Dr. Jeff Savell, the head of the Meat Science program at Texas A&M, led the whole hog demonstration at the first annual Foodways Texas BBQ Summer Camp last weekend. In fact, the pit was located in Dr. Savell’s backyard. The three day crash course in barbecue arts and science included some thoughts about BBQ culture from me, a sneak preview of a new Foodways Texas movie about pit master Vencil Mares of Taylor Cafe, and a whole lot of hands-on seasoning, smoking and work in the meat science lab.
Dr. Davey Griffin’s anatomy lectures featuring a step by step breakdown of a whole side of beef and a whole hog were among the most popular parts of the program. Dr. Christine Alvardo’s talk on brining, marinating, injecting and tumbling was also well received–as was her half day presentation on poultry. Dr. “Nick” Nickerson offered a chemical comparison of smoke from various hardwoods that was the first presentation of its kind.
The involvement of Texas A&M Meat Science professors made the Foodways Texas BBQ Summer Camp a much more sophisticated learning experience than your typical barbecue cooking class. But we still spent a lot of quality time cooking, carving and eating barbecued brisket.
Additional catering was provided by Goode Company Barbecue of Houston and Southside Market out of Elgin. Third generation barbecueman Bryan Bracewell from Southside Market was on hand all weekend to help answer questions. Next year’s Foodways Texas BBQ Summer Camp is already being planned.