shedding the spotlight on these great barbecue endeavors is making a difference throughout the southeast Texas area.

Davey Griffin, Ray Riley, Wayne Kammerl, Russell Roegels, and Misty Roegels at Houston BBQ Festival

Davey Griffin, Ray Riley, Wayne Kammerl, Russell Roegels, and Misty Roegels

With Dr Savell @jwsavell from Texas A&M Meat Science @houbbq

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We had a great time, but sampled way too much. The food was great, but the fun and fellowship was even greater. We look forward to next year’s event, and appreciate the opportunity to participate in these events across the state.

Camp Brisket, 2017 edition

Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue, talking about how to trim beef briskets
Davey Griffin leading beef brisket trimming for Camp Brisket

Davey Griffin leading beef brisket trimming for Camp Brisket

The fifth Camp Brisket, a joint venture between Foodways Texas and the Meat Science Section of the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University, was held on January 6-7, 2017 at the Rosenthal Meat Center and the Beef Cattle Center at the O.D. Butler Animal Science Complex. About 60 participants from around the U.S. embarked on a journey to learn more about the ultimate challenge preparing that most difficult dish of Texas Barbecue cuisine, the brisket.

Camp Brisket was coordinated by Texas A&M University meat science educators, Davey Griffin, Ray Riley, and Jeff Savell, and who were assisted by graduate students, undergraduate students, staff, and friends and family including Clay Eastwood, Aeriel Belk, Becca Kirkpatrick, Jill Jobe, Spencer Tindel, Baylee Bessire, Jordan Hevner, Adam Murray, Drew Cassens, Courtney Boykin, Crystal Waters, Madalynn Kainer, Katy Jo Nickelson, and Jennifer Willis. These great folks ensured that the needs of the briskets and guests were attended to through the camp.

Greetings and introductions are part of the beginning of each Camp Brisket. Getting to know each other is one way to create community that is so important when we conduct these workshops.

Marvin Bendele, Foodways Texas, giving an introduction to Camp Brisket

Marvin Bendele, Foodways Texas, giving an introduction to Camp Brisket

Participant introduction including Tootsie Tomanetz, Snow's BBQ

Participant introduction including Tootsie Tomanetz, Snow’s BBQ

Brisket trimming and seasoning

Before Camp Brisket starts, work begins on procuring the briskets representing different types and grades, trimming them, and applying the salt/pepper seasoning (we used a half and half mix by volume of Kosher salt and course ground pepper with 3/4 cup applied to each brisket). Davey Griffin worked with the grad students to get the briskets ready to go for the camp.

Boxes of beef briskets

Boxes of beef briskets

Bringing the team together to trim briskets

Bringing the team together to trim briskets

Vacuum packaged packer-style briskets

Vacuum packaged packer-style briskets

Davey Griffin demonstrating brisket trimming to Aeriel Belk and Becca Kirkpatrick

Davey Griffin demonstrating brisket trimming to Aeriel Belk and Becca Kirkpatrick

Trimming briskets

Trimming briskets

Spencer Tindel and Becca Kirkpatrick seasoning brisket

Spencer Tindel and Becca Kirkpatrick seasoning brisket

Seasoning brisket

Seasoning brisket

Salt and pepper seasoned beef briskets

Salt and pepper seasoned beef briskets

Brisket history, background, and anatomy

The first talks were given by Robb Walsh, noted food and cookbook writer, on history of the use of briskets for Texas Barbecue, Jess Pryles, cook, writer, and TV personality, on the difference between restaurant and competition brisket, and Davey Griffin, on the anatomy of a brisket.

Robb Walsh, talking about the history of beef briskets used in Texas barbecue

Robb Walsh, talking about the history of beef briskets used in Texas barbecue

Jess Pryles, discussing the differences between restaurant and competition brisket

Jess Pryles, discussing the differences between restaurant and competition brisket

Davey Griffin discussing the anatomy of a brisket

Davey Griffin discussing the anatomy of a brisket

Davey Griffin dissecting a brisket

Davey Griffin dissecting a brisket

Knife selection, brisket trimming, and cooked brisket slicing

Proper knife use and sharpening was covered by Jeff Savell before a demonstration on trimming raw briskets and slicing cooked briskets was led by Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas.

Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue at Camp Brisket

Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue

Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue, talking about how to trim beef briskets

Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue, talking about how to trim beef briskets

Tasting different grades of brisket

The first tasting test we did was for different grades of brisket. We obtained five different grades/types of briskets for use in this demonstration: Prime, Certified Angus Beef, Wagyu, Choice, and Select. These briskets and the remaining ones used for the camp were trimmed to have no more than about 1/4 inch of fat remaining anywhere. Each brisket was seasoned with 3/4-cup of a half and half mixture (by volume) of Kosher salt and coarse-ground black pepper. The briskets for the grade/type demonstration were cooked on Russell Roegel’s of Roegels Barbecue pit with John Brotherton of Brotherton BBQ managing the cooking cycle. Oak logs were the source of heat and smoke.

Each grade/type of brisket was sliced so that each participant received a sample to rate on a ballot. When completed, the ballots were tabulated by the students to determine whether the participants could tell the difference in the grades or types of brisket. The winner? The result of the taste test was a tie for first between Prime and Wagyu with Certified Angus Beef, Choice, and Select receiving similar consumer overall like ratings. Each year, this taste comparison usually results in Prime and Wagyu near the top and Select being near the bottom in ratings. There are perceivable differences in eating quality among different grades and types of briskets, and those interested in producing the best cooked briskets possible need to be aware of this.

Serving sliced briskets to participants

Serving sliced briskets to participants

Beef grading/certification discussion

Davey Griffin and Ray Riley led a discussion and demonstration of beef grading.

Ray Riley showing marbling card used in USDA beef quality grading

Participants viewing a beef carcass

Ray Riley showing marbling card used in USDA beef quality grading

Ray Riley showing marbling card used in USDA beef quality grading

Wood and Smoke panel

There was a Wood and Smoke panel at the end of the afternoon featuring Daniel Vaughn, Texas Monthly barbecue editor, as the moderator, Lance Kirkpatrick, Stiles Switch BBQ and Brew; Aaron Franklin; Kevin Kolman, Weber Grills; Tom Perini, Perini Ranch Steakhouse; Joe Riscky, Riscky’s Barbecue; Homer Robertson, World Champion Chuck Wagon competitor and Fort Worth Fire Department leader; and Nick Nickelson. Post oak is the featured wood for Texas Barbecue based on its abundance and how the smoke complements beef. Nick Nickelson discussed the topic of using properly seasoned wood to smoke with and how important it was to getting a clean fire that imparts the good aspects of the smoke onto the product. The positives and negatives of the other woods most commonly used in smoking — hickory, mesquite, and pecan — were discussed.

Daniel Vaughn, Barbecue editor, Texas Monthly Magazine, and moderator, Fire and Smoke panel at Camp Brisket

Daniel Vaughn, Barbecue editor, Texas Monthly Magazine, and moderator, Fire and Smoke panel at Camp Brisket

Tom Perini, Perini Ranch Steakhouse

Tom Perini, Perini Ranch Steakhouse

Fire and Smoke panel at Camp Brisket

Fire and Smoke panel at Camp Brisket

Daniel Vaughn, Barbecue editor, Texas Monthly Magazine, and moderator, Fire and Smoke panel at Camp Brisket

Homer Robertson

Friday night dinner

We moved to the Beef Center for the rest of the program. We were blessed to have two great people involved with dinner that night. Evan LeRoy from Austin provided the main meal with brisket and beef short ribs from 44 Farms. Homer Robertson, world champion chuck wagon competitor, provided bread pudding and peach cobbler for the crowd. The food was enjoyed by all!

Chuck wagon supper prep @foodwaystexas Camp Brisket.

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Overnight smoking at Camp Brisket

The next brisket comparison was to smoke briskets overnight using the four primary woods — oak, hickory, mesquite, and pecan. Multiple pits were used for the overnight cooking. We used Choice briskets, trimmed and seasoned as mentioned before, for the comparison, and briskets were put on the smokers around 8 pm on Friday evening so that they would be ready to serve around lunch time on Saturday. Kevin Kolman from Weber Grills started four Weber Smokey Mountain cookers with chunks from the four woods as part of the demonstration.

The staff, students, and family tended to the pits overnight. Temperatures plunged to the upper teens, which continues the trend where weather is a factor at Camp Brisket.

Chuck wagon breakfast, starting fires, and pit discussion

Saturday morning became a time for a great chuck wagon breakfast of biscuits and gravy and breakfast tacos from Homer Robertson, Ty Robertson, Arthur Garcia, and friends, a primer on starting fires in off-set pits and Weber Smokey Mountain cookers, a review of the different types of pits we used to cook with, and a discussion by Homer Robertson, Tom Perini, and Tootsie Tomenetz, Snow’s BBQ about cooking over direct coals.

Chuck wagon breakfast being served

Chuck wagon breakfast being served

Tom Perini Mike Micallef, and Homer Robertson

Tom Perini Mike Micallef, and Homer Robertson

Pitt's and Spitt's pellet smoker

Pitt’s and Spitt’s pellet smoker

Jambo smoker

Jambo smoker

Offset smoker

Offset smoker

John Brotherton being interviewed by KBTX-TV reporter at Camp Brisket

John Brotherton being interviewed by KBTX-TV reporter at Camp Brisket

Patrick Reardon, discussing cooking on his Jambo, at Camp Brisket

Patrick Reardon, discussing cooking on his Jambo, at Camp Brisket

Davey Griffin describing a smoker

Davey Griffin describing a smoker

John Brotherton, Brotherton BBQ

John Brotherton, Brotherton BBQ

Kevin Kolman, Weber Grills, talking about building a fire in the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker

Ryan Zboril, Pitt’s and Spitt’s

Russell Roegel's, Roegel's Barbecue

Russell Roegel’s, Roegel’s Barbecue

Kevin Kolman, Weber Grills, talking about building a fire in the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker

Kevin Kolman, Weber Grills, talking about building a fire in the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker

Homer Robertson discussing building a fire to make coals to cook over

Homer Robertson discussing building a fire to make coals to cook over

Tom Perini, Perini Ranch Steakhouse, talking about how he cooks with direct coals

Tom Perini, Perini Ranch Steakhouse, talking about how he cooks with direct coals

Tootsie Tomanetz, Snow's BBQ, discussing cooking over direct coals

Tootsie Tomanetz, Snow’s BBQ, discussing cooking over direct coals

Pit design and maintenance panel

A pit design and maintenance panel was composed of Aaron Franklin; Russell Roegels, Roegels Barbecue; Kerry Bexley, Snow’s BBQ; Wayne Mueller, Louie Mueller Barbecue; Bryan Bracewell, Southside Market and Barbeque; Ryan Zboril, Pitt’s and Spitt’s; Kevin Kolman, with Davey Griffin as the moderator. Each panelist added his own take on what types of pits/cookers they preferred and what they did to make sure they were used to their best ability.

Davey Griffin moderating the Pit Design and Maintenance panel at Camp Brisket

Davey Griffin moderating the Pit Design and Maintenance panel at Camp Brisket

Kevin Kolman, Weber Grills, on the Pit Design and Maintenance panel at Camp Brisket

Kevin Kolman, Weber Grills, on the Pit Design and Maintenance panel at Camp Brisket

Wayne Mueller, Louie Mueller Barbecue

Wayne Mueller, Louie Mueller Barbecue

Kerry Bexley, Snow's BBQ

Kerry Bexley, Snow’s BBQ

Ryan Zboril, Pitt's and Spitt's

Ryan Zboril, Pitt’s and Spitt’s

Aaron Franklin, Frank Barbecue on the Pit Design and Maintenance panel at Camp Brisket

Aaron Franklin, Frank Barbecue on the Pit Design and Maintenance panel at Camp Brisket

Ryan Zboril, Pitt's and Spitt's, on Pit Design and Maintenance panel at Camp Brisket

Russell Roegels, Roegels Barbecue, Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue, and Kerry Bexley, Snow’s BBQ

Camp Brisket participants at the Beef Cattle Center

Camp Brisket participants at the Beef Cattle Center

Seasonings and barbecue science

Brandon Burrows, Kerry Ingredients and Jeff Savell spent some time going over different seasonings outside of the normal use of salt and pepper. Jeff discussed some of the science behind meat and barbecue and fielded questions from the crowd regarding a wide array of topics.

Smoke tasting panel

Lunch that day was the tasting of the briskets prepared using the four different smokes — oak, hickory, mesquite, and pecan. Each participant received a small slice of brisket from each smoke and were asked to rate it on 9-point scales. Students tabulated the results, and there was a three-way tie among mesquite, pecan, and hickory with oak being different from mesquite, but not from pecan or hickory. Most years, either oak or hickory wins this competition.

Life as a pitmaster panel

One of the most highly regarded parts of Camp Brisket is the final panel, moderated by Jeff Savell, which featured Russell Roegels, Bryan Bracewell, Aaron Franklin, Wayne Mueller, Evan LeRoy, John Brotherton, Tootsie Tomanetz, Kerry Bexley. The title of the panel was “Life as a Pitmaster,” and it gave each person a time to reflect on their path to where they are now, the challenges and opportunities they each face, and why in this crazy world of barbecue, they love this business so much.

Aaron Franklin, Wayne Mueller, Evan LeRoy, John Brotherton, Bryan Bracewell, Tootsie Tomanetz, Kerry Bexley, Russell Roegels, and Jeff Savell (photo courtesy of Kelly Yandell)

Aaron Franklin, Wayne Mueller, Evan LeRoy, John Brotherton, Bryan Bracewell, Tootsie Tomanetz, Kerry Bexley, Russell Roegels, and Jeff Savell (photo courtesy of Kelly Yandell)

Send off meal

The final meal is a comparison of wrapped versus unwrapped briskets. At this point, we do not collect ballots any more to see who liked what. Most participants are facing “brisket fatigue” at this point, and are ready for something fairly light as they depart.

Unwrapped and foil-wrapped briskets at Camp Brisket

Unwrapped and foil-wrapped briskets at Camp Brisket

We end Camp Brisket for this year and know that many people from all walks of life have come together to bond over barbecue in general, but with the common goal of how to tackle the challenge that is the brisket! Thanks to Kelly Yandell, Foodways Texas board member, for coming and taking such great photos and being at the camp to support everyone.

Aaron Franklin being interviewed by Blakeley Galbraith, KBTX-TV

Aaron Franklin being interviewed by Blakeley Galbraith, KBTX-TV

John Brotherton placing peach-paper-wrapped brisket in warmer

John Brotherton placing peach-paper-wrapped brisket in warmer

Jeff Savell, Davey Griffin, and Ray Riley (photo courtesy of Kelly Yandell)

Jeff Savell, Davey Griffin, and Ray Riley (photo courtesy of Kelly Yandell)

Clay Eastwood removing vacuum package from brisket

Clay Eastwood removing vacuum package from brisket

Tom Perini and Nick Nicholson

Tom Perini and Nick Nicholson

Third Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting held

Davey Griffin discussing marbling requirements for beef carcass quality grading
Davey Griffin discussing marbling requirements for beef carcass quality grading

Davey Griffin discussing marbling requirements for beef carcass quality grading at the Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting

Owners/operators and pitmasters from some of the leading barbecue restaurants throughout Texas participated in the third Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting, which was held at the Kleberg Animal and Food Science Center and the Rosenthal Meat Center on Monday, December 12, 2016. About 45 people were in attendance, and participants received updates on livestock and meat markets for beef, pork, chicken, and turkey by David Anderson, professor and extension economist, Department of Agricultural Economics, food safety overview for restaurants by Kerri Gehring, associate professor in the Department of Animal Science, beef carcass grading by Davey Griffin, professor and extension meat specialist and Ray Riley, manager, Rosenthal Meat Center, and beef carcass utilization and cut-out values by Griffin and Jeff Savell, distinguished professor and E.M. “Manny” Rosenthal Chairholder in the Department of Animal Science.

The meeting was sponsored by the E.M. “Manny” Rosenthal Chair in the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University, and Davey Griffin, Ray Riley, and Jeff Savell served as hosts with assistance from student workers, Madalynn Kainer, Kenna Turner, and Jordan Hevner. Graduate students Clay Eastwood and Courtney Boykin helped with the beef carcass and cut-out value demonstrations.

Joe Riscky, Riscky's Barbeque, Fort Worth

Joe Riscky, Riscky’s Barbeque, Fort Worth

Participants at the Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting

Participants at the Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting

Dr. Anderson gave an update on current market trends for livestock and meat. For the most part, meat production is increasing and with that, some prices may be softened during the upcoming year. While this is not necessarily good news for livestock and poultry producers, this could be good news for those in the restaurant business.

David Anderson talking about livestock and meat markets at the Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting

David Anderson talking about livestock and meat markets

Dr. Gehring talked about issues related to food safety and the foodservice industry. Foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, Clostridium perfringens, and Staphylococcus aureus. Gehring mentioned that most foodborne illnesses could be traced to undercooking, cross contamination, and improper storage and handling after cooking. She also noted that many recalls with meat and poultry processors have been attributed to undeclared allergens and that restaurant businesses need to be careful about how allergens are used in their facilities.

Kerri Gehring discussing food safety for the restaurant business

Kerri Gehring discussing food safety for the restaurant business

Evan LeRoy from Austin provided the lunch, which included smoked beef chuck roll, pork brisket, and a sweet potato dish. We thank Evan for serving such great food to the participants.

Evan LeRoy slicing products

Evan LeRoy slicing products

Evan LeRoy serving beef chuck roll and pork brisket to participants

Evan LeRoy serving beef chuck roll and pork brisket to participants

#chuck ready for lunch #whoop #howdy

A photo posted by Evan LeRoy (@evanleroybbq) on

After lunch, the group moved to the Rosenthal Meat Center for a beef carcass grading demonstration led by Davey Griffin and Ray Riley. Participants were suited up with frocks, hard hats, hairnets, and, where appropriate, beard nets to spend time in the refrigerated cooler learning about beef carcass quality and yield grading.

Davey Griffin talking about beef carcasses in the Rosenthal Meat Center

Davey Griffin talking about beef carcasses in the Rosenthal Meat Center

Ray Riley ribbing a beef carcass at the Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting

Ray Riley ribbing a beef carcass

Tootsie Tomanetz and Clay Cowgill, Snow's BBQ, Lexington, Texas

Tootsie Tomanetz and Clay Cowgill, Snow’s BBQ, Lexington, Texas

After the carcass evaluation segment, the participants moved to the Rosenthal Meat Center classroom to learn more about beef carcass cut-out utilization and value. Davey Griffin demonstrated the breakdown of a beef chuck roll to show some of the muscles that could be used for barbecue and other cooking applications.

Davey Griffin discussing beef carcass cutout values and utilization

Davey Griffin discussing beef carcass cutout values and utilization

Davey Griffin discussing the beef chuck roll

Davey Griffin discussing the beef chuck roll

Davey Griffin cutting up a beef chuck roll

Davey Griffin cutting up a beef chuck roll

The next Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting will be held next December, and we look forward to our continued work with the people in the business of making the best barbecue around.

Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting in the news

Top pitmasters convene for third-annual Texas Barbecue Town Hall at Texas A&M by Jake Walker

A&M BBQ Town Hall Meeting

 

Aggies participate in TMBBQ FEST 2016

Davey Griffin, Carley Armstrong, Kathleen Meredith, Libby Schneider, Marc Vogelsang, Taylor Rowland, Spencer Tindel, Adam Murray, Katy Jo Nickelson, Kenzie Lackey, Erika Victor, Madalynn Kainer, Jeff Savell, and Kadden Kothmann
Davey Griffin, Carley Armstrong, Kathleen Meredith, Libby Schneider, Marc Vogelsang, Taylor Rowland, Spencer Tindel, Adam Murray, Katy Jo Nickelson, Kenzie Lackey, Erika Victor, Madalynn Kainer, Jeff Savell, and Kadden Kothmann; TMBBQ FEST 2016

Davey Griffin, Carley Armstrong, Kathleen Meredith, Libby Schneider, Marc Vogelsang, Taylor Rowland, Spencer Tindel, Adam Murray, Katy Jo Nickelson, Kenzie Lackey, Erika Victor, Madalynn Kainer, Jeff Savell, and Kadden Kothmann at the TMBBQ FEST 2016

Faculty and students of the Texas Barbecue program at Texas A&M University participated in the TMBBQ FEST 2016 held at the Long Center in Austin, Texas on Sunday, October 30, 2016. Texas A&M University is a sponsor of the TMBBQ FEST 2016, making it the sixth year for our participation in this event. Faculty members Davey Griffin, Jeff Savell, and John Chivvis were joined by graduate students Adam Murray, Katy Jo Nickelson, and Spencer Tindel, and undergraduate students Carley Armstrong, Madalynn Kainer, Kadden Kothmann, Kenzie Lackey, Kathleen Meredith, Taylor Rowland, Libby Schneider, Erika Victor, and Marc Vogelsang. These students are just part of those who provide such great leadership for ANSC 117, Texas Barbecue.

Barbecue Genius Counter

We had our booth in the middle of the barbecue vendors, which allowed us to visit with a great number of the festival participants. We answered many barbecue questions, but the main ones were about how to enroll in the Barbecue Summer Camp and Camp Brisket, two great programs we conduct in conjunction with Foodways Texas. The short answer is that these programs fill up fast, and that it is very difficult to meet the demand we have for these two camps.

Jack Timmons, Jack's BBQ, Seattle, being greeted by Jeff Savell and Davey Griffin

Jack Timmons, Jack’s BBQ, Seattle, being greeted by Jeff Savell and Davey Griffin

Kadden with his camera outside our booth

Kadden with his camera outside our booth

Adam talking to interested folks about barbecue

Adam talking to interested folks about barbecue

Former student glad to see Texas A&M University represented at TM BBQ FEST 2016

Former student glad to see Texas A&M University represented at TMBBQ FEST 2016

Kathleen answering questions

Kathleen answering questions

Visiting pitmasters

Going to the TMBBQ FEST 2016 would be nothing without having the chance to visit with old friends, make new ones, and eat some great barbecue and other specialities that the amazing folks prepare for the event.

Kerry Bexley and Tootsie Tomanetz, Snow's BBQ with Texas A&M University students

Kerry Bexley and Tootsie Tomanetz, Snow’s BBQ with Texas A&M University students

Catherine Stiles, Stiles Switch BBQ talking to Davey Griffin

Catherine Stiles, Stiles Switch BBQ talking to Davey Griffin

Davey Griffin talking to Texas Monthly BBQ Editor, Daniel Vaughn

Davey Griffin talking to Texas Monthly BBQ Editor, Daniel Vaughn

Madalynn sharing a laugh with Miss Tootsie

Madalynn sharing a laugh with Miss Tootsie

Aaron Franklin with students; TM BBQ FEST 2016

Aaron Franklin with students

Enjoying great food

The ability to sample so much food is one of the great opportunities we have when we go to any of these festivals, especially the TMBBQ FEST. Here are some photos of the great food we were able to enjoy on Sunday.

Madalynn, Spencer, and Katy Jo chowing down on a tomahawk beef rib

Madalynn, Spencer, and Katy Jo chowing down on a tomahawk beef rib

Erika enjoying some sausage

Erika enjoying some sausage

Kenzie enjoying some barbecue

Kenzie enjoying some barbecue

Kathleen eyeing Aaron Franklin carving a beef brisket

Kathleen eyeing Aaron Franklin carving a beef brisket

Spencer grabbing some Hutchins BBQ goodies

Spencer grabbing some Hutchins BBQ goodies

Watching the Miller Smokehouse folks preparing some sausage

Watching the Miller Smokehouse folks preparing some sausage

We certainly enjoyed visiting with so many folks and eating such great food. We also loved taking so many students with us to the festival, which gave them the opportunity to learn so much about great barbecue and those who prepare it.

Texas A&M University a sponsor at TMBBQ FEST 2016

Davey Griffin, Ray Riley, Taylor Rowland, Julia Rauschuber, Jennifer Willis, Marc Vogelsang, and Jeff Savell
Davey Griffin, Ray Riley, Taylor Rowland, Julia Rauschuber, Jennifer Willis, Marc Vogelsang, and Jeff Savell: TMBBQ FEST 2015

Davey Griffin, Ray Riley, Taylor Rowland, Julia Rauschuber, Jennifer Willis, Marc Vogelsang, and Jeff Savell

For the sixth year in a row, Texas A&M University will be one of the sponsors of the TMBBQ FEST 2016 on Sunday, October 30, 2016. Faculty and students will be in attendance at the festival meeting and greeting people who are interested in knowing more about the art and science of barbecue. The event also will give us a chance to visit with the pit masters who be sharing the wonderful food they will be preparing for the large group of participants.

Here are some photos from our past visits to the festival. We hope that if you are there that you will come by and visit with us.

Davey Griffin, Marc Vogelsang, Jeff Savell, Diane Fourton, Justin Fourton, Jennifer Willis, Ray Riley, Julia Rauschuber, and Taylor Rowland

Davey Griffin, Marc Vogelsang, Jeff Savell, Diane Fourton, Justin Fourton, Jennifer Willis, Ray Riley, Julia Rauschuber, and Taylor Rowland

Jennifer Willis pointing to sign with various meat science/Texas Barbecue programs conducted at Texas A&M University

Jennifer Willis pointing to sign with various meat science/Texas Barbecue programs conducted at Texas A&M University

Davey Griffin, Catherine Stiles, Ray Riley, and Jeff Savell

Davey Griffin, Catherine Stiles, Ray Riley, and Jeff Savell

Texas A&M University booth at the TMBBQ Fest 2015 (photo courtesy Jac Malloy)

Texas A&M University booth at the TMBBQ Fest 2015 (photo courtesy Jac Malloy)

Pody's BBQ, Pecos crew with Ray Riley, Davey Griffin, and Jeff Savell

Pody’s BBQ, Pecos crew with Ray Riley, Davey Griffin, and Jeff Savell

Aaron Franklin visiting with Blythe Schultz, Kaitlyn Porter, Ray Riley, and Michael Berto; TMBBQ FEST 2014

Aaron Franklin visiting with Blythe Schultz, Kaitlyn Porter, Ray Riley, and Michael Berto

 

Upperclass, graduate students provide leadership for ANSC 117

Snazzy Seniors: Marc Vogelsang, Kathleen Meredith, Erika Victor, Taylor Rowland, and Julia Rauschuber
ANSC 117, Texas Barbecue graduate student teaching assistants, Katy Jo Nickelson and Adam Murray with Jeff Savell

ANSC 117, Texas Barbecue graduate student teaching assistants, Katy Jo Nickelson and Adam Murray with Jeff Savell

The purpose of ANSC 117, Texas Barbecue is to help freshmen learn about and enjoy some great food each Friday, make new friends and find lifelong mentors, and have a nurturing place to be at the end of a busy and stressful week. This is greatly enhanced by the graduate students, seniors, and juniors who provide leadership for the class each year. There is no way that Ray Riley or I could teach this class without these wonderful students.

The Texas Barbecue teaching assistants provide assistance with the weekly set up of the kettles, smokers, and/or pits, with cooking/smoking/serving meat, and with clean-up and put-away of equipment and utensils. There is a lot of work that goes into preparing each week’s activity, and having experienced assistants makes everything go very well. The knowledge that goes with being a junior or a senior with respect to coursework, extracurricular experiences, and college life gives these students special credibility as they work with the freshmen during the semester.

This year, Katy Jo Nickelson and Adam Murray are the graduate students who are working with ANSC 117. Katy Jo has a unique advantage in that she has been a member of the class as a freshman and then served as a teaching assistant throughout her undergraduate career. Adam joins us as a master’s student who received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech, and he will bring his expertise in barbecued pork to the class.

Katy Jo Nickelson wrapping cooked pork loins

Katy Jo Nickelson wrapping cooked pork loins

Adam Murray preparing coals

Adam Murray preparing coals

This year’s Snazzy Seniors are Kathleen Meredith, Julia Rauschuber, Taylor Rowland, Erika Victor, and Marc Vogelsang. Each of these seniors brings his or her unique talents and skills to the class, and we are grateful for their continued service to the freshmen.

Snazzy Seniors: Marc Vogelsang, Kathleen Meredith, Erika Victor, Taylor Rowland, and Julia Rauschuber

Snazzy Seniors: Marc Vogelsang, Kathleen Meredith, Erika Victor, Taylor Rowland, and Julia Rauschuber

Marc Vogelsang cooking chicken thighs

Marc Vogelsang cooking chicken thighs

Taylor Rowland slicing pork steaks

Taylor Rowland slicing pork steaks

The Jazzy Juniors this year are Carley Armstrong, Abbey Chrz, Marti Hanson, Jordan Hevner, Maddison Holder, Emily June Kelley, Ty Robertson, Shelby Schiefelbein, Libby Schneider, and Lorenzo Washington.

Jazzy Juniors: Emily June Kelley, Shelby Schiefelbein, Carley Armstrong, Marti Hanson, Vanessa Sanchez, Maddison Holder, Abbey Chrz, Jordan Hevner, Ty Robertson, and Lorenzo Washington

Jazzy Juniors: Emily June Kelley, Shelby Schiefelbein, Carley Armstrong, Marti Hanson, Vanessa Sanchez, Maddison Holder, Abbey Chrz, Jordan Hevner, Ty Robertson, and Lorenzo Washington

We know we will have a great semester because of these wonderful students who are always there to serve others.

Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting, Monday, December 12, 2016

Davey Griffin discussing beef carcass cutout
Davey Griffin discussing beef carcass cutout (Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting)

Davey Griffin discussing beef carcass cutout at the Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting

The Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting, a one-day event dedicated to those involved in the commercial barbecue business, will be held at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas on Monday, December 12, 2016. This meeting will be hosted by the Meat Science Section of the Department of Animal Science and will be held in the Kleberg Animal and Food Sciences Center and the Rosenthal Meat Center.

Dr. David Anderson discussing increasing beef carcass weights during his livestock and meat forecast (Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting)

Dr. David Anderson discussing increasing beef carcass weights during his livestock and meat forecast

“This is the third year for the Town Hall meeting. We have had great turnouts at our previous meetings, and we look forward to hosting this event again this year,” according to Jeff Savell, one of the leaders of the Texas Barbecue program at Texas A&M University. Dr. David Anderson, economist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, will be back to give an update on the livestock and meat markets, and Dr. Kerri Gehring, associate professor in the Department of Animal Science and president of the International HACCP Alliance will give an overview of current food safety/regulatory issues.

Davey Griffin and Ray Riley serving Tootsie Tomanetz, Snow's BBQ (Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting)

Davey Griffin and Ray Riley serving Tootsie Tomanetz, Snow’s BBQ

The meeting will begin at 10 AM and end around 3 pm and will involve both lectures and hands-on demonstrations. “We chose a Monday for the meeting knowing that many restaurants are closed that day, which may allow for some operators to bring key in-house staff with them,” said Savell. “Hopefully, people can drive in, attend the meeting and be back home later that night without having to spend too much time away.”

Participants reviewing beef carcasses

Participants reviewing beef carcasses

The Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting is sponsored by the E.M. “Manny” Rosenthal Chair in Animal Science. To register for the meeting, email Jeff Savell at j-savell@tamu.edu or call at 979-845-3992 (office) or 979-255-6676 (mobile).

Previous Texas Barbecue Town Hall posts

Second Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting held

The End of Cheap Beef: TMBBQ

Texas barbecue restaurant owners hear beef price forecast, discuss trends | AgriLife Today

Barbecue town hall meeting attracts owners, pitmasters to Texas A&M

Aggies participate in The Woodlands BBQ Festival, September 25, 2016

Erika Victor, Jill Jobe, Adam Murray, Katy Jo Nickelson, Madalynn Kainer, Marc Vogelsang, Taylor Rowland, and Spencer Tindel
Erika Victor, Jill Jobe, Adam Murray, Katy Jo Nickelson, Madalynn Kainer, Marc Vogelsang, Taylor Rowland, and Spencer Tindel

Erika Victor, Jill Jobe, Adam Murray, Katy Jo Nickelson, Madalynn Kainer, Marc Vogelsang, Taylor Rowland, and Spencer Tindel at The Woodlands BBQ Festival

The Texas Barbecue program at Texas A&M University was honored to be asked to participate in The Woodlands BBQ Festival on Sunday, September 25, 2016. Faculty members Davey Griffin, Ray Riley, and Jeff Savell along with grad students, Katy Jo Nickelson, Adam Murray, Jill Jobe, and Spencer Tindel, and seniors, Erika Victor, Marc Vogelsang, Madalynn Kainer, and Taylor Rowland traveled to the festival to make new and renew old acquaintances with the folks in the Texas barbecue business, and to visit and share knowledge with the participants at the festival.

This is the first year for The Woodlands BBQ Festival, which benefited the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. The festival was a community partnership between Stibbs & Co., P.C., the Pulmonary Hypertension Association, and The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce. Congratulations to Stuart Lapp and Jack Stibbs for their hard work in getting the festival organized. Thanks also go to Chris Reid and Michael Fulmer, organizers of the Houston BBQ Festival, for their help and encouragement for this festival and their desire to showcase the great barbecue that is in and around the Houston metropolitan area.

Visiting with pitmasters

We enjoy the opportunity to visit with the pitmasters at every festival we participate in. Our goal is to get there early enough to go by and introduce ourselves to those we do not know and to say high to those we do. We will be hosting the Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting on Monday, December 12, 2016, and we invited each of the companies represented at the festival to come to campus to attend.

Ronnie Webber, TinRoof BBQ with Ray Riley and Davey Griffin

Ronnie Webber, TinRoof BBQ with Ray Riley and Davey Griffin

Jeff Savell and Russell Roegels, Roegels Barbecue

Jeff Savell and Russell Roegels, Roegels Barbecue (photo by Madalynn Kainer)

Ray Riley visiting with Ryan Zboril, Pitts and Spitts

Ray Riley visiting with Ryan Zboril, Pitts and Spitts

Ray Riley and Davey Griffin visiting with Russell Roegels, Michael Fulmer, and John Brotherton, The Woodlands BBQ Festival

Ray Riley and Davey Griffin visiting with Russell Roegels, Michael Fulmer, and John Brotherton

Jeff Savell visiting with Sherice Garner, Southern Q BBQ and Catering (photo by Madalynn Kainer)

Jeff Savell visiting with Sherice Garner, Southern Q BBQ and Catering (photo by Madalynn Kainer)

The Midtown Barbeque folks

The Midtown Barbeque folks

Jeff Savell listening to stories from Bryan Bracewell, Southside Market & Barbeque

Jeff Savell listening to stories from Bryan Bracewell, Southside Market & Barbeque

Sampling great barbecue

Of course, the major benefit of going to the barbecue festivals is to sample the great barbecue and side dishes that each of the vendors has to share. At each event, we try to pace ourselves, but it never works! Everyone does such a great job of bringing the best at what they do, and we are never disappointed that we have sampled so much great food in a short time without having to travel around for hours or days to do so.

Davey Griffin taking photos of great barbecue by Midtown Barbeque

Davey Griffin taking photos of great barbecue by Midtown Barbeque

Beautiful brisket (photo by Madalynn Kainer)

Beautiful brisket (photo by Madalynn Kainer)

Boudin (photo by Madalynn Kainer)

Boudin (photo by Madalynn Kainer)

Beautiful brisket by Spring Creek BBQ

Beautiful brisket by Spring Creek BBQ

Answering questions about barbecue

The organizers provided us a Texas A&M University tailgate tent so we were in heaven. We had many people come by to talk to us about the Texas Barbecue program: ANSC 117, Texas Barbecue, Barbecue Summer Camp, and Camp Brisket. Some knew about these programs, but most did not so it was good to share what we do and why we were at the festival if we were not serving barbecue to everyone.

Davey Griffin answering barbecue questions (photo by Madalynn Kainer)

Davey Griffin answering barbecue questions (photo by Madalynn Kainer)

Katy Jo and Spencer talking to participants

Katy Jo and Spencer talking to participants

The organizers told us that their will be another The Woodlands BBQ Festival next year and to come back and participate in it. We love the opportunity to visit with people, eat great food, and help support worthy efforts such as the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. We hope that we see everyone in The Woodlands next year.

Next Camp Brisket scheduled for January 6-7, 2017

McKensie Harris showing the different styles of briskets
McKensie Harris showing the different styles of briskets

McKensie Harris showing the different styles of briskets

The next Camp Brisket, sponsored by Foodways Texas and the Meat Science Section of the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University, is scheduled for January 6-7, 2017. Camp Brisket is a two-day program that concentrates solely on that quintessential part of Texas Barbecue, the brisket, and the challenges faced with proper selection, trimming, seasoning, smoking, and serving. Camp Brisket is held on the campus of Texas A&M University at the Rosenthal Meat Center and the O.D. Butler Animal Science Complex.

Registration for Camp Brisket will be available on the Foodways Texas website (http://foodwaystexas.com) sometime in August, 2016.

Camp Brisket | Foodways Texas

Pit design and maintenance panel at Camp Brisket
Pit design and maintenance panel at Camp Brisket

Pit design and maintenance panel at Camp Brisket

While Barbecue Summer Camp takes a broad approach to barbecue cookery and culture in Texas and beyond, Camp Brisket focuses on that quintessential Texas smoked meat, the humble brisket, covering topics such as grades/types of beef, types of smokers, wrapping or not wrapping the brisket, and much more. Attendees will receive direction from professors in the Meat Science Section at Texas A&M, as well as hear from pitmasters from around the state of Texas regarding some of their basic techniques. Programming schedule coming soon.

**Ticket drawing will take place on August 4th, 2016, for Foodways Texas members only (registration instructions will be sent to all members on July 18, 2016).

**You must be a member by July 15, 2016, in order to register for the drawing.

Ticket price:
$495 – Foodways Texas Members

*Cost of ticket includes all sessions, talks, and activities as well as lunch and dinner during the event.

Source: Camp Brisket | Foodways Texas