Camp Brisket 2019

Because I bleed burnt orange, I have stayed away from College Station. I have always wanted to attend Camp Brisket on the campus of Texas A&M though so I knew I needed to swallow my Longhorn pride. I had the opportunity to attend this year's Camp Brisket put on by Foodways Texas and the Meat Science Section of the Department of Animal Science at A&M. To get a chance to attend the event, you must be a Foodways member and enter the lottery. The two-day camp goes over the science and method of smoking brisket. There is a lot of knowledge shared with the attendees. Here is the rundown of the schedule:

Day 1- Rosenthal Meat Center

Introduction- Dr. Jeff Savell, Dr. Davey Griffin, and Ray Riley of the Texas A&M Meat Science ran the show. We met them and the A&M students helping with the camp. We all introduced ourselves as well.

Comparing Restaurant and Competition-Style Brisket with Jess Pryles. She talked about the differences of both. One is really a pageant and the other is for public consumption.

The Anatomy of a Brisket and Trimming Techniques by Dr. Davey Griffin

Bill Dumas trimming briskets

Knife Selection & Slicing & Carving Cooked Briskets with Dr. Savell

Taste Test Brisket Lunch- Different grades of meat. We tasted Wagyu (C), Prime (B), Upper Choice (E), Choice (A), and Select (D) grades. I preferred the Wagyu the most. Although most of the variables were controlled, the students trimmed and seasoned the briskets so it did affect the outcome. It was still interesting to see, and Wagyu was the class's clear favorite.

Beef Grading and Certified Beef Programs by Ray Riley. He talked about the various grades of beef and how they are graded. There are certified beef programs that give you even more options when you go to buy beef.

Wood and Smoke Panel featuring Tom Perini (Perini Ranch Steakhouse), Bill Dumas (Stiles Switch), Homer Robertson (Homer Robertson Chuckwagon), Joe Riscky (Joe Riscky's BBQ), and Kevin Kolman (Weber)

Dinner was served by Pody's BBQ. It was pretty damn delicious. Israel Campos and crew brought some of the world famous green chile hominy. Also, the spicy BBQ sauce with Carolina Reaper is legit. A nice sweet burn.

Robert Sierra slicing brisket

Brisket and pulled pork with potato salad, green beans, green chile hominy, and slaw

Day 2 - Beef Cattle Center at the O.D. Butler Animal Science Complex

Breakfast by Homer's Chuck Wagon

Building a Good Fire- We reviewed different pits/smokers and on how to get a clean burning fire in them.

Russell Roegels

Tootsie Tomanetz

Barbecue Pit Design and Maintenance Panel featuring Bryan Bracewell (Southside Market), Kerry Bexley (Snow's BBQ), Wayne Mueller (Louie Mueller), Arnis Robbins (Evie Mae's), Sunny Mobery (Moberg Smokers), Ryan Zboril (Pitt's & Spitt's), and Kevin Kolman (Weber)

Seasoning Overview by Brandon Burrows

Taste Brisket Lunch- Different types of wood. We tasted meats smoked in hickory (F), mesquite (G), oak (H), and pecan (I). I liked oak and hickory more. It was a four-way tie based on the class' preference.

Russell Roegels slicing brisket

The Science Behind Barbecue

Checking briskets at different temps

Life as a Pitmaster Panel featuring Tootsie Tomanetz (Snow's BBQ), Arnis Robbins (Evie Mae's), Bryan Bracewell (Southside Market), John Brotherton & Dominic Colbert (Brotherton's Black Iron), Wayne Mueller (Louie Mueller), Brandon Allen (Tejas Chocolate), and Russell Roegels (Roegels)

Taste Test Brisket Dinner- Wrapping vs. non-wrapping. This is a no-brainer. Wrapped. The meat has less of a chance to dry out if it is wrapped.

If you love eating and/or smoking brisket, Camp Brisket is for you. Just make sure you are a Foodways Texas member. It is very educational, and there is a lot of information given to you. You get to learn from and "meat" some of the best in the business. After attending the event, you might become the next Russell Roegels. If you have not heard of Russell's story, look it up. He attended Barbecue Summer Camp put on by the same good folks at Foodways Texas and Texas A&M. Roegels changed his direction of the business and look where it is today. You never know.

Dr. Davey Griffin, Ray Riley, and Dr. Jeff Savell

Until next time, happy smoking...


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