The Barbecue Summer Camp, co-hosted by Foodways Texas and the Meat Science Section of the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University, was held on Friday, June 10th through Sunday, June 12th, 2016. The camp is coordinated by meat science educators, Davey Griffin, Ray Riley, and Jeff Savell, and activities were held at the Rosenthal Meat Center and O.D. Butler Animal Science Teaching, Research, and Extension Complex. This was the sixth Barbecue Summer Camp with the first one held in 2011. Because of the high demand for these camps, a second camp for the year will be held July 22-24, 2016.
On Thursday night, before the camp began, participants and instructors gathered at Kreuz Market in Bryan, Texas for some great barbecue and a glance at the newest barbecue establishment in the Bryan/College Station market. Pit master Lee Jasper and Manager Madeline Bell welcomed the group and showed off the pits after dinner.
On Friday, over 60 participants showed up at the Rosenthal Meat Center for welcomes and introductions led by Marvin Bendele of Foodways Texas and Jeff Savell, meat science professor at Texas A&M University.
The first panel was on pit design and maintenance and was led by Davey Griffin, professor and extension meat specialist at Texas A&M University. The panel consisted of Bryan Bracewell, Southside Market and Barbeque, Russell Roegels, Roegel’s Barbecue, Greg Gatlin, Gatlin’s BBQ, Joe Risky, Riscky’s Barbecue, and Ryan Zboril, Pitt’s & Spitt’s. Panelists discussed many different features of pits, advantages and disadvantages of each, and what people can do to get the best performance out of them.
One of the features of Barbecue Summer Camp is the visit to historic Martin’s Place in Bryan. Pit master and owner, Steve Kapchinskie along with his wife and daughter, provide a glimpse into the everyday workings of the brick pits used to smoke meat and share some of Martin’s Place wonderful brisket, ribs, and sausage for the participants.
During the time at Martin’s Place, Robb Walsh, noted food historian and writer, read a passage from his book, Barbecue Crossroads, which features a small segment about Martin’s Place in it.
After lunch, the participants returned to the Rosenthal Meat Center for an afternoon of discussions on meat safety and thermometer use and calibration by Davey Griffin, a panel on barbecue wood and smoke, rubs and marinades by Ryan Heger, Adam’s Flavors, Foods and Ingredients, and brining basics by Geraldo Casco, Department of Poultry Science, Texas A&M University.
Ryan Heger of Adam’s Flavors, Foods and Ingredients led the participants through an exercise of preparing suggested or custom rubs for beef briskets, pork Boston butts, pork St. Louis-style pork ribs, and beef chuck short ribs. All of the products were smoked by Russell Roegels, Roegels Barbecue, and John Brotherton, Brotherton Barbecue using the Roegels Barbecue’s smoker.
The barbecue wood and smoke panel was led by Jeff Savell and had Bryan Bracewell, Southside Market and Barbeque, Nick Nickelson, Standard Meat Company, Russell Roegels, Roegels Barbecue, Greg Gatlin, Gatlin’s Barbecue, and Joe Riscky, Riscky’s Barbecue. Discussions ranged from the use of particular types of wood, using seasoned wood, and building fires to ensure clean smoke.
The evening featured great food from Southside Market and Barbeque at the O.D. Butler Animal Science Complex. Thanks to Bryan Bracewell and crew for a wonderful meal with the famous Southside Market and Barbeque specialties.
Saturday began with the participants traveling to the Savell home to see a pig being placed on a cinder block pit for all-day cooking for the evening gathering. Taylor Rowland was in charge of cooking the pig, and he did a great job of preparing it to perfection.
Saturday agenda featured detailed discussions on beef and pork anatomy including demonstrations of various cuts of beef and pork led by Davey Griffin and Ray Riley, manager of the Rosenthal Meat Center.
For lunch, specific cooked briskets and pork butts were evaluated by each group who seasoned them before everyone had a chance to sample each of the products. A traditional style Central Texas barbecue lunch with smoked meats, cheese, onions, pickles, and bread was served.
Everyone returned to the Savell home for an evening of pulled pork from the cooked pig as well as dining on the beef and pork ribs seasoned by the participants and prepared by Russell Roegels and John Brotherton.
Sunday morning was devoted to poultry, and the activities were led by Christine Alvarado, Department of Poultry Science and Brandon Burrows, Kerry Ingredients with preparation and cooking/smoking demonstrations conducted by the Poultry Science staff and students. Fajitas, homemade sausage, drumsticks with mayo/spices, and wings with siracha sauce were prepared by the participants. Brandon shared the recipe for Peruvian Rotisserie Seasoning and showed the participants how to make.
The sixth Barbecue Summer Camp came to an end with some sadness as participants had to leave, but each one left with some recipes and tips that will allow them to improve their commercial or backyard skills. Thanks for all of the participants, speakers, pit masters, and students who were involved in another outstanding camp!