Camp Brisket 2016
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend Camp Brisket 2016 sponsored by Foodways Texas & Texas A&M, with about 50 other attendees from over 11 states ranging from serious amateurs (ME) to chefs looking to up their game. It was an awesome two day event packed full of some serious meat science, brisket prep/cooking, tasting, pit design and non stop info from a panel of bbq celebrity bad-asses, all with the constant smell of bbq smoke wafting about. In short, IT WAS HEAVEN!
So after the event, the first question everybody asks me is "what's the secret" aka, the one thing that makes Aaron Franklin's and Russell Roegels' worthy of a presidential visit? Well, that's like asking a photographer what lens he uses to get those great National Geographic shots. In short, it's really the whole combination of things; cook time/temp, pit design, resting & holding, wrapping vs unwrapped, prep/seasoning/trimming & meat grade. If I were forced to pick just one thing that all these guys do, it's use good meat. I don't think anybody on the panel uses anything lower than Certified Angus Beef & most use Prime. The old saying, "you just can't polish a turd" goes for meat too. I was told that Select grade has consistently finished last in every blind tasting put on by the camp.
One of the interesting panel discussions was about pit design & good/bad smoke. These guys really went into some detail about pit aerodynamics or the flow of smoke over the meat. After some long conversations with Aaron Franklin & Wayne Mueller, I learned that my pit "baby got back" is due for some surgery. Baby's problem is too small of an exhaust causing the fire to smolder and produce dirty smoke. More on this topic in Franklin Barbecue- A Meat Smoking Manifesto.
Now, I could go on & on about this (just ask my wife), but in keeping with my other blog posts, I'd rather share some pictures from the event & link to some other/better writers.
Speaking of links, this entry from the TAMU Agriculture & Life Sciences blog by Dr. Jeff Savell sums up the event. Check me out on the front row, doing some learnin'.
In all, I had a great time, learned a lot of stuff, ate BBQ and met a bunch of great people. Thank you Foodways Texas and the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University for having me. Especially, Davey Griffin, Ray Riley, Jeff Savell, & Marvin Bendele.
Now for all the links: Aaron Franklin, Arnis Robbins, Daniel Vaughn, Foodways Texas, 44 Farms, Homer Robertson, Jess Pryles, Kelly Yandell, Kevin Kolman, Killen's Barbecue, Pitt's & Spitt's, Robb Walsh, Rosenthal Meat Center, Russell Roegels, St Arnold Brewing, Wayne Mueller, Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker If I've forgotten someone, please forgive me.