So Which Q-Joint Has the Best Texas Brisket... Hint - It Ain't in Texas...
Posted on Sat, Oct. 28, 2006 Charlotte Observer
THE `GRILL MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE' HAS SPOKEN
Queen City boasts the king of brisket
Ouch, that proclamation's gotta hurt deep in the heart of Texas
Pity Texans this morning.
They went to bed last night thinking their biggest Charlotte controversy was the new starting quarterback for the Cowboys against the Panthers on Sunday (PS - Panthers were creamed).
Hang on to your Stetsons, boys. It's about to get worse.
The Observer has learned that Rick Browne declares the Texas beef brisket at Mac's Speed Shop on South Boulevard the "best I've ever had."
Which may not strike you as significant unless you know that Browne hosts PBS's nationally televised "Barbecue America," has written bushels of barbecue cookbooks and reviews, and is alternately dubbed "Grill Master of the Universe," "America's king of outdoor cooking" and "Dr. Que."
"The meat was tender, juicy, and loaded with flavor," he e-mailed this week. "All this from a piece of meat that's tough as a snow tire, and often as tasteless."
Browne was in town for about a week in late September, attending Charlotte Shout's Blues, Brews & BBQ competition, then appearing at its culinary festival. In between, he found Mac's.
He ate there five days in a row.
"My staff called and said, `This guy wants to see you,' " says Mac's co-owner, J.D. Duncan. "I wasn't familiar with his show. ... He went crazy for two hours. I couldn't get up and leave."
The challenge of brisket, says Browne, is that the cut -- from the cow's lower chest -- is one of the hardest meats to hold over and serve the next day. "I've been in tons of restaurants where you know it's the second day. This technique ... It's brilliant."
Duncan explains: Mac's cooks the meat completely in a Southern Pride smoker, then throws it in a cooler to bring it down to 42 degrees. It's then sliced to order, half an inch thick, trimmed, and slapped on the grill. "When the oils and fats start to melt, it's like eating a piece of tenderloin."
Browne shot some impromptu footage at Mac's for his show, and it's slated to air in the spring, on 231 stations nationwide. (Duncan also says NBC came out to shoot footage Friday, for a segment on Texas vs. N.C. barbecue during the third quarter of Sunday's game.)
The brisket proclamation should be enough to get Browne in trouble here, too -- plenty of Charlotteans would argue for somewhere other than Mac's as the top 'cue in town. But Browne doesn't stop there.
"Mac's hush puppies are to die for. My favorite used to be in Shelby: Bridges. Sorry. They got beat out."
By the way, Browne loved Mac's pork, too. He may or may not know that the guy doing that pork now -- 1,200 pounds of it a week, says Duncan -- is Charles Semail. A French chef.
So, if the article is to be believed, you need to go to the heart of pig-country, to a City that isn't known for Q to get the best Texas brisket. I've eaten there a bunch of times, and while the brisket is good, it's not great; shows what I know...
if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him
Live every week like it's shark week
Last edited by RichardF; 10-30-2006 at 11:43 AM..