Jun 1, 2017
Texas barbecue has no peer on earth.” That’s what I immodestly declared in 2013, when we published our fourth list of the fifty best barbecue joints in the state. We were right, of course, but I did wonder: Had we peaked? Was there nowhere to go but down? Four years later, the answer is clear. There was nowhere to go but up! Our appetite for smoked meat remains insatiable, and I can say, with gusto, that we are living in the golden age of Texas barbecue.
And what defines this succulent era? First, quality. The cult-level popularity of barbecue has permanently changed the old landscape. When we compiled our very first list—twenty places—in 1973, smoking anything but the cheapest briskets was unthinkable; now, glistening slices of Top Choice—even Prime—beef are the norm. Restaurants serve butter-tender beef ribs and name-check the ranches they hail from on their menus. This is true from Wolfforth to Mercedes and Pecos to Spring, because excellent barbecue is also more widespread. A claim of “That’s great brisket” in Longview no longer has to be qualified with “for East Texas”; today’s pitmasters provide an excuse for a road trip to just about any far-flung corner. Once the term “Texas barbecue belt” meant the center of the state. Now it stretches far and wide.
Barbecue is easier to find too. Thanks to Twitter, Google Maps, Facebook, and Instagram, you can get a brisket or sausage fix when and where you need it. Decades ago, a barbecue trailer on a farm road could dry up and blow away in between customers. These days all it takes are a few raves on Yelp, and it has a good chance of success. This coincides with another trend: more than ever, barbecue is urban. Lockhart was once the smoked-meat capital, with three fantastic joints on our list in 1997; this year, the town has one representative. By contrast, Houston has four entries, Austin seven. At this rate, our next fifty best could come solely from our five or six biggest cities. (Don’t worry, it won’t.)
If there’s a dark side to all this, it is the cost—to our wallets and our patience. One reason cities are dominating is that they have customer bases that can afford brisket at $20 a pound and foodies who think nothing of investing time in a barbecue line. “Democratic” is hardly the word for an hour-long wait for a $35 beef rib. Still, I won’t complain too loudly, because cities also have armies of amateur reviewers who demand the best. Competition has a way of keeping the bar high for all of us.
Which brings me to a final trait of this moment we’re in: variety. In 2008 the quartet of brisket, pork ribs, sausage, and chicken ruled our list, and we lamented aberrations such as deli turkey. Since that time, the barbecue menu has been expanding faster than my waistline, with the addition of real turkey breasts, a renaissance in beef ribs, and a full-on embrace of pork steaks and chops. Great pulled pork has made a definitive invasion, and there’s even a little ham and pork belly to round things out. It makes you wonder what’s in store for the 2021 list. Anybody up for rattlesnake? —Daniel Vaughn
Source: Texas Monthly
Tradition, whether it happens to be hardwood smoked barbeque or Brazilian Churrasco grilling, is a part of the rich history of food preparation. One of the oldest and most popular traditions is Japanese Robata Grilling. This cooking style has been perfected over centuries and J&R has created a new chef-friendly grill to bring this venerable cooking style to the modern commercial kitchen.
Robatayaki refers to restaurants in which seafood and vegetables are cooked over an open charcoal grill. In the days of the Samurai, an open fireplace, or “robata,” was found in the middle of a Japanese house. This was the center of activity for cooking, eating, socializing, and (in the winter) simply keeping warm.
In today's robatayaki restaurants, grilling is done over high quality charcoal on the Robata Grill. One variety of charcoal is made from holm oak, a very hard wood used in kilns in the southern Kishu area of Japan. This charcoal, called Kishu binchotan, is prized for its measured heat and long, slow burn during which it emits far-infrared rays, infusing broiled foods with unmatched flavor. Although our Robata certainly works well with this traditional fuel, we have built it with adjustable grill heights to respond to oak charcoal or the wild heat trapped in the high quality mesquite charcoal of the American Southwest.
Three totally separate grilling zones give the chef enormous flexibility. Three built-in saucepans. Fuel loading is easy with the front fuel-loading door for the large zone and easily removable grill grates in the smaller zones.
Each grilling zone offers three easily adjustable grilling heights.
Our unique Chef Cool design keeps the heat inside the grill resulting in a cooler kitchen and a grateful chef.
The firebox surfaces are smooth and an ash drop in the firebox floor of each zone facilitates ash transfer to the removable ash drawers. Heavy-duty casters allow easy mobility for cleaning.
The chef can regulate the combustion air to the large zone to help control the burn rate.
These units are built like tanks to take the day-to-day abuse in busy kitchens.
|10185||48"W X 38"D X 41"H||3 Cooking Areas|
|13" X 28"||6" X 19"||6" X 19"|