Barbecue Summer Camp teaches finer aspects of smoking meat

Writer: Blair Fannin, 979-845-2259, b-fannin@tamu.edu

Contact: Dr. Davey Griffin, 979-845-3935, dgriff@tamu.edu

COLLEGE STATION – Who says summer camp is just for youth? At Texas A&M University, adults flocked to summer barbecue camp in College Station by the hundreds to find out how to cook great beef brisket, pork ribs, chicken and other cuts of meat suited best for the pit.

Barbecue Summer Camp is so popular that a lottery system has been put in place to handle registration, according to organizers. The camp, sponsored by Foodways Texas and the meat science section of the Texas A&M department of animal science, is a must for those wanting to learn how to smoke meat Texas style.

“This is the fifth of year of our barbecue summer camp,” said Dr. Davey Griffin, a meat specialist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and professor in animal science at Texas A&M. “The lottery system was put into place due to so much demand for people to come and learn more about barbecue. It just continues to grow.”

Sausage being smoked for serving at Summer Barbecue Camp. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

Smoked sausage being sliced for serving at Summer Barbecue Camp. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

Smoked sausage being sliced for serving at Summer Barbecue Camp. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

Bryan Bracewell, CEO of Southside Market & Barbecue, serves sliced brisket to Summer Barbecue Camp attendees. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

Bryan Bracewell, CEO of Southside Market & Barbecue, slices beef brisket to Summer Barbecue Camp attendees. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

 

 

 

Sliced beef brisket ready for serving at Summer Barbecue Camp. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Davey Griffin, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service meat specialist, discusses pit design at Summer Barbecue Camp. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

Griffin said participants are from walks of life and include people interested in getting into the barbecue business to

Summer Barbecue Camp attendees inspect a pit used to smoke a whole hog. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

those just wanting to learn how to smoke a better beef brisket.

“We teach the science behind barbecue,” Griffin said. “We talk all about how to design a pit, build a fire, thermometers, spices and seasonings, how to develop seasonings and put on briskets, beef ribs and pork ribs. We talk about all of the cuts and which ones are good for cooking barbecue.”

At the same time, those cuts are being smoked outside on campus as camp attendees participate in “heavy tasting.”

“The last day of the course, participants talk about poultry and all of the poultry cuts,” Griffin said. “We even cook a whole pig on the pit. It’s a fun weekend full of protein. Hopefully people go away with a lot of information. We get people from all over, even out of state. It’s just good social interaction, everybody gets to know everybody really well just like a family barbecue at home.”

Marvin Bendele, Foodways Texas president, said the organization is membership driven with a mission to preserve, promote and celebrate the diverse food cultures of Texas.

“We are a group of Texans from all over ranging from farmers, ranchers, chefs, foodies and scholars as well,” he said.

To attend the camp, individuals must be a member of Foodways Texas, then enter the registration lottery.

“Before the lottery the first time we offered this camp, we sold out within weeks,” he said. “It grew so fast the last last time we did an online registration, we sold out in 10 seconds,” Bendele said. “It’s been incredible. There are varying reasons people are here, a lot of it has to do with cooking brisket, but also talking about anatomy, grades and cuts of meats. I think people want to pick up some tips on what they are buying and they get to rub elbows with some famous Texas pitmasters. I’ve done this eight times and I learn something new every time.”

This year’s camp featured Texas pitmasters Kerry Bexley, Snow’s Barbecue, Bryan Bracewell, Southside Market and Barbeque, John Brotherton, Brotherton Barbecue, Russell Roegels, Roegels Barbecue and Ryan Zboril, Pitt’s and Spitt’s.

“It’s been a dream come true (to attend the camp),” said Dennis Eichelbaum of Plano. “I’ve been on a waiting list for the lottery for three years. I’ve always loved to grill, but wanted to learn more about how to smoke. I’m learning to figure out what type of smoker I want and then I can’t wait to try it out.”

For more information about the camp, visit http://bit.ly/2r2zdti .

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