However, all is not well in the BBQ kingdom:
the biggest change over the past five years is that the gas-burning commercial smoker is gaining ground (for an explanation of how it differs from a traditional pit, see PITS). To give the devil his due, this contraption has brought acceptable barbecue to areas where it hardly existed, like the Rio Grande Valley. The danger is that it will replace traditional pit-smoking, as fewer and fewer people are willing to get up at three in the morning to sustain this labor-intensive craft. The smoker has also enabled giant, mediocre chains like Dickey’s and Bill Miller (about 70 locations each statewide) to proliferate like houseflies. With so many children cutting their teeth on institutional barbecue, one fears for the future.And so we issue this call to arms: Perfect pit-smoked meats rank with the finest expressions of culinary art anywhere, and we must not allow them to disappear. It is incumbent upon all Texans to celebrate and support our state’s uniquely sooty, fat-besotted heritage. The cost will be a measly $7.95 or so a plate, including sides, a small price for the satisfaction not only of preserving our history but of ingesting a masterpiece.
Not just Texans, people!! Go forth and eat!