THE MEAT OF THE MATTER Everyone has an opinion on what makes the best barbecue, and nowhere is this argument more intense than at a barbecue cookoff. In Texas there are more than 100 cookoffs a year, some 25 in May alone. Two of the more unusual ones focus on something besides Texas’ ever-popular beef brisket. In the north-central town of Electra, the Electra Goat Barbecue and Craft Show (which celebrates twenty years on May 9 and 10) explores the culinary possibilities of cabrito. Democratically, it also includes contests for brisket, pork spare ribs, and chicken. Pork rib fanatics should head to the Central Texas town of Early on May 23 and 24 for the Rib Burn Off, where folks compete in three divisions: baby back, spare, and country-style (a big chunk of meat with no bone). Attendees can sample the goods or buy a barbecue plate from the local Kiwanis club. But the real fun is hearing contestants’ battle stories, the result of a long night of drinking and smoking (meat, mind you).

2003 Texas Cook-Offs
International Barbeque Cookers Association