History of Texas Barbecue
If you know anything about barbecue, you know it isn't just a single dish. Barbecue is an entire cuisine—one made with care and attention to ensure that diners get the best meal they've ever eaten.
At Hutchins BBQ, you'll find the best traditions of Texas barbecue on full display. Texas barbecue has a unique history that influences the way we create our dishes in the present day. This history is a fascinating piece of our story, so keep reading to learn more.
What is Barbecuing, Anyway?
In some parts of the country, barbecuing is just another name for grilling, but not so in Texas.
In Texas (and, really, throughout the south), barbecuing refers to the process of slow-cooking meat via indirect heat. The meat is placed around the source of heat (typically wood in Texas), covered and then left to smoke. The process can take hours to complete, depending on the sizes and types of meat you're cooking. The results are some of the most tender, flavorful meats you'll ever put in your mouth.
Texas Barbecue: The Brief History
Barbecuing is as old as the United States itself. In Texas, the history of this rich food has developed in diverse ways. And depending on where you go, different regions have different barbecue stories.
Generally, Texas barbecue falls into four distinct groups based on regions:
- Central Texas barbecue evolved from the smoked meats prepared by German and Czech immigrants who poured into the region in the 1800s.
- South Texas has barbacoa, rooted in the traditions of earlier Mexican and Spanish cuisines.
- East Texas contributes the rich flavors of African American cuisine, which spread throughout the Lone Star State following emancipation.
- West Texas developed a reputation for so-called "cowboy barbecue," which is notable because it is cooked over an open flame.
These different traditions combine to create unique experiences for diners while proving that there's no single way to make Texas barbecue. But you'll also find a few unique qualities to Texas barbecue that aren't as prevalent in other regional barbecue cuisines.
Practically any meat can be barbecued, but in Texas, the staple is beef. From brisket to ribs and even barbecued steaks, the expansive cattle and ranching industry in the Lone Star State has given rise to the heart and soul of the barbecued beef industry.
Another prominent feature of Texas barbecue is the heavy use of smoked sausages. With the arrival of Germans, Czechs and other central European immigrants in Texas came their expertise in preparing and preserving sausages of all kinds. These immigrants also added many of the unique spices used in their cuisines to the Texas flavor palate.
In east Texas, you're also likely to find barbecued chicken and pulled pork among barbecue offerings. These meats are staples in the barbecue of the deep south and southeast. With east Texas' proximity to and shared identity with the culture of these regions, barbecue craftsmen are rapidly incorporating these dishes into the Texas barbecue repertoire.
Seasonings and Flavors
Texas barbecue packs flavor in every bite. You may like your barbecue savory or sweet, or you may want a meal that brings the heat, and you can find it all in the Lone Star State.
In central Texas, the German and Czech influences helped perfect the dry rub as a statewide institution, given the traditional use of dry rubs when preserving smoked meats. Conversely, you're much more likely to find barbecue prepared with sauces in south and east Texas. In south Texas, sauces are often made with sweet bases, whereas tomato sauce is typically the base in east Texas.
And when it comes to flavor, the key is to make liberal use of the right spices. You'll find a diversity of them in Texas barbecue. Salt and pepper will be there, of course. You'll usually find brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika heavily present as well. As you move south, you'll often find more distinct Latin American flavors entering the mix. In east Texas, the flavors used in Creole, Cajun and Low Country cuisine also become more prevalent.
The Art of Creating Texas Barbecue
Whatever style of Texas barbecue you prefer, you're in for a delicious meal. Good barbecue is crafted, not just cooked, and it honors the traditions of Texas barbecue that are alive and well today.
That's the code we live by at Hutchins BBQ. Our sauces and dry rubs are prepared to give you flavor in every bite. Our pecan-wood-fired smokers work day in and day out to help us to ensure that every piece of meat that leaves our kitchens is the best you've ever tasted. We believe in serving every diner a meal that we would serve our own families. At its core, that belief is what Texas barbecue is all about.