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

Barbecue Summer Camp, July 2016 version, photo and summary wrap up

Clay Eastwood discussing beef shoulder cuts
Clay Eastwood discussing beef shoulder cuts

Clay Eastwood discussing beef shoulder cuts

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, July 22th through Sunday, July 24th, 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 seventh Barbecue Summer Camp with the first one held in 2011. An earlier camp was held in June, 2016 to help with handling the high sign-up demand for this event.

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 the newest barbecue establishment in the Bryan/College Station market. Pit master Lee Jasper and Manager Madeline Jasper welcomed the group and showed off the pits after dinner.

Starting the fun at Kreuz Market Bryan for @foodwaystexas #tamubbq #bbqcamp. Thanks to Madelaine and @lee_jasper_

A photo posted by Kelly Yandell (@themeaningofpie) on

Introductions

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 who would be serving vital roles in the camp.

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 Bryan Bracewell, Southside Market and Barbeque, Russell Roegels, Roegels Barbecue, John Brotherton, Brotherton Barbecue, and Ryan Zboril, 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 moderating the Pit Design and Maintenance Panel, Barbecue Summer Camp

Davey Griffin moderating the Pit Design and Maintenance Panel

Bryan Bracewell, Southside Market and Barbeque, Pit Design and Maintenance Panel

Bryan Bracewell, Southside Market and Barbeque, Pit Design and Maintenance Panel

Russell Roegels, Roegels Barbecue, Pit Design and Maintenance Panel

Russell Roegels, Roegels Barbecue, Pit Design and Maintenance Panel

John Brotherton, Brotherton Barbecue, Pit Design and Maintenance Panel

John Brotherton, Brotherton Barbecue, Pit Design and Maintenance Panel

,Ryan Zboril, Pitt's and Spitt's, Pit Design and Maintenance Panel

Ryan Zboril, Pitt’s and Spitt’s, Pit Design and Maintenance Panel

Ryan Zboril, Pitt's and Spitt's

Ryan Zboril, Pitt’s and Spitt’s

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 Place, describing the brick pits used there

Steve Kapchinskie, Martin’s Place, describing the brick pits used there

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, speaking about history of Texas Barbecue at Martin's Place

Robb Walsh, speaking about history of Texas Barbecue 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 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.

Davey Griffin showing how to calibrate thermometers

Davey Griffin showing how to calibrate thermometers

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 John Brotherton, Russell Roegels, Bryan Bracewell, 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.

Panel, Homer Robertson, Dr. Nick Nickelson, Bryan Bracewell, Russell Roegels, and John Brotherton; Barbecue Summer Camp

Barbecue Wood and Smoke Panel, Homer Robertson, Dr. Nick Nickelson, Bryan Bracewell, Russell Roegels, and John Brotherton

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 showing a split log that is properly seasoned

Dr. Nick Nickelson showing a split log that is properly seasoned

Homer Robertson is a new edition to the panel, and his 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.

Homer Robertson, Barbecue Wood and Smoke Panel

Homer Robertson, Barbecue Wood and Smoke Panel

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 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).

Katy Jo Nickelson helping participant mix seasonings

Katy Jo Nickelson helping participant mix seasonings

Hillary Henderson leading seasoning group

Hillary Henderson leading seasoning group

Special brisket rub provided by Adams Flavors, Foods, and Ingredients

Special brisket rub provided by Adams Flavors, Foods, and Ingredients

Seasoned brisket for Barbecue Summer Camp

Seasoned brisket

Participants mixing seasonings

Participants mixing seasonings

Brining basics

Gerardo Casco, Department of Poultry Science, 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 and Drew Cassens prepared a brine for injection into a whole pig carcass that weighed about 70 pounds. Ray and Drew 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 explaining the brining process for the whole pig cooking demonstration

Ray Riley explaining the brining process for the whole pig cooking demonstration

Ray Riley injecting brine into pig

Ray Riley injecting brine into pig

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 event was 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.

Southside Market and Barbeque hot guts on the grill

Southside Market and Barbeque hot guts on the grill

Smoked pork baby back ribs from Southside Market and Barbeque

Smoked pork baby back ribs from Southside Market and Barbeque

Bryan Bracewell, Southside Market and Barbeque, helping serve brisket

Bryan Bracewell, Southside Market and Barbeque, helping serve brisket

Hog on the pit

The participants traveled to the Jeff Savell home to watch the whole pig being placed inside the cinder-block pit for all-day cooking. Thanks to Taylor Rowland, Max Martinez, and Patrick Frenzel for spending the day cooking the pig.

Brisket and pork Boston butt cooking

On Saturday morning, the briskets and pork butts were ready to be placed in peach paper for additional cooking to finish off. John Brotherton and Davey Griffin discussed the overnight cooking of the briskets and butts before the products were wrapped.

Davey Griffin showing brisket and butts near the end of cooking/smoking

Davey Griffin showing brisket and butts near the end of cooking/smoking

John Brotherton, Brotherton Barbecue, talking about wrapping briskets and butts

John Brotherton, Brotherton Barbecue, talking about wrapping briskets and butts

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 describing the different cuts of beef; Barbecue Summer Camp

Davey Griffin describing the different cuts of beef

Ray Riley describing beef grading using beef marbling charts

Ray Riley describing beef grading using beef marbling charts

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.

Drew Cassens pointing out beef cut location on carcass

Drew Cassens pointing out beef cut location on carcass

McKensie Harris showing the different styles of briskets

McKensie Harris showing the different styles of briskets

Courtney Boykin demonstrating the different beef ribs to the participants

Courtney Boykin demonstrating the different beef ribs to the participants

Katy Jo Nickelson discussing beef middle meats; Barbecue Summer Camp

Katy Jo Nickelson discussing 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.

Pork anatomy overview

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

Davey Griffin discussing pork cut nomenclature

Davey Griffin discussing pork cut nomenclature

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 McKensie Harris and Courtney Boykin conducted cutting demonstrations for the participants.

Courtney Boykin boning out a fresh ham

Courtney Boykin boning out a fresh ham

Micki Gooch discussing pork loins

Micki Gooch discussing pork loins

Pork ribs and belly demonstration

Pork ribs and belly demonstration

Adam Murray discussing pork shoulder cuts

Adam Murray discussing pork shoulder cuts

Whole-hog barbecue dinner

Saturday evening ended with a whole-pig cooking event where the beef and pork ribs that had been seasoned by the participants and prepared by John Brotherton were enjoyed. Although it was a hot July night, a good time was had by all.

Posing with the cooked pig

Posing with the cooked pig

Poultry sessions

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 sriracha sauce were prepared by the participants. Brandon shared the recipe for Peruvian Rotisserie Seasoning and showed the participants how to make.

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.

Brandon Burrows, Kerry, discussing different flavors

Brandon Burrows, Kerry, discussing different flavors

Brandon Burrows, Kerry, talking about seasoning poultry

Brandon Burrows, Kerry, talking about seasoning poultry

Preparing mayonnaise-based seasonings for poultry

Preparing mayonnaise-based seasonings for poultry

Discussing vacuum tumbling

Discussing vacuum tumbling

Seasoning poultry

Seasoning poultry

Mickey Speakmon cooking chicken

Mickey Speakmon cooking chicken

Summary

The seventh 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! Special thanks go to Jordan Hevner, Madalynn Kainer, and Carly Hoffman for providing such great logistic support for the camp, and to Jennifer Willis and Taylor Rowland, two students from the ANSC 117 Texas Barbecue class who volunteered their time to help out.

Savell writes foreword for Robb Walsh’s new edition of “Legends of Texas Barbecue”

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"Legends of Texas Barbecue" by Robb Walsh

“Legends of Texas Barbecue” by Robb Walsh

What a great honor it was when Robb Walsh asked me to write the foreword to the latest edition of the “Legends of Texas Barbecue!” Buying Robb’s book in the mid-2000s and meeting Robb later in the decade set in motion so many activities from the establishment of ANSC 117, “Texas Barbecue,” help with founding Foodways Texas, and hosting the wildly popular Barbecue Summer Camp and Camp Brisket at Texas A&M University. My love of barbecue before all of this was centered mostly on eating it, but I have found that my chance encounter with Robb’s book sent me on a different path for the remaining part of my career where now I am both a student and teacher of Texas Barbecue.

Here is the first paragraph of my foreword:

My first encounter with Robb Walsh’s writings occurred one summer day about 10 years ago in a Harry & David’s store in San Marcos, Texas when my wife and I stopped in to do some shopping on the way back from a trip to San Antonio. While my wife was looking around the store, I saw a display of books entitled “Legends of Texas Barbecue” by Robb Walsh. What was interesting to me at the time was that this was the only cookbook in the store. I picked one of the books up and began to browse through it. What caught my attention was that the book was a mixture of detailed stories about barbecue as well as a recipe book, too. After reading some of the stories and seeing the variety of recipes, I made my impulse purchase, which now looking back, had a profound impact on how I have spent my life over the past six years.

I look forward to having the latest edition of the “Legends of Texas Barbecue” for our freshman class this fall. Thanks to Robb Walsh for documenting so much about this great culinary treat that we love to learn about and enjoy eating.

Barbecue Summer Camp, June 2016 version, photo and summary wrap up

Cinder-block pit fired up and smoking
Cinder-block pit fired up and smoking

Cinder-block pit fired up and smoking

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.

Davey Griffin introducing the pit design and maintenance panel

Davey Griffin introducing the pit design and maintenance panel

Bryan Bracewell talking about pit design and maintenance

Bryan Bracewell talking about pit design and maintenance

Greg Gatlin and Russell Roegels

Greg Gatlin and Russell Roegels

Ryan Zboril, Greg Gatlin, Russell Roegels, Joe Riscky, Bryan Bracewell, and Davey Griffin

Ryan Zboril, Greg Gatlin, Russell Roegels, Joe Riscky, Bryan Bracewell, and Davey Griffin

 

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.

Steve Kapchinsie, Martin's Place

Steve Kapchinsie, Martin’s Place

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.

Robb Walsh reading from "Barbecue Crossroads"

Robb Walsh reading from “Barbecue Crossroads”

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.

Demonstrating calibrating themometer in boiling water and ice slush

Demonstrating calibrating themometer in boiling water and ice slush

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.

Ryan Heger discussing the different types of seasonings

Ryan Heger discussing the different types of seasonings

Applying seasonings to beef ribs

Applying seasonings to beef ribs

Mixing seasonings

Mixing seasonings

Katy Jo Nickelson supervising rub recipe application

Katy Jo Nickelson supervising rub recipe application

Seasoned pork Boston butt; Barbecue Summer Camp

Seasoned pork Boston butt

Seasoned pork St. Louis style ribs

Seasoned pork St. Louis style ribs

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.

Nick Nickelson talking about wood and smoke

Nick Nickelson talking about wood and smoke

Bryan Bracewell on the wood and smoke panel

Bryan Bracewell on the wood and smoke panel

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.

Bryan Bracewell talking about the meal prepared by Southside Market and Barbeque

Bryan Bracewell talking about the meal prepared by Southside Market and Barbeque

Bryan Bracewell discussing smoker

Bryan Bracewell discussing smoker

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.

Pig on grate

Pig on grate

Pig on cinder-block smoker

Pig on cinder-block smoker

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.

Davey Griffin wheeling beef carcass in to classroom

Davey Griffin wheeling beef carcass in to classroom

Ray Riley about to rib beef carcass

Ray Riley about to rib beef carcass

Hillary Henderson demonstrating different cuts of beef

Hillary Henderson demonstrating different cuts of beef

Clay Eastwood showing beef chuck cuts

Clay Eastwood showing beef chuck cuts

Aeriel Belk showing beef cuts

Aeriel Belk showing beef cuts

Mark Frenzel showing the anatomy of beef briskets

Mark Frenzel showing the anatomy of beef briskets

McKensie Harris showing beef rib cuts

McKensie Harris showing beef rib cuts

Davey Griffin discussing pork carcass anatomy

Davey Griffin discussing pork carcass anatomy

Mark Frenzel and Adam Murray demonstrating pork carcass cutting

Mark Frenzel and Adam Murray demonstrating pork carcass cutting

Courtney Boykin and Aeriel Belk talking about pork loins

Courtney Boykin and Aeriel Belk talking about pork loins

Drew Cassens demonstrating the different parts of the ham

Drew Cassens demonstrating the different parts of the ham

McKensie Harris showing different styles of pork ribs

McKensie Harris showing different styles of pork ribs

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.

Jeff Savell slicing briskets

Jeff Savell slicing briskets

Demonstrating brisket cross section

Demonstrating brisket cross section

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.

Taylor Rowland checking the pig temperature

Taylor Rowland checking the pig temperature

Cooked pig; Barbecue Summer Camp

Cooked pig

One of the most highly photographed pigs in the state. #bbqcamp #tamubbq @foodwaystexas #bbq #txbbq #wholehog #shiner

A photo posted by Kelly Yandell (@themeaningofpie) on

Pulling pork from cooked pig

Pulling pork from cooked pig

Serving line

Serving line

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.

Christine Alvarado lecturing on poultry production and products

Christine Alvarado lecturing on poultry production and products

Brandon Burrows leading product seasoning demonstration; Barbecue Summer Camp

Brandon Burrows leading product seasoning demonstration

Seasoned chicken

Seasoned chicken

Marinating poultry products

Marinating poultry products

Cooked wings and chicken sausage

Cooked wings and chicken sausage

Dale Hyatt preparing spatchcock chicken; Barbecue Summer Camp

Dale Hyatt preparing spatchcock chicken

Spatchcock chicken, Barbecue Summer Camp

Spatchcock chicken

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!

Texas Barbecue at the head of the class | MEAT+POULTRY

Barbecue Summer Camp participants watching Crystal Waters break down a pork carcass
Barbecue Summer Camp participants marvel at the sight of a pork carcass being broken down by Crystal Waters

Barbecue Summer Camp participants marvel at the sight of a pork carcass being broken down by Crystal Waters

Note: Thanks for Bob Sims at Meat + Poultry magazine for the wonderful article

Sometime in the mid-2000s, Jeff Savell began to leaf through the only book at a Harry and David’s while he and his wife, Jackie, were shopping. The book, “Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook,” by Robb Walsh, interested Savell and he bought it. “I read through it and enjoyed the recipes, as well as the stories that Robb wrote,” Savell says. “I didn’t think anything about it, put it on a shelf and kind of went on.”

What Savell, University Distinguished Professor, Regents Professor, E.M. “Manny” Rosenthal Chairholder, and the leader of the Meat Science Section in the Dept. of Animal Science at Texas A&M Univ. didn’t know at the time, was that the book would start a chain of events that has brought Texas barbecue and Texas A&M barbecue educational offerings to its current celebrity status.

The beginning 

In 2009, Texas A&M University challenged its professors to come up with small section freshmen classes to help the newcomers acclimate to college life. Savell remembered a 2008 small section class on baseball and thought if baseball fit in, so too could a class on barbecue. “And then I thought, ‘we’ve got the perfect book,’” he says, remembering “Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook” that had been gathering dust on his bookshelf.He and his colleagues put the class together and got it approved. Since then, Texas Barbecue (ANSC 117) has become one of the most popular freshmen classes on campus.

Two months after the approval of the class, Savell received a serendipitous and unsolicited email from author Robb Walsh looking for information about fajitas. “I sent him a note back that said, ‘I know who you are, I’ve got your book, we’re going to use it for this class,’” he says. Walsh was invited to campus to speak with faculty about fajitas, but also to speak to the Texas Barbecue class about his book.

Source and the rest of the article: Texas Barbecue at the head of the class | MEAT+POULTRY

Aggies participate in Houston BBQ Festival, 2016 version

Taylor Rowland, McKensie Harris, Bryan Bracewell, Southside Market & Barbeque, Adam Murray, and Katy Jo Nickelson; Houston BBQ Festival
Taylor Rowland, McKensie Harris, Bryan Bracewell, Southside Market & Barbeque, Adam Murray, and Katy Jo Nickelson; Houston BBQ Festival

Taylor Rowland, McKensie Harris, Bryan Bracewell, Southside Market & Barbeque, Adam Murray, and Katy Jo Nickelson

We participated in the 4th Houston BBQ Festival, which was held in the NRG Park area in Houston on Sunday, May 22, 2016. Those in attendance from Texas A&M University were Davey Griffin, Ray Riley, Katy Jo Nickelson, Adam Murray, Taylor Rowland, and McKensie Harris, and we have been fortunate to have been at each of the festivals held to date. 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.

Thanks again to Chris Reid and Michael Fulmer, the event founders, for 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.

Maxine Davis, Ray's BBQ Shack with Jeff Savell

Maxine Davis, Ray’s BBQ Shack with Jeff Savell

Ray Riley visiting with Barry Farm folks

Ray Riley visiting with Barry Farm folks

Davey Griffin and Ryan Zboril, Pitt's and Spitt's

Davey Griffin and Ryan Zboril, Pitt’s and Spitt’s

McKensie Harris, Katy Jo Nickelson, Taylor Rowland, Davey Griffin, Herb Taylor, Ray's BBQ Shack, and Adam Murray

McKensie Harris, Katy Jo Nickelson, Taylor Rowland, Davey Griffin, Herb Taylor, Ray’s BBQ Shack, and Adam Murray

Russell Roegels describing how his smoker works

Russell Roegels describing how his smoker works

Jeff Savell with Jason Tedford, Louie Mueller Barbecue

Jeff Savell with Jason Tedford, Louie Mueller Barbecue

Taylor Rowland, Katy Jo Nickelson, McKensie Harris, Brandon Allen, Jackson Street BBQ, and Adam Murray

Taylor Rowland, Katy Jo Nickelson, McKensie Harris, Brandon Allen, Jackson Street BBQ, and Adam Murray

Greg Gatlin, Gatlin's BBQ & Catering

Greg Gatlin, Gatlin’s BBQ & Catering

Ray Riley and Davey Griffin visiting with Ronnie Killen, Killen's Barbecue

Ray Riley and Davey Griffin visiting with Ronnie Killen, Killen’s Barbecue

Wayne Kammerl, The Brisket House with team members

Wayne Kammerl, The Brisket House with team members

Russell and Misty Roegels visiting with students

Russell and Misty Roegels visiting with students

As usual, 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.

Opening the lid on Camp Brisket, one of Texas barbecue’s most exclusive events | GuideLive

Davey Griffin leading the discussion of pits
As Texas A&M professor Davey Griffin demonstrates, frequent monitoring of the smoker is part of the job. But don’t open the lid too much; that’s a no no. Camp Brisket. Michael Haskins/Special Contributor

As Texas A&M professor Davey Griffin demonstrates, frequent monitoring of the smoker is part of the job. But don’t open the lid too much; that’s a no no. Michael Haskins/Special Contributor

Sarah Blaskovich, GuideLive, sarahblaskovich@dallasnews.com

Tell any barbecue enthusiast you’ve spent two days at Camp Brisket at Texas A&M University, and the reaction will be unanimous: Take me with you next time. If only it were so easy.The $495 class last month sold out online via Foodways Texas in 10 seconds. The yearly event has gotten so popular since it started in 2013 that folks from nearly every corner of the U.S. – Seattle, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Buffalo, N.Y., and many points in between – traveled to College Station to hear Texas’ most notable barbecue experts share secrets.

Camp Brisket won’t get any larger or more frequent, either. Classes in an aging Texas A&M room max out at about 60 people each year, ensuring the high-priced boot camp feels like an exclusive two days spent tasting and talking about Texas barbecue’s most famous cut: brisket.

“If we had chicken fried steak camp, no one would come,” jokes Jeff Savell, a professor who specializes in meat science at A&M.

Yes, brisket is the reason Central Texas barbecue has become a worldwide curiosity, with restaurants opening as far away as Melbourne, Australia, emulating the Lone Star State style.

Camp Brisket, then, is barbecue church camp.

Down in the pulpit were panelists Wayne Mueller, owner of Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor; Bryan Bracewell, owner of the 134-year-old Southside Market & Barbeque in Elgin; Russell Roegels, owner of the new Roegels Barbecue Co. in Houston; Daniel Vaughn, barbecue editor of Texas Monthly; a team of meat scientists at Texas A&M; and the biggest celebrity of them all, Aaron Franklin, owner of Franklin Barbecue in Austin and one of the world’s most revered brisket experts.

“Here comes barbecue Jesus,” someone whispered as Franklin walked in during the first session of Camp Brisket.

And the revival had begun.

Cornering the barbecue obsession

Eager students at Camp Brisket were required to introduce themselves – to explain themselves, maybe – when the first class kicked off. One man said he was there “to justify the massive expenditures of barbecue equipment.”

He makes a good point: The steep $500 admission fee to Camp Brisket is nothing compared with the thousands of dollars that can be spent on a smoker, then on each $100 brisket, some of which might endure 15 hours of low, slow smoking only to turn out mediocre and land in the trash. (No telling how much Domino’s and Pizza Hut have made after failed barbecue attempts.)

Most had ambitions of opening a barbecue joint when they retire, or when the oil and gas industry finally tanks, or when their wives would let them quit their day jobs. Each shamelessly loved barbecue and desperately wanted pitmaster secrets.

“It’s pretty interesting to ponder why we do this to ourselves,” said Robb Walsh, a Texas food writer and speaker at Camp Brisket.

Smoking brisket is an art and a science that’s nearly impossible to perfect. It involves stoking a fire in a smoker located outdoors, then keeping the temperature consistent for more than half a day while the fatty piece of meat inside cooks slowly and develops a peppery bark and smoke flavor.

No wonder barbecue enthusiasts develop such a relationship with their smokers.

“You pray to it. You drink beer with it,” said Kevin Kolman of Weber. And you sit out there – for a long time.

Source: Opening the lid on Camp Brisket, one of Texas barbecue’s most exclusive events | GuideLive

11 brisket secrets for at-home barbecue enthusiasts | GuideLive

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Pecan Lodge is one of Dallas' most popular barbecue restaurants for brisket. Ben Torres/Special Contributor

Pecan Lodge is one of Dallas’ most popular barbecue restaurants for brisket. Ben Torres/Special Contributor

Sarah Blaskovich, GuideLive sblaskovich@dallasnews.com

This is not a brisket recipe. You can find thousands of those online and in cookbooks, and each of them will give you guidelines as to how to spend a dozen or so hours smoking a fatty hunk of meat. Instead, these are brisket tips from some of the Lone Star State’s most knowledgeable brisket cookers. They shared their secrets during Camp Brisket, a two-day intensive workshop for 60 beef-obsessed people. (For more on Camp Brisket, click here.)

“The barbecue tradition is taking meat and making it delicious through a time-consuming process,” says Texas food writer Robb Walsh. But because factors such as outdoor temperature, wind and fire can be so volatile, smoking brisket takes time. Be patient as you learn your pit and the science of barbecue.

Know your wood.

Texas barbecue experts disagree on which wood smokes brisket best. Popular options are post oak, mesquite, hickory and pecan, and Camp Brisket lets attendees taste briskets smoked with each. Wood does make a difference in how your brisket will taste, so experiment with them. Ask your favorite pitmasters what they use, too.

Fat is a good thing. But you’ll need to trim some of it off.

Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue in Austin recommends cutting off as much as 30 percent of the entire weight of the brisket. “Good fat is flavor,” Franklin explains. Good fat will keep a brisket moist while it cooks. “But bad fat: That’s bad fat.” And it has to go.

Your mission while trimming off fat is to make the fat layer even, about 1/4-inch thick. If you’re at a barbecue joint, a good bite of brisket should include some rendered fat. When you order, ask for “moist” slices and you’ll get the pitmaster’s best.

Source: 11 brisket secrets for at-home barbecue enthusiasts | GuideLive