If you want to know what Texas is like you need to visit McCulloch County.
It’s dead center in the middle of the state, there’s plenty long-haired country boys driving pick up trucks, and that’s Old Glory waving down at the courthouse in the middle of the town square.
If you’ve ever seen Texas on the TV or in a picture book there’s a good chance that photo was taken somewhere near Brady.
It doesn’t get any more Texas than McCulloch County, one of the top goat producing counties in the USA.
It’s been that way since back in the early 90s when the Boer goat was first introduced to the state.
South African Boer goats, unlike their Spanish brethren, are famously prolific breeders and produce meat-heavy carcasses.
For nearly 50 years this goat breed has been a member of the National Mutton, Sheep and Goat Performance Testing Scheme (a test to determine how much meat a certain breed can produce)
The apex of good living in the heart of Texas occurs over Labor Day weekend at the International Goat Cook Off held in Richard’s Park on the western edge of town each year since 1974.
That year the event was held as a fundraiser for the Jaycees and 16 teams competed.
This year over 200 crews came to Brady to show and prove.
After missing out in 2014, we were determined to roll into Brady for the big party this year so we took a jet airplane ride from New Orleans out to Austin and set out via motorcar bright and early Saturday morning for the event.
Stepping onto the grounds of Richards Park the dried out grass crunches like walking across a bowl filled with potato chips.
Brady must be in one hell of a drought.
We slowly begin circling the park to holler at all the cooking crews we’ve made friends with over the years before finally running into the Waco Boys Cooking Team.
These are the lads who have won the hospitality award so many times that eventually the prize will be retired and the images of the cook team will be embossed on a giant plaque and erected high over Richards Park.
These men know how to roll out the welcome mat.
One of the members of the group tells us that they plan on feeding around 3,000 people this weekend.
Jalapeno poppers, smoked chicken, grilled sausages, barbecued brisket, roasted goat, pork spare ribs and a variety of side dishes are trotted out of the men’s mobile kitchen and fed to the gathered throngs.
Eventually the Tarzan-cry that heralds the awards ceremony rings out across the camp ground and folks begin streaming toward the center of Richards Park.
There, a comely trio of Texas beauty queens is on hand to dole out awards to the teams that produce the finest goat barbecue as well as wild boar (this years mystery meat selection)
For a list of winners please visit here.
If that means more competitors and better cabrito to feast on at Brady’s International Goat Cook Off then we’ll happily pay for the surge pricing and we’ll even fly in from Louisiana for the party.
There is not one finer in Texas.