Some people like to call me a bigot. I've even heard it from a few people I call friends. I contend that the only bigotry in my psyche is over barbeque. I like Texas style. Grilling and charcoal don't count. I like my grilled meats, but I love my Barbeque. Texas style barbeque is beef brisket, beef sausage, and pork ribs in that order of importance. The key to Texas barbeque is the smoke. In Texas, when you want some barbeque, you go to the local barbeque joint where it's served on butcher paper with white bread or crackers. Some of the joints have sides and some don't. Basically, you take inedibly tough meat like brisket or shoulder, or maybe some meat that's questionably old, and you smoke it for twelve hours or so. What's left at the end is Texas barbeque. Some people like sauce, and some people don't. Personally, I prefer to not rely on sauce; it's more challenging to cook meat without it. If the barbeque isn't very good, pass me the sauce!
A quick note on sauce: I'll eat it if I like it. Vinegar, tomato, sweet, I don't really care what it is, so long as it's good. Kraft counts as good sometimes. It's better than most other brands; I add extra heat. Barbeque isn't about sauce, it's about meat.
If Texas style barbeque sounds like a meat market more than a restaurant, that's because it is. Restaurants serve steaks. Barbecue joints serve brisket. Up here in Maryland, you can't get good barbeque. It's all grilling, saucing, faux 'que. It's ok, I guess, but I tend to smother it with sauce. Some restaurants serve real smoked meat in the beginning, but by the time the restaurant catches on, they start cooking it in higher heat for faster preparation. They'll insist that the meat is smoked, and maybe it is. However, they don't tell you that it's smoked in an hour or less. Now, I just get fried fish and brunswick stew. I like fish. I like brunswick stew. It's not barbeque, but at least it's better than white ribs cooked too damn quick. I've even come to the point where I rate the restaurants around here on their brunswick stew. I still long for butcher paper and good, slow brisket.
Maryland has an interesting custom for eating crabs. They're served on butcher paper and in crates, and eaten with fingers and wooden mallets. I respect the crab; it's a lot like home. Unfortunately, they won't take the same care with the beef, and I'm not a big fan of crab.
For now, I get whatever is around. If I resign myself to catfish and brunswick stew, I don't get too upset with what they serve me. I need to go back to Austin sometime, if only for the meat.