Just had to share this image, snapped the other night at Stiles Switch BBQ in Austin, where my client Vino Vino organized a wine dinner, pairing the Piedmontese wines of Incisa della Rocchetta and classic Texas bbq.
Note the “smoke ring,” the pink ring on the edge of each slice of brisket. It is one of the top criteria by which bbq is judged in competition.
It’s an indication of the evenness applied in “low [temperature] and slow” smoking.
At the dinner, I sat next to winemaker Filiberto Massone, who asked me why Texans like their meat burnt.
In fact, the black outer ring is not burnt meat but rather the smoked dry rub, the sine qua non of Texas bbq.
I thought the brisket at Stiles Switch was outstanding on Saturday night. Highly recommended…
And btw, Stiles Switch is located in one of Austin’s oldest shopping malls, the Violet Crown, built in the 1950s, and then later the backdrop for the movie Dazed and Confused.
I once asked owner Shane Stiles, a handsome and affable guy, if I could take his photo.
He said, “sure,” and stood there behind the counter expressionless.
I said, “hey, you need to smile!”
He looked over at his pit master, with his sweat-stained baseball cap and t-shirt covered in soot.
“There are no smiles in bbq,” he told me with a grimace worthy of Jack Palance.