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
The Oyler Pit revolutionized the art and science of barbecue when it was first introduced in 1968. J&R has been refining this extraordinary pit for decades and chefs consider it the finest barbecue pit in the world.
What’s the secret to the longevity and popularity of the amazing oven? Many theories abound. Some feel the natural purity of the fuel, the “ferris wheel” rotisserie action, the constant basting, or the unique air, smoke, and humidity control features account for the mouth-watering result. Other culinary experts contend that the miraculous meat results from it being “massaged” as it passes through alternate temperature zones while it revolves. This debate may rage for many more decades, but the diners who love their barbeque don’t really care. They just want more!
With the Oyler E Models, the company adds safe and clean electrical energy to assist the wood fire, using electrical resistance elements. There is no flavor tainting or explosion hazard with these electrical elements. It simply and dramatically reduces wood usage while preserving the character of what barbecue purists everywhere credit as being the best pit in the world.
If you are going to be in the business of barbecue, please do it right! The Oyler defines authenticity. We use wood to cook the meat, we do not use gas. In fact,we hate the idea of using gas in a barbecue pit. Your customers will notice the difference.
The Oyler maintains precise temperature control, unattended for up to 14 hours, by using a unique air control system.
So well designed and insulated, you will be amazed to experience how little wood is required to cook big loads of barbecue.
The Oyler was the first (and remains the only) wood fired barbecue pit to receive the Underwriter’s Laboratories Listing for safety. We have gone to great lengths to make the Oyler safe. It even earned the coveted “zero clearance to combustibles” installation specification.
Speaking of big loads, the Oyler can handle your high volume demands. The Model 700 can cook 1000 pounds per load and the Model 1300 can cook 1800 pounds!
Large dampers operate automatically when the front doors are opened to direct the smoke rearward and out the stack rather than into your face.
The Oyler is the most “forgiving” piece of cooking equipment you will ever use. You will not need an experienced “pit man” to turn out great barbecue. The front doors are huge, allowing easy loading, unloading, and removal of racks for cleaning. The fire is easy to start, and due to our design, the live coals in the firebox last 72 hours! That means for most customers the fire only has to be started once! As long as you cook once every three days, fire starting is simply a matter of scooping out a few ashes and adding fresh wood.
|700*||56"W X 104"D X 79"H||18-17" X 42"||120V/8A|
|1300*||67"W X 120"D X 88"H||18-18" X 54"||120V/8A|
|1000 LBS||216 SLABS||144 SLABS||324 HALVES|
|1800 LBS||360 SLABS||288 SLABS||432 HALVES|
*E Models Same size and rack configuration 240V/70A