WORDS AND IMAGES BY ALYSSA STEVENSON
We spent the better part of Saturday sipping beers from Armadillo Ale Works at Lone Star Taps and Caps and learning all the barbecue secrets we could fit into our brains with the pit masters from Bet the House. After several hours of smoking meats, asking questions about trimming fat, and munching on some of the tastiest brisket we've ever had we figured we'd share our newfound wisdom with you. Read on for 5 things that will make your smoked meats better.
1. Pepper first. Cody and Shawn from Bet the House made liberal use of a course ground black pepper on both their ribs and their brisket. Now don't start thinking of how badly your wrists are going to hurt from hand grinding all that pepper in your pepper mill. They seriously buy the big bulk pepper from Kroger - and love it because the Kroger shaker has the best holes for spice dispersing. We aren't making this up. They pepper the trimmed brisket or ribs liberally before adding any salt (if they add salt at all) and any other rub they may use. The ribs get the special treatment of a brown sugar sprinkle while they're resting straight out of the smoker.
2. Buy your meats at NT Foods. They boast a great price on brisket and sell to the public. For real. If you can't get to NT Foods don't be afraid of the meat in normal grocery stores, you don't have to have the Central Market butcher to cut you something special to sit in your smoker for hours.
3. Trim your fat. When you unwrap that massive hunk of meat that you just brought home to cook low and slow for all to enjoy, don't leave the big pieces of hard fat on it. The hard fat won't render down and will just be extra fat sitting on your brisket. Take the time to trim off the excess, leaving a smaller layer of fat for the beef to cook in.
4. Take your time. Low and slow is the way to go. Check your smoked meats a few times during the process. Spritz if you're into that kinda thing. Once your meats have a nice crust on them wrap them in butcher paper and keep cooking. The butcher paper lets all that smokey goodness in while your meats get nice and tender. You'll know they're ready when they droop as you hold them up or feel pretty wiggly to touch.
5. Pair with local beer. Armadillo has some great beers that pair really well with any kinda 'cue you're smokin' up in the back yard. Their Honey Please is their first blonde ale and pairs really well with a long afternoon in the sun in the hickory smoked air. They also have a new beer, Dapper Apple, that is fantastic with ribs. Don't be fooled by the name, it's not a sweet and syrupy cider - it's a beer that has a delightful fruit-forward apple flavor coming at you when it first hits your tongue. They're moving into their new location on Bell as well. Fingers crossed they'll be up and running by the end of the summer!
If you're looking to be a barbecue master, or just the best brisket on the block, or you simply like to eat barbecue and enjoy some great company, keep your eyes peeled for more beer and barbecue centric events from RVC Productions in the future!