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Camp Brisket underway in College Station: The art & science of Texas barbecue

Posted at 5:42 PM, Jan 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-08 19:24:12-05

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — It’s the true definition of farm to table at Camp Brisket in College Station.

This is the 11th year for Aggies in the Texas Barbecue program at Texas A&M. Pitmasters, and attendees come together for two days to experience the art of brisket.

Camp brisket is a joint venture between Foodways Texas and the Meat Science section of the Department of Animal Science at A&M.

Vice Chancellor and Dean Dr. Jeff Savell says beef is a Texas staple and people from all over the world travel to A&M just to come to Camp Brisket.

“We’re amazed at the variety of people that show up at the camp,” said Dr. Jeff Savell, vice chancellor and dean, Agriculture and Life Sciences. “This year, we had people from 22 states and three countries so it’s really great to have the diversity of the people that are here trying to learn everything they can about Texas barbeque, but especially the brisket.”

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“The chuck wagon is as much as about beef as anything,” said Homer Robertson, chuck wagon cook. “The chuck wagon is the vehicle of Texas.”

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Participants enter through a competitive lottery, and some have waited years just to attend.

“There’s a five-year waiting list to get into this program,” said Robertson. “That’s just crazy in itself. All these folks want to come, they want to learn how to cook a better brisket.”

Robertson says the main goal of the program is for the backyard cook to sharpen their skills.

“Most of these folks are backyard cooks that just want to cook a better meal for their family,” said Robertson.

Dr. Savell says the most difficult cut to cook is the brisket.

After participants learn the art of Texas barbecue, they get to taste and evaluate.

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“We have demonstrations of different kinds of briskets, different grades of briskets,” said Dr. Savell. “We will also do different kinds of smoke. We’ll do hickory and pecan, and mesquite and oak.”

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For Robertson, it’s about getting to share his cooking with other people.

“When you really cook something good, and people say ‘man, that’s just the best brisket, or that’s the best chicken fried steak I’ve ever had,’ that makes you feel good,” said Robertson. “That makes a chuck wagon cook, makes any cook feel good about what they’re doing because you’re being able to share it with other people.”

For winning three world champion chuck wagon titles, KRHD asked Robertson if he has any tricks up his leave…. He said he doesn’t measure when cooking, and if you want his recipe, he doesn’t mind sharing.