“The best barbecue in the United States comes from Texas, no doubt about it.”

This is the opening salvo fired by City Meat Market in Gidding’s owner Gerald Birkelbach as he narrates a very fine segment on CNN’s Defining America project.

“You want to know the real flavor? Taste it first without the sauce on it and if you’ve got to put the sauce on it, it ain’t worth a shit anyway”.

Amen Mr. Birkelbach. When we’re at barbecue we might dip a finger in the sauce, just to say we tried it, but unless we’re at R&G in McMahan or City Market in Luling, we normally don’t have any use for the stuff.

After all, sauce is a Yankee affectation that somehow made its’ way down to Texas and infected our traditional, no sauce eating awhile back and we’re still not buying it.

Birkelbach goes on and gets good and heated up about pulled pork “I honestly couldn’t even tell you what it is….if you gotta pull it, it means it’s mush” he laughs.

“It’s not real barbecue”

Let’s hope Mr. Birkelbach isn’t planning on vacationing anywhere near the Carolinas anytime soon as he’ll have a Texas sized target on his back with that statement.

Birkelbach started working at City Meat Market way back in 1974 which was a hell of a fine year for Central Texas Barbecue as this was the year Bobby Mueller began his legendary reign at Louie Mueller’s up in Taylor, Texas.

The editors of CNN figured out the best way to talk about Texas barbecue is to shut the Hell up and let a Texan do it. No voice-over by an non-expert from somewhere not-Texas. Just an accomplished video team letting images and expert pit boss narration carry the load.

Locally, City Meat Market in Giddings is best known for being the former work place of Tootsie Tomanetz, the queen bee of Central Texas Barbecue.

Her career began way back in 1967 when she started working at the meat market in Giddings and has continued onward including a twenty year stint with her own joint in Lexington that she owned with her husband White Tomanetz.

2011 finds the elderly Tootsie internationally famous at Kerry Bexley’s joint Snow’s in Lexington.

Snow’s is the current recipient of the much coveted “best barbecue in the state of Texas” award that Texas Monthly doles out once every five years.

Inveterate barbecue hounds across the state have backtracked from Snow’s to City Meat Market in Giddings since “the article” came out with varying reports of quality.

Snow’s uses City Meat Market as their sausage purveyor and if that’s not a ringing endorsement we don’t know what is.

Central Texas Barbecue is an embarrassment of riches that is generally poorly defined by would be media coverage.

CNN’s Defining America project is one of the few national media outlets that has come to town and gotten it right.

Hot link to the video


all barbecue coverage here


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