Barbecue has always been serious business in the state of Texas, and pride in one of our bona fide regional cuisines is an integral part of our identity. In the scant decade that has elapsed since the first Southern Foodways Barbecue Symposium in Oxford, Mississippi, and the ancillary Taste of Texas Barbecue Field Trip to Austin in 2002, the whole concept of barbecue has exploded into the national culinary consciousness and conversation. Regional American barbecue is now the topic of regular regional symposia, newspaper and magazine articles, cookbooks and travel tomes, social media fan groups, and even cable television shows about the barbecue competition circuit. Barbecue isn't new – these folks didn't just suddenly discover it – but they're bringing thoughtful consideration to the cultural impact of this fascinating aspect of our culinary heritage.
The Southern Foodways Alliance featured barbecue at the fall 2012 symposium again this year, and now Foodways Texas is following suit. Three days of panels, demonstrations, and delectable meals will showcase the past, present, and future potential of the barbecue arts in Texas. They'll explore the historic roots of the Central Texas meat market barbecue style with sausagemaker Bryan Bracewell and enjoy an East Texas backyard barbecue presented by Beaumont native, chef Tiffany Derry. Hunter and chef Jesse Griffiths will talk about smoking game meats, and Renee Studebaker will extol the virtues of the pickled vegetable we're accustomed to seeing at a Texas barbecue spread. Panel topics range from the politics (Joe Nick Patoski) and Southern roots of community barbecue (Robb Walsh) to the barbecue road trips of blogger and new book author Daniel Vaughn and barbecue photography with the legendary Wyatt McSpadden – not to mention a schedule of taste-tempting meals prepared by some of Texas' top chefs and pitmasters. Gatherings such as this provide a wonderful opportunity to connect and share with fellow food enthusiasts from around the state. Events will be held at two of Austin's most historic locations, Saengerrunde Hall and the grounds of the French Legation Museum, as well as on the University of Texas campus. Tickets are still available at www.foodwaystexas.com.
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