Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed out

The South rises agin’ at Dusty’s



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That’s because barbecue, real barbecue, makes a mockery of the whole, very trendy Slow Food movement. Barbecue, in fact, makes the rest of what passes for slow food look like takeout at the Grease ’n’ Go. Real barbecue takes so long to prepare that any restaurant serving it and not taking earlier-prepared hunks of it out of a cooler has a sign something like Sonny Bryan’s original restaurant just off the Interstate in Dallas. Sonny’s sign says:


10:00 a.m.

‘til we run out of meat

On a good day, closin’ time might be as early as 7 p.m.

Like most good things, barbecue was transformed through migration. Even within what’s generally considered the barbecue belt – the states bordered on the north by Tennessee and North Carolina and on the west by Louisiana and Arkansas – a good argument can be had over the proper ingredients of barbecue sauce and an even better argument, a fight even, can be sparked by mention of appropriate side dishes one may or may not serve with barbecue. While noteworthy, it must be remembered most any subject can start an argument or fight in those states.

One of the first places barbecue traveled was to Texas. Texans, being a prideful, boastful bunch, will, given half a chance, take credit for perfecting if not inventing barbecue. Then too, most of them still believe Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, so delusional is their world. In the interest of fairness, it must be said at this point my roots are in New Mexico and there is a longstanding animosity between that state and Texas, an animosity perhaps best captured by the very popular bumper sticker affixed to many cars bearing New Mexico plates. It reads, simply: Ski Texas. Anyone with even a passing familiarity of the climate and topography of Texas and the ski hills of New Mexico understands the sentiment.

Texas’ primary contribution to barbecue was the addition of beef and greasy sausage. Texans are very proud of this fact but most people who can still taste anything wonder why. It is not entirely without justification carnivores consider the brisket of a bovine suitable only for corned beef or pastrami. Texans, however, have based their entire claim to barbecue on that mean cut of meat and the atrocities the state’s German immigrants have committed against it. Well, that and the sick joke of smoking with mesquite, a subject about which I shall say no more except to give them credit for pulling it off.