Wednesday, June 4, 2008

When did BBQ become so mainstream?

I was reading the Fort Worthian blog concerning BBQ. It specifically regards the new issue of Texas Monthly that list the 50 best BBQ places in Texas. One in Fort Worth made the list. It is Cousin's BBQ. While I'm happy for them, there's a bit of discussion about it that got me thinking.

When did BBQ become mainstream?

I remember BBQ places as a child mostly being hole in the wall affairs that looked like they might burst into flames at any moment, or considering the amount of smoke in the dining area, already had and was just reaching the smoldering phase. The food was legendary in the right circles.

Of course the best places had everything perfect, but others might have stronger points than others. Perhaps one for sausage, one for brisket, or one just had really good sauce. You knew which was which. However, you didn't broadcast this information for the world. You held it close to the vest, like a good trump card. You didn't really know why, it was just something you did.

Maybe the information wasn't so open because you were afraid the place would become a chain and change the way they do things. Sort of like your favorite band when you were in college. Sure you thought it was cool that they hit the big time. You liked seeing them on MTV (when MTV still played music), hearing them on the radio, but deep down inside you feel like they sold out. Just a little bit of their soul was taken away...and you were afraid of the changes that were going to mess things up.

You couldn't just Google "good BBQ in Fort Worth" and get an easy answer. You either had to know, or have someone take you there. Word of mouth was always reliable. Now it doesn't seem to be that way. Most word of mouth concerning BBQ is more of a popularity contest. Who has the coolest motorcycles parked out front, which place has the hottest looking divorcees on the rebound, the coldest beer, and so on. I don't care about that. When I want BBQ, I want good BBQ. The rest is just details.

Now they're mostly chains, or not as good as I remembered them. Of course, as a quasi vegetarian, teetering on the edge of failure for that lifestyle every minute of every day... BBQ doesn't have quite the same appeal to me as it once did. Actually some good grilled veggies, or a grilled chicken breast from time to time sounds better .

Hopefully my Dad won't have heart failure when he reads that last paragraph!

However, it seems like none of these places have anything perfect anymore. There really does appear to be a dearth of good BBQ in Fort Worth. I wonder why that is? Or if I'm even right.

Sounds like a quest of epic proportions. Maybe I'll take the summer to track down the best BBQ places in Fort Worth, with a little help from some trusted friends of course.

I'll start off by Googling "Good BBQ in Fort Worth".


Velo, Tx said...

Weird... I didn't really consider vegetarianism until living in FTW. Actually was one for a few months...

Monica, Plano, TX said...

Lucky you that you have some hole in the wall options. Here in Plano there are only chains and in East Plano, we have nothing but Dickie's, which is good. But I miss some of the places near Downtown Dallas that had really good bbq. I am sure that Forth Worth is even better...sounds like we need to take a trip to your side of town one of these weekends.