“Top Chef Texas” Contestants Struggled with Barbecue
The “cheftestants” use the pits at the Salt Lick to smoke meat, much to the delight (and horror) of local barbecue aficionados.
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Texas Monthly contributor Daniel Vaughn (aka “BBQ Snob”) of Full Custom Gospel BBQ cut to the meat of Wednesday night’s Top Chef Texas before the nine “cheftestants” had even touched a smoker: “I now feel superior to a Top Chef contestant when it comes to culinary knowledge,” Vaughn tweeted, for reasons that will soon be clear.
The episode, which featured guest judge Nathan Myhrvold, author of the multi-volume book Modernist Cuisine, was filmed during the height of summer at the the Salt Lick, in Driftwood. One chef suffered heat stroke during the lengthy cooking process, while all the teams struggled with technique and authenticity.
The winning entry, from Paul Qui, of Austin’s Uchiko (as well as Lindsay Autry and Grayson Schmitz) was deliberately unconventional—an Asian take that Schmitz said was “gonna be like sex in the mouth,” as Eater National‘s Max Silvestri noted. The complete winning feast was smoked brisket with bourbon barbecue sauce, curry barbecue chicken, caramel miso pork rib, watermelon salad, and nouc mam and charred okra and brussels sprouts with kimchi paste. (The recipe can be found here.)
Ultimately, the episode was much more fun to “watch” on Twitter than on television, with Vaughn, Washington Post barbecue columnist (and Texan) Jim Shahin, Post food writer Tim Carman, and others working themselves into a frenzy.
Also piping up was the “Barbecue Jesus,” a parody Twitter account of Franklin BBQ’s Aaron Franklin, which dropped some science in the form of series of “10 Commandments of TX #BBQ” tweets. Shahin retweeted all of them and so did Paul Qui, perhaps because, unlike everybody else, fake Franklin didn’t go insane at the notion of brussels sprouts with brisket.
Below, some snippets of their tweetversation via Storify: