recipe

BBQ Anatomy 101: Smoked Spinalis

I can’t get enough of brisket, and I’ll look for any excuse to eat a ribeye steak, but the best cut of beef is the spinalis. It’s the portion of the ribeye that any steak connoisseur savors first. Also known as the ribeye cap, this cut lays like a thick blanket around the outer edge of the ribeye (upper right in the photo below). It’s more tender than the rest of the ribeye, and generously marbled….

Pressure Cooker Pinto Beans

Memphis, Kansas City, and Boston have their sweet baked beans, but in Texas, we prefer pintos, and we prefer them savory and a little spicy. Pinto beans have become a pretty typical mainstay on barbecue joint menus, likely because the canned kind is cheap and easy to buy. And, even out of the can, they’re pretty good, but it’s hard to compare with a batch cooked from dry beans. For many, the idea of soaking the…

Cracking Gooseneck

A couple months back I served the worst version of barbecue that I’d ever cooked. The guests were warned my smoked beef gooseneck was an experiment, but it the result was just plain bad. The meat shredded apart into dry flakes. The cut, technically a bottom round flat, looks like a brisket, weighs as much as one, and even has a fat cap—but that’s where the similarities end. The previous attempt at bottom round flat was a failure…

Beef Shorter Ribs

Smoking a brisket is no easy task, and you’ll need a crowd to finish the six or so pounds of smoked meat. Short ribs, specifically beef plate short ribs, make for a much easier hunk of beef to tackle because they’re consistent. Their thickness, marbling, and the direction of their grain are the same all the way through. With more intramuscular fat than a ribeye, they’re almost impossible to dry out. Basically, mastering smoked brisket is…

Texas-Style Potato Salad

Mustard didn’t come anywhere near the potato salads of my youth. Chopped celery and mayo dominated those recipes, and the only pickle flavor might be in the form of some of the salty juice. The standard Ohio salad dressing—be it for iceberg lettuce, slaw, or potatoes—was mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar (sometimes in the form of pickle juice). That’s still what I use to whip up a batch of quick chicken salad, but it just doesn’t taste right…

Beef Belly Bacon

As the late Josh Ozersky once observed, “The fat is the meat, and the meat is the vegetable.” Fat matters. Without fat, which provides the signature flavor to meat, beef would taste just like pork or lamb or chicken or goat. And anyone who fills their cart with raw steak knows the value of beef fat—prime beef fetches a handsome price compared to lesser grades because of the greater amount of intramuscular fat. But not all…