Barbecue is serious business down home in Texas and bringing meat to the fire is a task trusted only to masters of the pit. The story behind a classic Texan barbecue involves a number of essential and in many ways, secret cooking methods. The first step in the process involves marinating the meat with the right mixture of dry herbs and spices. The second step requires choosing the perfect blend of local firewood from Mesquite, Oak, Pecan or Peach trees. The pit, a customized pot-bellied drum with a built-on chimney is then filled and set on fire. Once the wood has burnt to embering coals, the meat cooks low and slow in a perfumed smoke bath.
The smell of roasting meat and smoking wood is irresistible even for a vegetarian. Just how pit masters make the sacred Texan brisket, German style sausage or glazed baby back ribs, remained a mystery this summer. But thanks to my brother’s excellent suggestions I visited some of the best locations for barbecue in San Antonio and the surrounding hill country.