Saturday, September 17, 2011

Chili and the Church of BBQ

Howdy Folks,

When it comes to both BBQ (also barbeque) and chili, I have to say that I'm a lover, not a fighter. I worship at the church of BBQ and will take chili with beans or without beans for communion. For y'all who didn't grow up in the South, or in Texas, or think that I'm some sort of pervert, allow me to explain...

When people talk about chili in Texas, there is frequently a discussion about whether or not beans can be in real Texas chili. Now, no one is ever quite sure just what, exactly, real Texas chili is, but beans are definitely a sticking point with many. Actually, I take it back. Just like a real religious debate, everyone is sure that they have the unique revelation from on-high about just what real Texas chili is. The anti-bean folks can get quite worked up about it, but to me, there are only a few required parts:

  • Spicy spices (I use chili peppers, garlic and cayenne)
  • Tomatoes of some sort
  • Beef (preferably fatty, as leaner cuts don't provide enough flavor)
Cinnamon, peas or other clearly unnatural substances are, however, wholly unnatural and against god's will vis-a-vis chili. If it's got cinnamon in it, it might be tasty, but chili it ain't. 

Now, while chili is perhaps a soup of the gods, BBQ is nearer and dearer to my heart and waist line. Unfortunately, though, "To Barbecue" is a term often used by unlearned peoples to indicate "cooking outside on grill". Those of us fortunate enough to know better, however, know that hot dogs and hamburgers do not a BBQ make. Unfortunately, the brotherhood (and sisterhood) of BBQ also has its own religious wars underway.

First and foremost, there is "beef vs pork". A silly argument, implying you can't have both. The meat argument is often followed by  "dry vs. wet" (without sauce vs. with sauce). After that, there are arguments about "mustard vs. tomato" sauces, and that's before you get into entire sub-genres of arguments of types of rub, hickory smoked vs. mesquite smoked and what-have-you. Peh. Do wine connoiseurs argue whether red wine is better than white, Pinot Noir better than Cabernet Sauvingon? Perhaps, but if so they are short-sighted idiots. I'm a simple man to keep happy--I'll take a big slice of brisket, a pig sandwich and whatever else ya'll have...and tomorrow, I plan to attend a noon service at a church in Yokohama.

Good Eats Y'all!

PS Found this from the former CTO of Microsoft discussing a trip to a few Texas BBQ spots: