detroit city couldn't sing my song
Barbecue: A Texas Love Story, the definitive film on the subject, is finally out on DVD, just in time to get a copy if you happen to be moving to the Congo. Narrated by my hero / former Governor Ann Richards and with a soundtrack by my favorite band-to-go-two-stepping-to, Two Tons of Steel, it's just lots of fun and a good look at one of Texas' best traditions/cultural landmarks. Sadly, the "Jesus loved barbecue" shirts are sold out.
My favorite part of the film is during the interview with Two Tons of Steel in Terlingua. One of the guys mentions that the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville feeds the artists barbecue before the show and that he "just had to stop" eating it because it was so bad. I am lucky to have great parents, and of all the things they did while we were growing up, not letting us eat Tennessee barbecue was one of the best parenting decisions they made. Their argument was that pork isn't barbecue and since that's all they have in Tennessee, barbecue consumption was best saved for our frequent trips home to Texas. We literally never ate the stuff there, except for one time when daddy had a business trip in San Francisco and mom went with him and the friends they left my sister and I with took us to Herbert's, the now-defunct local joint, for pulled pork.
I'm not one to wade into the debate over who has the best brisket/ribs/sausage in Texas, but my favorite Texas bbq story actually occurred in Connecticut. (There's something wrong with that sentence, but it's true.) See, up in the great white north, Texans have a way of finding one another, and eventually someone decided to start a club. The Yale Texas Club, to be precise. It really wasn't much of the club (although we had the best t-shirts), but once a year, usually in late September when it was just getting cold, all the Texans at Yale would huddle together in a corner of the Old Campus and the boys would barbecue. They shipped in sauce from Austin and someone would splurge on Dr. Pepper ($5 for a 12-pack), the security detail for a certain president's daughter would drink all the Dr. Pepper, and we would all sit around and be cold, but at least a little bit happy for once, together.
So one year at the barbecue, my friend Adrian and I were waiting in line and wondering how this girl named Nicole wasn't freezing to death (Literally. She was wearing nothing but cowboy boots and a Texas flag). It was really cold and we were waiting by the pit when this random guy who was walking by leans in and asks the cook, "So, how do you know how to do this?" The cook stopped what he was doing, looked up, and said, "I'm from Texas. It's what we do," and went back to work. Totally classic, and, like the movie, a perfect summation of Texas culture and what it means to be Texan.