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By Editor-in-chief, The Rosengarten Report
TODAY
updated 7/20/2004 1:01:20 PM ET 2004-07-20T17:01:20

If you love meat cooked long and slow over a smoky fire but can't quite recreate that professional barbecue taste in your own backyard — we've got great news for you. David Rosengarten is editor-in-chief of the food newsletter, The Rosengarten Report, and he was invited to appear on "Today" to share a look at tasty Texas barbecue that can be delivered straight to your door. Here are some of his recommendations for the best barbecue to order by mail:

I truly believe that barbecue — which usually means to BBQ mavens, meat cooked long and slow over an indirect, low-temperature, smoky fire — is the single most important American contribution to world gastronomy. And I love all kinds of regional barbecue but, hold on to your ten-gallon hats, after tasting over 20 different regional producers, I am now convinced that Texas barbecue — that beef-centric, cowboy lovin’, yee-hah cluster of delight — is the best shippin’ barbecue in the U. S. of A.

Why?
The answer lies in the choice of meats for barbecue. Yes, they do pork ribs in Texas, but as Steve Raichlen observed in the New York Times last summer, “Ribs are an afterthought at most Texas barbecue restaurants.” The real heart of Texas barbecue is beef — particularly in the form of huge slabs of brisket, sometimes cooked as long as 24 hours to gently melt the collagen, to turn a chewy monster into a quivering hunk of tender, smoky velvet.  I tell you, no homemade BBQ can top what these BBQ professionals are turning out of their blackened smoking pits!

There was plenty of good barbecue around my office — but here are the results of the best:

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My favorite briskets were:

1. Willy Ray’s Beef Brisket
145 Interstate 10 N
Beaumont, TX  77707
409.832.7770 (tel.)
www.willyraysbbq.com

2. Mikeska’s Barbecue Brisket
4225 Hwy. 59
El Campo, TX 77437
979.543.8252 (tel.)
800.388.2552 (toll-free)
www.mikeskabbq.com

3. Kreuz Market Brisket
619 N. Colorado St.
Lockhart, TX 78644
512.398.2361 (tel.)
www.kreuzmarket.com

To reheat your brisket, tent foil around it and put it in a low, 250-degree oven (start making the cole slaw) and 90 minutes later you’ll have an insanely good chunk of ‘cue that tastes like it just came out of a pit in Beaumont!

Chicken is also a good shipper because it’s difficult to dry out.  My favorite chickens were:

1. Willy Ray’s Smoked Chicken
145 Interstate 10 N
Beaumont, TX 77707
409.832.7770 (tel.)
www.willyraysbbq.com

2. Mikeska’s Barbecue Chicken
4225 Hwy. 59
El Campo , TX 77437
979.543.8252 (tel.)
800.388.2552 (toll-free)
www.mikeskabbq.com

To reheat your chicken, tent foil around it and then a simple stay in a low oven (250-degrees) for about 20 minutes works perfectly.

I don’t normally associate pork roast with Texas 'cue but, Willy Ray’s Pork Roast was the top piece of BBQ in my entire tasting!  You can serve this plain on a plate and it’s delicious!

1. Willy Ray’s Pork Roast
145 Interstate 10 N
Beaumont, TX 77707
409.832.7770 (tel.)
www.willyraysbbq.com

Reheat this with a foil tent in a 250-degree oven for about one hour.

Sausage is another great Texas BBQ item, my favorites were:

1. Willy Ray’s Pork Roast
145 Interstate 10 N
Beaumont, TX 77707
409.832.7770 (tel.)
www.willyraysbbq.com

2. Clem Mikeskas Homemade Sausage
1217 S. 57th
Temple, TX  76504
254.778.5481 (tel.)
800.344.4699 (toll-free)
www.clembbq.com

To reheat these amazing sausages just throw them on the grill or under a broiler for a few minutes and the skin will be a little crunchy and the quick heating keeps the juices intact.

And last but not least, I tried some good old Texas pork ribs.  My favorites were:

1. Clem Mikeskas BBQ Pork Ribs
1217 S. 57th
Temple, TX  76504
254.778.5481 (tel.)
800.344.4699 (toll-free)
www.clembbq.com

2. Salt Lick’s Pork Ribs
18001 FM 1826
Driftwood, TX  78619
512.894.3117 (tel.)
888.725.8542 (toll-free)
www.saltlickbbq.com

3. Cooper’s Pork Ribs
604 West Young
Texas Hwy. 29
Llano, TX  78643
915.247.5713 (tel.)
877.533.5553 (toll-free)
www.coopersbbq.com

Reheating ribs without drying them out can be a little tricky. Cook them directly n a slow to medium grill, which brings back their on-site freshness. Just make sure that the outside doesn’t get too crusty before the inside is warmed. Brush a little BBQ sauce on the racks just before they’re done reheating.

Speaking of sauce…Texas barbecue sauce (if used at all) is tomato-based. It is medium thin to medium thick, with less sugar than you’ll find in other tomato-based BBQ sauces. I recommend the following:

1. Cap Ranch Gourmets Tangy Barbecue Sauce
2018 S. Broadway
Tyler, TX  75701
903.592.3452 (tel.)
800.874.9321 (toll-free)
www.masimms.com

2. New Braunfels Smokehouse Texas BBQ Sauce
441 N. Guenther
New Braunfels, TX  78131
800.537.6932 (toll-free)
www.nbsmokehouse.com

3. Red Mud Barbecue Sauce
TexasInaBox.com
P.O. Box 62
Floydada, TX  79235
877.987.3324 (toll-free)
www.texasinabox.com

4. Salt Lick’s BBQ Sauce
18001 FM 1826
Driftwood, TX  78619
512.894.3117 (tel.)
888.725.8542 (toll-free)
www.saltlickbbq.com

For a complete copy of The Rosengarten Report “Wanted Texas Barbecue” and for more information about David Rosengarten, please visit his web site at: www.rosengartenreport.com/texasbbq

© 2013 MSNBC Interactive.  Reprints

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