Texas BBQ & Soul Food
Texas Barbeque is known for its pit-cooked beef preparations, gargantuan portions that can be ordered by the pound and tangy mesquite-flavored barbeque sauce that drips alongside each moth-watering bite. The best Texas barbeque chefs brag about how long the cow spinned over a charcoal-broiling open pit. If you get the jalapeño-laced barbeque sauce, better have cool beverages around. Getting invited for barbeque around these parts is the royal welcome fora visitor.
Harlon Brooks did not invent Texas Barbeque. But his restaurant chain, Harlon’s Bar-B-Que founded in 1977, has taken Texas Barbeque along for the ride in a number of Harlon’s franchises in Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and Las Vegas. His family-run operations thrive in airports, convention centers high-end retail malls and sporting complexes. Its one of the finest examples of a family leveraging an aspect of their Black culture to great commercial success. We need more of ‘em.
When visiting any of the popular barbeque restaurants around Houston, even those with run-down exteriors, consider a plate with these ample servings:
Tender Sliced Beef
Chopped Beef or Beef Tips
Meat Po Boys
Take home some Houston barbeque sauce to compare with the other great barbeque sauces found in Kansas City, St. Louis and Memphis.
Texas Soul Food also has a strong tradition in this region. Although smaller in absolute numbers than many other Southern states, slavery in Texas was also significant. As we know, slavery was the catalyst that drove the creation of Soul Food. Borrowing from their African roots, Texas beef, poultry and pork, and home-grown vegetables, slaves improvised a number of dishes for their survival. Today these dishes are deliciously celebrated:
Gravy-smothered Pork Chops
Turkey Wings & Necks
Okra & Tomatoes
Catfish on Fridays
Arguably, This Is It serves the best traditional Soul Food around Houston. But Houston like Atlanta, Chicago, LA, and DC is stretching the definition of Soul Food. The rapidly evolving restaurant scene is sure to sprout more.