Tips and Recipes For Celebrating National BBQ Month in West Texas
Decades ago when I started at the radio station, I was asked to a cookout competition in Buffalo gap at the Perini Ranch (it was a fundraiser). I was representing our radio stations and my job was to make the chili and cook a brisket. It was that day when I realized my love for barbequing.
From that day forth I began asking questions, researching, and developing my own recipes. While in the beginning, I didn't win anything, I didn't even make it to the finals table. With a broken heart and a huge ambition, I started asking the professionals what they did to make those incredibly memorable steaks and barbecue.
The first person I spoke with left a HUGE impression on me about the importance of taking care of the meat prior to cooking it. That person was Joe Allen and he is still, in my book the best steak and brisket cooker in the world. I will warn you though, that his recipe is so simple that you'll ask yourself "why didn't I think of that."
Another person that made a huge impact on my cooking life, was Tom Perini and he taught me that preparation is everything. Then there was the Mast Chef at Fairway Oaks when it first opened. His name was Chef Sid and he was a culinary arts institute-trained Master Chef graduate who shared with me the basics and principles of what to consider when preparing something to cook.
Finally, prior to his retirement, Wilton Turnerhill told me that you have to love what you are doing when you are cooking for others. With all that said, all these great cooks had the same basic ingredients in common but it's the preparation and flavors you use toward the end of the cooking process.
The Secret to Preparing the Meats
- Pick good cuts of meat, the cheap stuff tends to be tough
- Let all your meats reach room temperature prior to seasoning it
- Let stand and cure with the seasoning on it and don't be afraid to season it
- The cooking temperature has to be hot. I learned that 400 degrees or higher is best
- Stay On The Grill, and watch what you're cooking. The Texas Roadhouse cooks leave their grills
The Recipes and Ingredients to Making an Awesome BBQ
- SALT - Joe said to use good salt, and Chef Sid said to use Sea Salt is say whatever meats your fancy (yes I know meets, we're cooking here)
- PEPPER - they all mostly agreed that "cracked" pepper was not necessary
- GRANULATED GARLIC - was back in the day their little secret and it's great
- ONION POWDER - Chef Sid said to use fresh onions I use the granulated kind
- CHILI POWDER - While they said to use basic powder, I use ONLY New Mexico Dark Red Chili Powder
- SMOKED PAPRIKA - If you are grilling with gas yes, if mesquite use the regular
- BROWN SUGAR - If you like a sweet BBQ flavor then season to your liking
There are a lot of different kinds of meat and steak seasonings out there. You can probably make one better just check the labels all the ingredients I mentioned above are probably listed in those high-dollar steak and barbecue seasonings.
Most importantly don't be afraid to cook, use your imagination. If you like your meat to taste a little sweeter add some brown sugar, maybe a touch of maple or pecan syrup or honey. I love to use a pecan, brown sugar, or honey bourbon, I marinate steaks in it.
Last but certainly not least look at what you're going to be cooking with is it a gas grill? Would you rather use charcoal briquets or real woods like Pecan, Maple, Oak, or Mesquite? Maybe you have a pellet grill or do as my with does a cast iron griddle-grill in the oven.
All you have to do is use your imagination and before you know it, you'll be creating a masterpiece. Happy Barbecue Month Y'all.