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Web Extra: Follow the Smoke - Recipes

Classic Texas Smoked Brisket

Brisket is the Holy Grail of Texas barbecue, reflecting the only significant barbecue tradition in America based on beef instead of pork. There are as many brisket recipes as there are brisket cooks, and each cook is convinced everybody else is dead-wrong. At the risk of being precisely that, here’s our way to make a terrific beef brisket, complete with both a dry rub and a bit of mop sauce.

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 boneless beef brisket (6 to 8 pounds), trimmed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) Shiner Bock beer, divided
  • 2 cups steak sauce, divided
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce

Combine the paprika, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder; rub evenly over the surface of the brisket. Place with fat side up in a large disposable pan. Add water and about half of the beer to pan. Seal tightly with foil. Place pan in the middle of a grill rack over hot coals. Close grill cover; cook for 5 hours, turning brisket in the pan juices about every 90 minutes. Add additional water to pan as needed.

Remove foil from pan. Transfer brisket directly onto the grill rack over very low coals. Combine 1 cup pan drippings with 1 cup steak sauce and remaining beer; brush some of this sauce over meat. Set remaining drippings aside. Close grill cover; cook for 1 hour, brushing meat occasionally with remaining sauce.

Allow brisket to rest for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, saute onion in butter until transparent. Stir in the ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, hot pepper sauce, remaining steak sauce and reserved drippings. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Slice meat 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick across the grain. Serve with warm sauce on the side. Serves 8-10.

Dr. Pepper Barbecued Chicken

The original recipe for Dr. Pepper was formulated in Waco. Whatever your feelings about the quirky soft drink, we think you’ll like what it brings to the table in this version of barbecued chicken.

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup Dr. Pepper
  • 2/3 cup white vinegar
  • Grated peel of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 4 chickens (about 11/2 pounds each), cut in half
  • Additional salt and black pepper

In a saucepan, combine the first 13 ingredients. Bring just to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, season the chicken halves with salt and pepper. Place skin side down on a hot grill. Brown on both sides, turning occasionally, for about 15 minutes. Continue to grill, brushing regularly with sauce, until a meat thermometer reads 180°, about 45 minutes. Serves 8.


Warm German Potato Salad

Germans were important to the development of Texas barbecue, and, in Central Texas, you’ll sometimes see this warm, vinegary potato salad instead of the standard mayo-mustard kind.

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 1/2 pound bacon, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender, about 35-40 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the bacon until crisp and fat is rendered. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to paper towels.

In the drippings, saute the onion, celery, tarragon and basil for 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar and water; bring to a boil. Add the sugar, cornstarch, celery seed, salt and pepper. 

Drain potatoes; peel and slice while still warm. Place in a large bowl; add dressing and stir to coat. Sprinkle with bacon. Serve warm. Serves 8.

Pepper Jack Potato Casserole

Texans love casseroles. You wouldn’t find something like this on a cattle drive, but you certainly would find it served by the lady of the house at many a social on the ranch. 

  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded pepper Jack cheese

Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender, about 25 minutes; drain. Mash by hand or with an electric mixer set on low. Add the sour cream and salt, along with just enough milk to make a fluffy consistency. Stir in the shredded cheese. 

Preheat oven to 350°. Transfer potato mixture to a greased 11/2-quart baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until heated through and golden on top. Serves 6.

Sweet ’n’ Creamy Coleslaw

It’s possible to make coleslaw without mayonnaise, though many will tell you the taste of traditional Texas coleslaw is more than worth the caloric price of admission. 

  • 1 head green cabbage, shredded
  • 2/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 11/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 21/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced seeded jalapeño
  • peppers
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, green onions and carrots. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients until blended. Pour over cabbage mixture and toss until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 
Serves 6-8.

Chuck Wagon Pinto Beans

The more south and west you go in Texas, the more an eastern fixation on sweet baked beans gives way to this taste of the Old West. 

  • 2 cups dried pinto beans, sorted
  • and rinsed
  • Water
  • 1 ham hock
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the beans in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add enough water to cover beans by 3 inches. Add the ham hock, onion, sugar, chili powder, paprika, garlic, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer until beans are tender, about 3 hours. Add cream after about 
2 hours of cooking. Add water if more liquid is needed. Do not stir to avoid breaking the beans. Serves 6-8.


BBQ Joint Banana Pudding

Banana pudding isn’t hard to make. Here’s our toast to the old-fashioned way.

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon banana extract
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 bananas, sliced
  • 14 vanilla wafers
  • Whipped cream and additional vanilla wafers for garnish

In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour and salt. Whisk in the egg yolks and extracts. In a saucepan, heat milk; gradually stir in egg yolk mixture. Cook until thickened. Layer the bananas and vanilla wafers in a 11/2-quart dish. Pour pudding over the top. Refrigerate until chilled. Garnish with whipped cream and additional vanilla wafers. Serves 8.

Hill Country Peach Bread Pudding

Good years and bad, Texas Hill Country remains one of America’s greatest destinations for peaches in the summertime. And when the peaches come in, juicy and sweet, it is every Texas cook’s moral responsibility to use them as many ways as possible. Thus this delicious (and very timely) bread pudding.

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup peach juice
  • 1 loaf French bread, torn into pieces         
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 11/2 cups chopped Texas peaches
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • Whipped cream

In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk, cream and peach juice. Add bread pieces; soak for 45 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla and peaches. Using your hands, combine the peach mixture with the milk and bread mixture. 

Preheat oven to 300°. Pour melted butter into an 11-inch x 7-inch x 2-inch baking pan; pour batter evenly into pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm with whipped cream. Serves 8.

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