Where There’s Smoke – There’s BBQ

With summer getting into full swing, many of our minds are turning to BBQ. To help us get in the spirit, we have asked Ernesto Aguilar, ATKG’s BBQ expert, to share some of his favorite tips on how to smoke a great brisket. Enjoy!   

One area of barbecuing that excites me the most is trying to decide which region of the country smokes the best meat around.  We’ve all heard tales that the East coast cooks the best pork or that Tennessee has the best ribs in the country.  In my opinion, we in the Lone Star State grill the best tasting cuts of meat overall.  Two of the most recognizable meats that will hit your plate at any BBQ joint in Texas are beef ribs and brisket – the granddaddy of them all. A friendly piece of advice for anyone trying a Texan’s brisket: don’t bad-mouth it because if you do, it will almost always result in an argument. I hope the following tips will help you smoke and enjoy your own great BBQ!

Top 5 tips for great brisket:

1. It all starts with a solid foundation – the fire. You must choose the right wood to be burned and be able to control the airflow in a smoker. It may sound easy, , but after your first go-round trying to control the temperature in the smoker, you will understand that it’s truly an artform. My overall favorite wood to use when barbecuing is Mesquite stripped of the bark, I also prefer logs over wood chips any day of the week. Mesquite burns hot, so it does not take a lot of wood to raise the temperature, and the logs produce smoke during the entire cooking process that adds a nice earthy flavor to the meat. As for controlling the air flow through the smoker, the cook needs to understand how the smoker works – all it takes is some adjustments to the vents. It takes some trial and errors to finally get it down, but it’s like riding a bike: once you figure it out you will never forget.

2. Make sure that the internal temperature of the meat reaches the desired point forperfect tenderness. There is nothing worse than tough meat that is difficult to chew. Buy yourself a meat thermometer – it will be the best $10-$15 investment you will ever make. A key point in barbecuing is knowing when the meat is ready to be pulled off the grill, so knowing the different meat temperatures is important. Once you identify the different cooking temperatures of meats and start using your new meat thermometer, you will never over cook a piece meat again!

3. Don’t forget the flavor! Whether you have a secret recipe that involves half of the spices found at your local grocery store or one that comes from a single canister, don’t be stingy with it. Give the meat a good hardy coat all the way around.  Be sure to let it marinade in the refrigerator a day before you plan to smoke it. The longer you let it sit, the more time the meat has to soak up those rich flavors.

4. Every superhero has a side kick, like Batman and Robin.. The classics “Robins” (orsides)  to our Batman (the brisket) are potato salad, baked beans and roasted corn – but don’t be afraid to venture out and try new options. Personally, I think nothing goes down better with barbeque than an ice cold beer!

5. Never drown your barbecue with BBQ sauce. The use of too much sauce means that you are trying to hide something. Great barbecue requires little to no BBQ sauce to be enjoyed.

Pick up this month’s issue of Texas Monthly; it lists the Top 50 BBQ joints in Texas. Go out and try all the great barbeque this state has to offer!

Meat markets around the San Antonio areas that provide good quality meats:
  • Cooper’s Meat Market
  • Bolner’s Meat Company
  • Dzuik’s Meat Market
  • Granzin’s Meat Market
  • Pruski’s Market
  • Local HEB Meat Market
Notable BBQ joints around the San Antonio area:


Upcoming BBQ events to consider:
  • American Royal World Series of Barbeque – Kansas City, Missouri

August 31 – September 3, 2017

  • Jack Daniel’s World Championships – Lynchburg, TN

October 27-28, 2017

  • Texas Monthly BBQ Fest Weekend – Austin, TX

 Sunday, November 5th, 2017

  • Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest – Houston, TX

February 22 – 24, 2018

Happy grilling,


To read more Off the Menu blog posts, click here.
I would love to hear your thoughts or comments on the blog!  If you would like to subscribe or send me your comments, please email eaguilar@atkgcpa.com.
The views and opinions expressed within this blog are those of the author(s)’ and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of ATKG, LLP, its owners, employees, or affiliates.