If Texas and Arizona had a baby, it would be Caldwell County BBQ. Why Texas? Because Caldwell County BBQ owner, Clay Caldwell got a taste of Central Texas-style BBQ. Rather than have to move to Texas to enjoy this world-famous Texas-style BBQ, he decided to bring it home.
Just how popular is Texas Style BBQ? It has become such a hit that people from all over the world come to Texas to indulge in this famous BBQ style. You will see people anxiously waiting in long lines to get into famous spots like Franklin BBQ. The wait can be as long as four hours on busy weekends.
When people say “Texas-style,” they mean “Central Texas-style”
When someone says “Texas-style,” they may be referring to one of four barbeque traditions: East Texas, Central Texas, South Texas, and West Texas. Each geographical area has its own unique style of barbeque. Of these different styles, the Central Texas-style is what most people want for the ultimate BBQ experience.
The popularity of Central Texas BBQ may be from the fact that Central Texas is where it all started. It was in the mid-19th century that German and Czech settlers brought their European meat-smoking traditions with them.
In those days there were few solutions for refrigeration, besides iceboxes. Butchers would smoke leftover meat so it could be stored longer without spoiling. Smoked leftover meat became popular with migrants in the area, and meat markets began to specialize in smoked meats. You will find many famous barbeque joints that started as meat markets.
What makes Central Texas-Style BBQ so good!
There are five main things that differentiate Central Texas BBQ from other BBQ styles in Texas or anywhere in the USA. Some may seem minor, but they all add up to what makes this much-loved BBQ style the favorite of many people.
1. Where’s the beef?
The first thing that makes Texas-style BBQ better than all the rest for many is the type of meat. Caldwell County BBQ uses US Prime Brisket only.
When a Texas BBQ fan tries some other styles, they are likely to say “where’s the beef?” While pork ribs, sausage, turkey, and pulled pork are usually included at Texas barbeque restaurants, beef is the headliner. And beef brisket specifically.
Brisket, one of the nine beef primal cuts, is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest of beef. There are two distinct portions, a lean or “flat” cut, and fattier “point” portion. The fat cut or “moist,” is the most popular, as it’s more flavorful. The lean side is harder to cook perfectly, but some customers prefer that cut.
2. A fire that burns low and slow
The second and no less important thing that makes for perfect Texas-style BBQ, is how it’s cooked.
For beef to come out tender and moist, it must be roasted low and slow over indirect heat. A carefully controlled oak, mesquite, pecan or hickory hardwood fire is the secret. If the beef is cooked too hot and too fast, the collagen won’t have time to render and the meat will be tough.
Pitmasters who use the low and slow method will take up to 20 hours to cook each brisket. No self-respecting pitmaster would use gas or electricity, God forbid! But due to regulations on indoor smokers, space considerations, some may be forced into this unfortunate situation.
3. There’s the rub!
Dying to eat, perchance to dream – of the perfect Texas-style BBQ! – Ay, there’s the rub!
Another important part of making the perfect BBQ is the “rub,” the seasoning rubbed on the outside of the meat. Rubs seal and enhance the flavor of the meat while forming a tasty crust. In a reaction called osmosis, the rub also pulls moisture out of the air and draws juices from the inside.
One of the main characteristics of Central Texas BBQ is simplicity. The traditional rub for brisket is just salt and black pepper, no “secret spices.” A lot of pitmasters will use a mixture of spices, ingredients such as chili powder, black pepper, other peppers, paprika, garlic, and onion, are common ones. Caldwell County BBQ stays true to the salt and pepper method.
4. To sauce or not to the sauce, that is the question
Now here is something that could lead to fistfights in Texas. And that is the subject of putting a sauce on your brisket. A purist will say “no way, Jose,” like a steak lover will freak at someone who puts ketchup on fillet mignon!
At the Mecca of Texas BBQ, though, Austin’s Franklin BBQ, patrons are given several sauces on the side to add as they desire. One thing is sauces and marinades for classic Texas-style BBQ are not added before smoking. Some are saucers and some are sauce lovers. Whatever floats your boat, you won’t be wrong to use any of the many secret sauces out there. Caldwell County BBQ provides their sauces on the side.
5. Not to be eaten alone
Texas BBQ of any kind needs the sides and condiments to complete the meal. Your feast wouldn’t be complete without ample amounts of Cole Slaw, Potato Salad, and Pinto Beans. If you’re really hungry or have your kids with you, order some mac ‘n cheese. If you are still hungry, add BBQ classics like pulled pork, sausages or turkey to your meal.
Make sure you add some condiments, pickles, jalapenos, onions, and sliced white bread. Also, eating Central Texas BBQ is a lot better if you are not alone. Have lots of family and friends with you. Make sure one of your group is a designated driver and order plenty of beer to wash down your vittles!
Good things come to those who wait
One more thing, don’t forget that with the popularity of Texas BBQ, there may be a long line and a wait at the best Texas barbeque restaurants. But you don’t have to go to Texas to have this famous barbeque style. Right here in Gilbert, Arizona, Caldwell County BBQ can satisfy that need. Visit us soon and bring the family. You will understand why we are so enthusiastic about our specialty, Texas-Style BBQ!