Barbecue Summer Camp, 2018 edition

Davey Griffin and Brogan Horton talking about the various pork ribs at Barbecue Summer Camp
Davey Griffin and Brogan Horton talking about the various pork ribs at Barbecue Summer Camp

Davey Griffin and Brogan Horton talking about the various pork ribs at Barbecue Summer Camp

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 8th through Sunday, June 10th, 2018. 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 ninth Barbecue Summer Camp with the first one held in 2011.

Pre-camp dinner at Kreuz Market, Bryan

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 one of the newest barbecue establishments in the Bryan/College Station market.

Introductions to Barbecue Summer Camp

On Friday morning, Marvin Bendele of Foodways Texas and Jeff Savell, meat science professor at Texas A&M University welcomed about 60 participants to the camp. Before the participants spent some time introducing themselves to the the instructors and to the rest of the camp, Savell introduced the grad and undergraduate students and staff who would be serving vital roles in the camp.

Texas A&M University grad students who helped with the camp were Clay Eastwood, Brogan Horton, Jill Jobe, Hannah Laird, Kathy Modrow, Katy Jo Nickelson, and Chandler Steele. Staff and student workers at the Rosenthal Meat Center who helped included Kyle Phillips, Joseph Dickschat, and Hayden Blumberg.

Marvin Bendele, Executive Director, Foodways Texas

Marvin Bendele, Executive Director, Foodways Texas

Pit design and maintenance

The first panel was on pit design and maintenance, and another great group of pitmasters and pit manufacturers were led by Davey Griffin, professor and extension meat specialist at Texas A&M University. The panel consisted of Kerry Bexley, Snow’s BBQ, John Brotherton, Brotherton’s Black Iron Barbecue, Brett Boren, Brett’s BBQ, and Coy Christoffel, Pitt’s and Spitt’s. The panelists talked about the pits they use or have used, proper design for creating good, clean smoke, and how to get the best performance out of them. In addition, the panelists discussed proper break-in, maintenance, and cleaning to get maximize performance.

Davey Griffin leading the Pit Design and Maintenance Panel at Barbecue Summer Camp

Davey Griffin leading the Pit Design and Maintenance Panel at Barbecue Summer Camp

Kerry Bexley, Snow's BBQ on the Pit Design and Maintenance Panel at Barbecue Summer Camp

Kerry Bexley, Snow’s BBQ on the Pit Design and Maintenance Panel at Barbecue Summer Camp

Brett Boren, Brett's BBQ, discussing pit design at Barbecue Summer Camp

Brett Boren, Brett’s BBQ, discussing pit design at Barbecue Summer Camp

Coy Christoffel, Pitts and Spitts, talking about the airflow in an offset pit

Coy Christoffel, Pitts and Spitts, talking about the airflow in an offset pit

Texas Barbecue history and culture primer/tour of Martin’s Place

A long-standing tradition at Barbecue Summer Camp is to go to the historic Martin’s Place in Bryan. Pit master and owner, Steve Kapchinskie along with his wife and daughter do a great job of showing off the wonderful brick pits and feed everyone a great lunch of brisket, ribs, and sausage to get the camp started off well.

Steve Kapchinskie, Martin's Barbecue, being interviewed by reporter

Steve Kapchinskie, Martin’s Barbecue, being interviewed by reporter

Robb Walsh, noted food historian and writer, answered questions from the participants about the history of barbecue and included a reading from his book, Barbecue Crossroads, which features a segment about Martin’s Place in it. This tradition is so great because reading this segment in the actual setting of Martin’s brings everything to life.

Robb Walsh reading excerpts from his books at Martin's Place

Robb Walsh reading excerpts from his books at Martin’s Place

Meat safety and thermometers

After returning to the Rosenthal Meat Center after lunch, Davey Griffin gave an overview about food safety and proper food handling. One item of special emphasis this camp was to discuss the issue of small particles of wire brushes breaking off and getting ingested. There have been a number of cases of emergency surgery due to the presence of these metal fragments in food, and Davey recommended using great care when cleaning grills and grates so as to not introduce these physical hazards into cooked products.

Davey Griffin talking about food safety and thermometer calibration

Davey Griffin talking about food safety and thermometer calibration

Davey also showed how best to calibrate thermometers. His recommendation is to be sure to use the best and most accurate thermometers possible so that proper cooking and cooling temperatures can be met.

Rubs and marinades

Ryan Heger from Adams Flavors, Foods & Ingredients once again gave a great overview of the different types of seasonings available along with current trends in food. Ryan discussed the importance of shelf-life of particular products such as black pepper, and he spent a great deal of time talking about how to add heat to flavors without exceeding what people might enjoy eating.

Ryan Heger, Adams Extracts and Spice, talking about seasonings

Ryan Heger, Adams Extract and Spice, talking about seasonings

Ryan provided a variety of seasonings for the participants to experiment with, and the students assisted them in seasoning briskets, pork Boston butts, pork baby back ribs, and beef chuck short ribs that would be cooked either overnight (briskets and pork butts) or the next day (pork baby back ribs and beef chuck short ribs).

Products provided to participants by Adam's Extract and Spice

Products provided to participants by Adam’s Extract and Spice

Samples from Adam's Extract and Spice

Samples from Adam’s Extract and Spice

Seasonings provided by Adam's Extract and Spice

Seasonings provided by Adam’s Extract and Spice

Kathy Modrow helping with rub preparation

Kathy Modrow helping with rub preparation

Emily Bush helping with rub preparation

Emily Bush helping with rub preparation

Rub preparation

Rub preparation

Participants preparing rub

Participants preparing rub

Barbecue wood and smoke panel

One of the more popular panels at Barbecue Summer Camp is the one on barbecue wood and smoke. Texas is known for having four basic woods for smoking: oak, hickory, pecan, and mesquite. Panelists included Patrick Feges, Bryan Bracewell, Russell Roegels, Joe Riscky, Dr. Nick Nickelson, and Homer Robertson. Each panelist gave their thoughts about their favorite woods to use in smoking meats with most of them using post oak because of its availability in the part of the state they are cooking in.

Patrick Feges, Feges BBQ, on the Wood and Smoke Panel, Barbecue Summer Camp

Patrick Feges, Feges BBQ, on the Wood and Smoke Panel, Barbecue Summer Camp

Homer Robertson on the Wood and Smoke Panel, Barbecue Summer Camp

Homer Robertson on the Wood and Smoke Panel, Barbecue Summer Camp

Bryan Bracewell, Southside Market and Barbeque, on the Wood and Smoke Panel, Barbecue Summer Camp

Bryan Bracewell, Southside Market and Barbeque, on the Wood and Smoke Panel, Barbecue Summer Camp

Russell Roegels, Roegels Barbecue, Houston, Texas

Russell Roegels, Roegels Barbecue, Houston, Texas

Dr. Nick gave a great overview of the science behind smoke and the importance of properly seasoned wood. He helped provide some background for a recent post on seasoning wood for barbecue that has been of great use in understanding why smokers should use this rather than green wood.

Dr. Nick Nickelson on the Wood and Smoke Panel, Barbecue Summer Camp

Dr. Nick Nickelson on the Wood and Smoke Panel, Barbecue Summer Camp

Homer Robertson’s background makes him an important contributor to this topic. Homer not only is a world champion chuck wagon competitor who does a lot of cooking using coals from burned-down logs, but he is with the Fort Worth Fire Department and knows quite a bit about fire and smoke. Homer’s suggestion about the role of oxygen in making a clean-burning rather than a smoldering fire supports the concepts often mentioned on this panel about the importance of having properly seasoned wood burning in a pit with a good supply of oxygen to allow for complete combustion to impart the wonderful things we want from smoke on the items that are being cooked.

Brining basics

Brandon Burrows, Kerry Ingredients, discussed the chemistry of meat and how brining works. The major feature of this presentation was that brining without some form of injection or vacuum tumbling is not an effective way of increasing the introduction of brine.

Hog preparation for whole hog barbecue

Ray Riley prepared a brine for injection into a whole pig carcass that weighed about 85 pounds. Ray made up a two-gallon brine that contained 1 cup of Kosher salt and 1 cup of sugar. The target pump was about 20% of the weight of the carcass.

Ray Riley

Ray Riley

Ray Riley injecting the pig with brine

Ray Riley injecting the pig with brine

Dinner and refreshments

Bryan Bracewell and the crew from Southside Market and Barbeque provided an outstanding meal of brisket, baby back ribs, and their famous hot guts beef and jalapeño and cheese sausage for the evening. The meal was topped off with the choice of blackberry cobbler or peach cobbler along with Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream.

Special thanks go to the Spoetzl Brewery, Shiner, Texas for providing Shiner Bock beer for the Friday and Saturday evening meals.

Bryan Bracewell, Southside Market and Barbeque, describing the method of cooking used to prepare the meal

Bryan Bracewell, Southside Market and Barbeque, describing the method of cooking used to prepare the meal

Whole hog cookery

This year, Patrick Feges, Feges BBQ, came to the camp to prepare the whole hog using his unique cooking set up. As mentioned before, the pig weighed 85 pounds and was splayed so that it could be cooked skin side up for most of the cook before turning over to allow the skin to become crisp.

Whole hog cookery by Patrick Feges, Feges BBQ

Whole hog cookery by Patrick Feges, Feges BBQ

Patrick Feges, Feges BBQ, applying salt on the pig carcass

Patrick Feges, Feges BBQ, applying salt on the pig carcass

Whole hog cookery by Feges BBQ

Whole hog cookery by Feges BBQ

Whole hog cookery by Feges BBQ

Whole hog cookery by Feges BBQ

Flipping the pig

Flipping the pig

Beef anatomy overview

Davey Griffin and Ray Riley spent the morning going over the various cuts that come from beef along with a USDA beef grading overview. Ray ribbed a carcass in front of the participants, which always creates quite a photographic frenzy for those wanting to capture the moment on their cameras or phones.

Davey Griffin

Davey Griffin

Ray Riley sawing the backbone at the 12th-13th rib prior to ribbing the beef carcass

Ray Riley sawing the backbone at the 12th-13th rib prior to ribbing the beef carcass

Ray Riley discussing beef grading

Ray Riley discussing beef grading

Beef cutting room demonstrations

Various cuts of beef were displayed in the teaching cutting room of the Rosenthal Meat Center with graduate students standing by to discuss the different cuts and their uses in barbecue or other methods of preparation.

Clay Eastwood demonstrating different beef rib cuts at Barbecue Summer Camp

Clay Eastwood demonstrating different beef rib cuts at Barbecue Summer Camp

Jillian Jobe demonstrating different beef sirloin cuts

Jillian Jobe demonstrating different beef sirloin cuts

Brogan Horton talking about the different styles of beef briskets

Brogan Horton talking about the different styles of beef briskets

Chandler Steele demonstrating cuts from the beef chuck

Chandler Steele demonstrating cuts from the beef chuck

Katy Jo Nickelson demonstrating different beef middle meats

Katy Jo Nickelson demonstrating different beef middle meats

Lunch: heavy tasting – meat market style

A typical market-style lunch of smoked meats, cheese, onions, pickles and bread were served to the participants. Individual cooked briskets and pork butts seasoned by the participants the day before were sliced or pulled with the teams of people who seasoned them having the first chance at sampling the cuts. Each team talked about the type of seasonings they used and how they thought the products turned out.

Barbecue Summer Camp would not be as successful as it is without the help of the pitmasters who cook and slice the products the participants season or just come to hang out to visit. Thanks go to John Brotherton, Russell and Misty Roegels, Patrick Feges, Kerry Bexley, Joe Riscky, Brett Boren, Todd and Misty David, and others for this valuable help.

John Brotherton, Brotherton's Black Iron Barbecue

John Brotherton, Brotherton’s Black Iron Barbecue

Patrick Feges, Feges BBQ

Patrick Feges, Feges BBQ

John Brotherton, Brotherton's Black Iron Barbecue, checking beef rib temperatures

John Brotherton, Brotherton’s Black Iron Barbecue, checking beef rib temperatures

Patrick Feges, Feges BBQ, and Todd and Misty David, Cattleack Barbeque

Patrick Feges, Feges BBQ, and Todd and Misty David, Cattleack Barbeque

Pork anatomy overview

Davey Griffin presented an overview of pork carcass anatomy and terminology.

Davey Griffin discussing pork carcass evaluation

Davey Griffin discussing pork carcass evaluation

Pork cutting room demonstrations

Various cuts of pork were displayed in the teaching cutting room of the Rosenthal Meat Center. Graduate students talked about the cuts, and Clay Eastwood and Chandler Steele conducted cutting demonstrations for the participants.

Clay Eastwood and Chandler Steele breaking down a pork carcass

Clay Eastwood and Chandler Steele breaking down a pork carcass

Clay Eastwood and Chandler Steele breaking down a pork carcass

Clay Eastwood and Chandler Steele breaking down a pork carcass

Chandler Steele

Chandler Steele

Jillian Jobe boning out a ham

Jillian Jobe boning out a ham

Davey Griffin and Brogan Horton talking about the various pork ribs at Barbecue Summer Camp

Davey Griffin and Brogan Horton talking about the various pork ribs at Barbecue Summer Camp

Poultry sessions

Sunday morning was devoted to poultry, and the activities were led by Brandon Burrows, Kerry Ingredients with preparation and cooking/smoking demonstrations conducted Mark and Leslie Frenzel and Meat Science students. Fajitas, homemade sausage, drumsticks with mayo/spices, were prepared by the participants.

Brandon also presented an overview of current trends in flavor and answered questions from the participants regarding various seasonings and their usefulness for barbecue and other applications.

Summary

The ninth Barbecue Summer Camp came to an end with everyone leaving full of knowledge and barbecue! Thanks for all of the participants, speakers, pit masters, and students who were involved in another outstanding camp! Thanks to Kelly Yandell with Foodways Texas for coming to support the camp and helping to chronicle the activities through her special photographic and social media talents.

Special thanks go to Ty Robertson and Holly Sanders for providing such great logistic support for the camp, and to Wade Baty, Carsyn Burney, Emily Bush, Devon King, and Sandy Martinez,  students from the ANSC 117 Texas Barbecue class who volunteered their time to help out.

 

 

Aggies participate in sixth Houston BBQ Festival

Erin Smith Feges, Feges BBQ, with Aggie Students at Houston BBQ Festival
Erin Smith Feges, Feges BBQ, with Aggie Students at Houston BBQ Festival

Erin Smith Feges, Feges BBQ, with Aggie Students at Houston BBQ Festival

A large group of Aggies participated in the 6th Houston BBQ Festival, which was held in the Humble Civic Center Arena in Humble, Texas on Sunday, April 15, 2018. Those in attendance from Texas A&M University were faculty Davey Griffin, Ray Riley, and Jeff Savell, and students Carsyn Burney, Eric Hamilton, Brogan Horton, Steven Mancillas, Sandy Martinez, Courtlyn Ranly, Kelley Ranly, Libby Schneider, and Menzi Spiller.

Aggie students visiting with Southside Market and Barbeque folks at the Houston BBQ Festival

Aggie students visiting with Southside Market and Barbeque folks at the Houston BBQ Festival

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.

Ronnie Killen, Killen's Barbecue with Jeff Savell

Ronnie Killen, Killen’s Barbecue with Jeff Savell

Ronnie Killen, Killen's Barbecue, visiting about his restaurants and philosophy about food

Ronnie Killen, Killen’s Barbecue, visiting about his restaurants and philosophy about food

Robin Wong, Blood Bros. BBQ, and Ray Riley at Houston BBQ Festival

Robin Wong, Blood Bros. BBQ, and Ray Riley at Houston BBQ Festival

Scott Moore, Tejas Chocolate Craftory at the Houston BBQ Festival

Scott Moore, Tejas Chocolate Craftory at the Houston BBQ Festival

Roegels Barbecue with Russell Roegels and John Brotherton serving

Roegels Barbecue with Russell Roegels and John Brotherton serving

Russell Roegels and John Brotherton at the Houston BBQ Festival

Russell Roegels and John Brotherton at the Houston BBQ Festival

Greg Gatlin, Gatlin's Barbecue, and Jeff Savell at the Houston BBQ Festival

Greg Gatlin, Gatlin’s Barbecue, and Jeff Savell

Davey Griffin and Greg Gatlin, Gatlin's Barbecue

Davey Griffin and Greg Gatlin, Gatlin’s Barbecue

Davey Griffin visiting with Patrick Feges, Feges BBQ

Davey Griffin visiting with Patrick Feges, Feges BBQ

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.

John Baker and Jeff Savell at the Houston BBQ Festival

John Baker and Jeff Savell at the Houston BBQ Festival

Southern Q BBQ folks

Southern Q BBQ folks

Hanging out at the Houston BBQ Festival

Hanging out at the Houston BBQ Festival

Eric Hamilton and Libby Schneider sharing some great food at the Houston BBQ Festival

Eric Hamilton and Libby Schneider sharing some great food at the Houston BBQ Festival

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

Community, Culture, and Science of Barbecue program held at SXSW

Jess Pryles, Jeff Savell, Davey Griffin, and Ray Riley discussing the Culture, Community, and Science of Barbecue at SXSW
Jess Pryles, Jeff Savell, Davey Griffin, and Ray Riley discussing the Culture, Community, and Science of Barbecue at SXSW

Jess Pryles, Jeff Savell, Davey Griffin, and Ray Riley discussing the Culture, Community, and Science of Barbecue at SXSW

The Texas Barbecue program at Texas A&M University, led by meat science educators, Davey Griffin, Ray Riley, and Jeff Savell, was prominently featured at a SXSW panel discussion entitled, “The Community, Culture, and Science of Barbecue” on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. Author and cook Jess Pryles led the panel, which focused on Texas’ rich barbecue culture and techniques, seasonings and cuts that drive the culinary art. The hour-long program was followed by a sampling of brisket and sausage from Southside Market and Barbeque, Elgin and Bastrop, Texas, and time for the faculty members and students to answer questions about all things Texas barbecue.

Ray Riley discussing beef briskets at SXSW program on Community, Culture, and Science of Barbecue

Ray Riley discussing beef briskets at SXSW program on Community, Culture, and Science of Barbecue

In addition to the panel discussion, both Ray Riley and Davey Griffin used cuts of beef and pork to demonstrate items that are popular for Texas barbecue as well as to show the various grade and inspection labels found on products such as the brisket.

Jess Pryles and Jeff Savell

Jess Pryles and Jeff Savell

Texas A&M University students Ty Robertson, Holly Sanders, Bo Garcia, Katie Price, Jason Shamburger, and Carsyn Burney participated in the event. The students helped serve the Southside Market and Barbeque samples, and they answered many of the participants questions about barbecue. These students have taken and continue to help with ANSC 117, Texas Barbecue.

Ty Robertson, Holly Sanders, Bo Garcia, Katie Price, Jason Shamburger, and Carsyn Burney

Ty Robertson, Holly Sanders, Bo Garcia, Katie Price, Jason Shamburger, and Carsyn Burney

Dr. Patrick Stover, newly appointed Vice Chancellor and Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and his wife, Denise, was at the panel discussion and program. The faculty and students got the chance to get a group photograph in front of the neon ATM sign.

Denise Stover, Jason Shamburger, Bo Garcia, Davey Griffin, Katie Price, Ray Riley, Holly Sanders, Jeff Savell, Carsyn Burney, Patrick Stover, and Ty Robertson

Denise Stover, Jason Shamburger, Bo Garcia, Davey Griffin, Katie Price, Ray Riley, Holly Sanders, Jeff Savell, Carsyn Burney, Patrick Stover, and Ty Robertson

Jess Pryles recently published “Hardcore Carnivore,” and she was able to sign books that were given away at an earlier event. We appreciate Jess taking the time to be on the panel at this event.

Jess Pryles signing her book, "Hardcore Carnivore" at Texas A&M University event at SXSW

Jess Pryles signing her book, “Hardcore Carnivore” at Texas A&M University event at SXSW

The Community, Culture, and Science of Barbecue program at SXSW

Ray Riley, Davey Griffin, Jess Pryles, and Jeff Savell
Ray Riley, Davey Griffin, Jess Pryles, and Jeff Savell on The Community, Culture, and Science of Barbecue panel at SXSW

Ray Riley, Davey Griffin, Jess Pryles, and Jeff Savell on The Community, Culture, and Science of Barbecue panel at SXSW

Critically acclaimed author and cook Jess Pryles will lead a wide-ranging panel discussion entitled, “The Community, Culture, and Science of Barbecue” at SXSW on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. Texas’ rich barbecue culture and the techniques, seasonings and cuts that drive the culinary art will be discussed by Pryles along with meat scientists and pitmasters behind the Texas Barbecue program at Texas A&M University: Jeff Savell, Davey Griffin, and Ray Riley.

The hour-long program will begin at 11 AM and will be held at the Rio Grande Ballroom, Courtyard Mariott in Austin, Texas. After the program, the speakers will move to the Brazos Ballroom where they will have the opportunity to interact with participants and sample some products from Southside Market and Barbeque, Elgin and Bastrop, Texas.

Jess Pryles is a cook, author, TV host and a professional Hardcore Carnivore. She creates dynamic original recipes with a Southern and Tex-Mex twist, and is also a respected authority on low’n’slow smoked meats, particularly Texas style barbecue. Her new book, “Hardcore Carnivore,” is now available.

The Texas Barbecue program at Texas A&M University includes the freshmen course, ANSC 117, Texas Barbecue; Barbecue Summer Camp and Camp Brisket, co-hosted with Foodways Texas; Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting; and the Barbecue Genius Counters in the Houston BBQ Festival and The Woodlands BBQ Festival.

We look forward to seeing everyone in Austin at SXSW!

Camp Brisket, 2018 edition

Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue, talking about brisket trimming at Camp Brisket

The sixth 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 5-6, 2018 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. and Canada embarked on a journey to learn more about the ultimate challenge preparing that most difficult dish of Texas Barbecue cuisine, the brisket.

Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue, talking about brisket trimming at Camp Brisket

Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue, talking about brisket trimming at Camp 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, Micki Gooch, Chandler Steele, Jill Jobe, Ciarra Gawlik, Jordan Hevner, Kenna Turner, Kirby Bohls, Eric Hamilton, Katy Jo Nickelson,  Hayden Blumberg, Thomas Larriviere, and Jackson Larriviere. 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.

Brisket trimming and seasoning

Micki trimming briskets (Mark Guerrero/Texas A&M University)

Micki Gooch trimming briskets (Mark Guerrero/Texas A&M University)

Ciarra applying the salt/pepper rub on briskets (Mark Guerrero/Texas A&M University)

Ciarra applying the salt/pepper rub on briskets (Mark Guerrero/Texas A&M University)

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.

Preparing the briskets for Camp Brisket

Texas A&M University MarComm documenting trimming/preparation of briskets for Camp Brisket

Texas A&M University Marketing & Communications (Marcomm) multimedia specialists, Donny Hall and Mark Guerrero, where present during the camp to document some of the activities that were going on. Thanks for the wonderful video and stills shot through the camp.

Brisket use and anatomy

The first talks were by Jess Pryles, cook, writer, and TV personality, on the difference between restaurant and competition brisket, and Davey Griffin, on the anatomy of a brisket.

Jess Pryles talking about competition versus restaurant preparation for beef briskets

Jess Pryles talking about competition versus restaurant preparation for beef briskets

Davey Griffin removing the package from a beef brisket

Davey Griffin removing the package from a beef 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, demonstrating brisket trimming

Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue, demonstrating brisket trimming

Jeff Savell and Aaron Franklin talking about proper slicing of briskets (Mark Guerrero/Texas A&M University)

Jeff Savell and Aaron Franklin talking about proper slicing of briskets (Mark Guerrero/Texas A&M University)

Jeff Savell showing how to evaluate slice tenderness for cooked brisket (Mark Guerrero/Texas A&M University)

Jeff Savell showing how to evaluate slice tenderness for cooked brisket (Mark Guerrero/Texas A&M University)

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, Chairman’s Reserve, 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’s Black Iron Barbecue 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! All grades had 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.

Wood and Smoke panel

There was a Wood and Smoke panel at the end of the afternoon featuring Jeff Savell as the moderator, Bill Dumas, Stiles Switch BBQ and Brew; Aaron Franklin; Kevin Kolman, Weber Grills; Joe Riscky, Joe Riscky’s Barbeque; and Homer Robertson, World Champion Chuck Wagon competitor and Fort Worth Fire Department leader. Post oak is the featured wood for Texas Barbecue based on its abundance and how the smoke complements beef. The panel 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.

Wood and smoke panel

Wood and smoke panel

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. Arnis Robbins from Evie Mae’s BBQ from Wolfforth, Texas provided the main meal with prime rib from 44 Farms. Homer Robertson, world champion chuck wagon competitor, provided bread pudding and apple crisp for the crowd. The food was enjoyed by all!

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.

Davey Griffin checking briskets during the overnight smoke

Davey Griffin checking briskets during the overnight smoke

Taking the temperature of briskets

Taking the temperature of briskets

The staff, students, and family tended to the pits overnight. Temperatures were chilly overnight, 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, JArthur Garcia, and Joe Riscky, 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, and Kerry Bexley and Tootsie Tomenetz, Snow’s BBQ about cooking over direct coals.

Homer Robertson and Steven Raichlen discussing Dutch oven cooking

Homer Robertson and Steven Raichlen discussing Dutch oven cooking

Joe Riscky helping with chuck wagon breakfast for Camp Brisket

Joe Riscky helping with chuck wagon breakfast for Camp Brisket

Patrick Reardon and Davey Griffin

Patrick Reardon and Davey Griffin

Kevin Kolman, Weber-Stephens, talking about Weber Smoky Mountain smokers

Kevin Kolman, Weber-Stephens, talking about Weber Smoky Mountain smokers

Ryan Zboril, Pitts and Spitts

Ryan Zboril, Pitts and Spitts

Patrick Reardon discussing his Jambo smoker

Patrick Reardon discussing his Jambo smoker

Kerry Bexley, Tootsie Tomanetz, and Homer Robertson talking about live coal cooking at Camp Brisket

Kerry Bexley, Tootsie Tomanetz, and Homer Robertson talking about live coal cooking

John Brotherton, Brotherton’s Black Iron Barbecue

John Brotherton, Brotherton’s Black Iron Barbecue

 

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; Tom Abney, Southside Market and Barbeque; Ryan Zboril, Pitts and Spitts; 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.

Tom Abney, Southside Market and Barbeque

Tom Abney, Southside Market and Barbeque

Kerry Bexley, Snow’s BBQ

Kerry Bexley, Snow’s BBQ

Pit design/maintenance panel: Tom Abney, Southside Market and Barbeque; Wayne Mueller, Louis Mueller Barbecue; Kerry Bexley, Snow’s BBQ; Ryan Zboril, Pitt’s and Spitt’s; Kevin Kolman, Weber-Stephens; and Davey Griffin, moderator

Pit design/maintenance panel: Tom Abney, Southside Market and Barbeque; Wayne Mueller, Louis Mueller Barbecue; Kerry Bexley, Snow’s BBQ; Ryan Zboril, Pitt’s and Spitt’s; Kevin Kolman, Weber-Stephens; and Davey Griffin, moderator

Seasonings and barbecue science

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

Brandon Burrows, Kerry Ingredients

Brandon Burrows, Kerry Ingredients

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 oak, mesquite, and pecan, 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, Wayne Mueller, John Brotherton, Tootsie Tomanetz, Kerry Bexley, and Joe Riscky. 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.

Wayne Mueller, Russell Roegels, Tootsie Tomanetz, Kerry Bexley, John Brotherton, Joe Riscky, and Jeff Savell

Wayne Mueller, Russell Roegels, Tootsie Tomanetz, Kerry Bexley, John Brotherton, Joe Riscky, and Jeff Savell

Send off meal

The final meal was a comparison of wrapped versus unwrapped briskets. There was no difference between wrapped and unwrapped briskets. Most participants are facing “brisket fatigue” at this point, and are ready for something fairly light as they depart.

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.

Kelly Yandell, Foodways Texas, being interviewed by KBTX-TV

Kelly Yandell, Foodways Texas, being interviewed by KBTX-TV

Fourth Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting held

Davey Griffin talking to the participants at the Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting
Davey Griffin and Ray Riley talking about beef carcasses at the Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting

Davey Griffin and Ray Riley talking about beef carcasses at the Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting

Owners/operators and pitmasters from some of the leading barbecue restaurants throughout Texas with a special guest, Jack Timmons, from Seattle, Washington, participated in the fourth Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting, which was held at the Kleberg Animal and Food Science Center and the Rosenthal Meat Center on Monday, December 11, 2017. About 50 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, brisket aging research by McKensie Harris, graduate teaching/research assistant 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, Kirby Bohls, Kenna Turner, and Jordan Hevner. Graduate student Clay Eastwood helped with the beef carcass and cut-out value demonstrations.

David Anderson giving a market update to the Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting

David Anderson giving a market update to 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, prices may reflect that 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

David Anderson

McKensie Harris reported on her work on the effects of aging on beef brisket palatability. This Beef Checkoff-funded research was designed to address the recurring question about whether aging of briskets that are to be prepared as Texas-style barbecue benefit from aging the same way that beef ribeyes and strips do. McKensie found that aging did not impact brisket palatability, which means that briskets can be cooked without concern about aging. She also found that consumers gave samples from the flat higher overall like ratings than samples from the point, even though samples from the point had lower shear force values (more tender) than samples from the flat. McKensie’s research, Assessment of Postmortem Aging Effects on Texas-style Barbecue, was published in the journal, Meat and Muscle Biology. Thanks for Southside Market and Barbeque for their help in conducting this research.

McKensie Harris talking about her work on aging of beef briskets

McKensie Harris talking about her work on aging of beef briskets

McKensie Harris describing where samples were taken from her project on brisket aging

McKensie Harris describing where samples were taken from her project on brisket aging

Ronnie and Brek Webber from Tin Roof BBQ provided lunch for everyone. Smoked sirloin along with wonderful sides of potato salad and broccoli, cheese, and rice casserole were a hit. Thanks so much for coming up to meeting and preparing such great food for us.

Ronnie and Brek Webber serving Tin Roof BBQ at the Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting

Ronnie and Brek Webber serving Tin Roof BBQ at the Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting

Smoked sirloin served by Ronnie and Brek Webber of Tin Roof BBQ

Smoked sirloin served by Ronnie and Brek Webber of Tin Roof BBQ

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 to the participants at the Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting

Davey Griffin talking to the participants at the Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting

The USDA beef grading standards have been revised to reflect the use of dentition as an indicator of the age of the carcasses rather than the traditional use of skeletal and lean maturity. Ray Riley used a beef head to show the participants how dentition is used to determine age in cattle.

Ray Riley describing the upcoming changes to the USDA beef quality grading system related to dentition

Ray Riley describing the upcoming changes to the USDA beef quality grading system related to dentition

Davey Griffin showing the marbling cards used to evaluate beef grading

Davey Griffin showing the marbling cards used to evaluate beef grading

Davey Griffin talking about beef grading

Davey Griffin talking about beef grading

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 showed some of the muscles that could be used for barbecue and other cooking applications and answered questions from the participants about where the cuts came from.

Davey Griffin describing beef cutout values for the Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting

Davey Griffin describing beef cutout values for the Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting

Davey Griffin talking about beef cuts

Davey Griffin talking about beef cuts

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.

Tindel, Savell help with Texas Monthly’s ‘Cue Course

Jeff Savell, Daniel Vaughn, Spencer Tindel, Mike Black, and Mark Black at the Texas Monthly 'Cue Course
Jeff Savell, Daniel Vaughn, Spencer Tindel, Mike Black, and Mark Black at the Texas Monthly's 'Cue Course

Jeff Savell, Daniel Vaughn, Spencer Tindel, Mike Black, and Mark Black at the Texas Monthly’s ‘Cue Course

Spencer Tindel and Jeff Savell participated in the first ever Texas Monthly’s ‘Cue Course on Saturday, November 4, 2017, which was one of the programs sponsored by the Texas Monthly Barbecue program ahead of the TMBBQ FEST 2017. The event was held at Terry Black’s Barbecue in Austin, with Daniel Vaughn, BBQ Editor of Texas Monthly teaming up with Tindel and Savell for the program.

Texas Monthly's 'Cue Course

Texas Monthly’s ‘Cue Course

The first part of the program was a discussion of three topics: beef grading, briskets, and beef ribs. For beef grading, marbling cards depicting the different marbling degrees were shown to the participants along with other grading charts to describe how the grades of Prime, Choice, and Select are determined. In addition, a brief discussion on programs such as Certified Angus Beef was given.

Spencer Tindel and Daniel Vaughn talking about beef brisket

Spencer Tindel and Daniel Vaughn talking about beef brisket

The next topic of discussion was about beef briskets. Spencer brought a bone-in brisket with her to demonstrate where the bones and deckle were located on it. She removed both the bones and deckle to produce a 120 beef brisket, deckle-off, boneless, which is what is found most often in the marketplace. Further discussion was held regarding why briskets are so inherently tough and how the “low and slow” method of Texas Barbecue preparation achieves such a miraculous transformation into something so wonderful.

Spencer demonstrating a beef plate short rib

Spencer demonstrating a beef plate short rib

Beef ribs were the final topic covered. The cuts discussed were the 123A Beef Plate, Short Ribs, Trimmed, 124 Beef Rib, Back Ribs, and 130 Chuck Short Ribs. Comparisons were made of all three beef rib cuts with uses in the domestic and international markets presented.

Spencer answering questions about beef

Spencer answering questions about beef

There was time after the presentations for some questions and answers regarding the products shown during the presentation. A tour of the pit room at Terry Black’s Barbecue was conducted for the participates after a welcome by Mark and Mike Black.

Mark and Mike Black, Terry Black's Barbecue

Mark and Mike Black, Terry Black’s Barbecue

The final activity was everyone dining on a great meal of Terry Black’s Barbecue beef brisket and beef plate short ribs with wonderful sides. Everyone came away full of knowledge and barbecue.

Spencer Tindel and Lily at the Texas Monthly's 'Cue Course

Spencer Tindel and Lily at the Texas Monthly’s ‘Cue Course

 

Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting, Monday, December 11, 2017

Davey Griffin talking about beef carcasses in the Rosenthal Meat Center
Davey Griffin talking about beef carcasses in the Rosenthal Meat Center at the Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting

Davey Griffin talking about beef carcasses in the Rosenthal Meat Center 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 11, 2017. This meeting will be hosted by the Meat Science program 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

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

“This is the fourth 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.

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

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

The meeting will begin at 10 AM (coffee and kolaches at 9:30 AM) and end around 3 PM and will involve both lectures and hands-on demonstrations. “We choose Mondays for these meetings 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.”

We are fortunate to have Tin Roof BBQ of Atascocita, Texas to provide lunch for the Town Hall meeting. Thanks to the Webber family for offering to feed us during the event.

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), or contact Davey Griffin at dgriff@tamu.edu or call at 979-229-0273.

Previous Texas Barbecue Town Hall posts

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

A&M BBQ Town Hall Meeting

Third Texas Barbecue Town Hall meeting held

Texas barbecue owners, pitmasters learn about price trends at town hall meeting

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 second annual The Woodlands BBQ Festival

Micki Gooch, Ty Robertson, Spencer Tindel, Alec Lucas, Libby Schneider, Marc Vogelsang, Devon King, Kenzie Lackey, Chandler Steele, and Sandy Martinez
Jack Stibbs, Stibbs & Co., P.C.; Micki Gooch, Ty Robertson, Spencer Tindel, Alec Lucas, Libby Schneider, Marc Vogelsang, Devon King, Kenzie Lackey, Chandler Steele, Sandy Martinez, and Stuart Lapp, Stibbs & Co., P.C.

Jack Stibbs, Stibbs & Co., P.C.; Micki Gooch, Ty Robertson, Spencer Tindel, Alec Lucas, Libby Schneider, Marc Vogelsang, Devon King, Kenzie Lackey, Chandler Steele, Sandy Martinez, and Stuart Lapp, Stibbs & Co., P.C.

The Texas Barbecue program at Texas A&M University was honored to be asked once again to participate in The Woodlands BBQ Festival on Sunday, October 8, 2017. Faculty members Davey Griffin, Ray Riley, and Jeff Savell along with grad students, Spencer Tindel, Micki Gooch, Marc Vogelsang, and Chandler Steele, and undergrad students, Libby Schneider, Ty Robertson, Alec Lucas, Devon King, Kenzie Lackey, and Sandy Martinez 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 second 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, The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce, and a number of other sponsors. Congratulations to Stuart Lapp and Jack Stibbs for their hard work in getting the festival organized and back for a second year. 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. Houston is making a mark in the Texas Barbecue scene, and events such as these help to showcase these great establishments.

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 11, 2017, and we invited each of the companies represented at the festival to come to campus to attend.

The Aggies and Blood Brothers BBQ folks

The Aggies and Blood Brothers BBQ folks

Russell Roegels preparing quail for The Woodlands BBQ Festival

Russell Roegels preparing quail for The Woodlands BBQ Festival

Ronnie Webber of Tin Roof B-B-Q showing photo of products to students

Ronnie Webber of Tin Roof B-B-Q showing photo of products to students

Greg Moore, Ray Riley, Scott Sandlin, and Russell Roegels discussing all things barbecue

Greg Moore, Ray Riley, Scott Sandlin, and Russell Roegels discussing all things barbecue

The Aggies with Bryan Bracewell of Southside Market and Barbeque, Elgin and Bastrop

The Aggies with Bryan Bracewell of Southside Market and Barbeque, Elgin and Bastrop

Libby and Marc visiting with Southern Q pitmaster

Libby and Marc visiting with Southern Q pitmaster

Scott Moore, Tejas Chocolate Craftory, telling Spencer what they are serving at The Woodlands BBQ Festival

Scott Moore, Tejas Chocolate Craftory, telling Spencer what they are serving at The Woodlands BBQ Festival

Sampling great barbecue

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.

Marc and Spencer sampling the barbecue at The Woodlands BBQ Festival

Marc and Spencer sampling the barbecue at The Woodlands BBQ Festival

Great smoked product at The Woodlands BBQ Festival

Great smoked product at The Woodlands BBQ Festival

Misty Roegels and John Brotherton

Misty Roegels and John Brotherton

The Southern Q BBQ and Catering folks

The Southern Q BBQ and Catering folks

Devon sampling the banana pudding

Devon sampling the banana pudding

Answering questions about barbecue

The organizers provided us a Texas A&M University tailgate tent for us to hang out in. 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.

Ty answering questions about barbecue

Ty answering questions about barbecue

Davey Griffin visiting with Greg Mueller

Davey Griffin visiting with Greg Mueller

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.

Ninth year of ANSC 117, Texas Barbecue underway

ANSC 117, Texas Barbecue, 2017 class
ANSC 117, Texas Barbecue, 2017 class

ANSC 117, Texas Barbecue, 2017 class

This year marks the ninth year of ANSC 117, Texas Barbecue. The class has had many different prefixes, but the course name has been the same, and the purpose of the class has never wavered: to help freshmen make the difficult transition from high school to college, to know that each week they will learn about Texas Barbecue and will enjoy a great meal, and they will interact with faculty and students who care about their success and will serve as mentors to them during and after the class.

Jeff Savell addressing the freshmen in ANSC 117, Texas Barbecue

Jeff Savell addressing the freshmen in ANSC 117, Texas Barbecue

Ray Riley and I are blessed to get to work with such great students, the 30 freshmen in this year’s class and the graduate and undergraduate students who make this such a great experience for all of us. Even though we have a large group of people in the classroom each Friday, we are enriched by getting to know so many students through this activity. Thanks to Katy Jo Nickelson and Marc Vogelsang for providing such great leadership for this class.

First meal in ANSC 117, Texas Barbecue, 2017 class

First meal in ANSC 117, Texas Barbecue, 2017 class

Katy Jo Nickelson pulling pork for class

Katy Jo Nickelson pulling pork for class

We thank Jackie Savell for providing such great sides and desserts and for being at each class to provide motherly love and advice to our students. Many of the greatest memories made each year are about various items she makes.

Jackie making coleslaw

Jackie making coleslaw

We look forward to this semester and getting to know this year’s group of freshmen.