The History of How the Barbecue We Love in Tyler, Texas Got Its Start
Who has the best barbecue is an eternal, and never won, argument. But no matter if the argument is for a region, a restaurant or an individual, the barbecue is still good. I'm a native Texan so, yes, there is some bias, but that doesn't mean I won't enjoy a plate of Kansas City or Carolina barbecue. The thing is, though, there is just something about the flavor of Texas barbecue that makes it stand out above all the others. So where exactly did Texas barbecue come from? Let's take a look at some of that history.
Early Days of Barbecue
For a look at this history, let's go back to the early 1900's. Texas barbecue is a mix of African American and Spanish cooking techniques used on German meats. The term barbecue itself comes from a variation of the Haitian word barbacot or sticks set up for smoking or cooking meat.
Cattle in Texas
The abundance of cattle in Texas made cooking meat somewhat cheap and easy. Texans would cook an entire steer to feed a family or a large group. West Texans used a cooking technique called cowboy style which was a cut of beef with an oil and vinegar baste cooked over an open pit.
East Texas Barbecue
East Texas even had a variation of barbecue. African Americans here would substitute pork for beef with a particular love for brisket which would be slow cooked and eaten as is or with a sauce (thc.texas.gov).
Still Served Like in the 1900's
If you've been to Kreuz Market in Lockhart, Texas, they still cook and serve their meat just like it was in the early 1900's. During that time, people would order their meat with a side of crackers, a pickle, an onion and/or some kind of fresh produce. This meal would be eaten without utensils. This is exactly how its served at Kreuz Market, no utensils, so be prepared to use your hands.
The Bottom Line
Texas barbecue has an influence from many locations around the world that we have made into our own. Great, now I need to make a trip to Stanley's and crush this barbecue craving after writing about all this great meat.