Barbecue

Children at Risk’s annual ranking of Texas schools is out

Texas officials say they’re reassigning workers to deal with an ongoing problem of providing care for foster kids without placement.

The 2022-2023 school ratings report from Houston-based nonprofit Children at Risk sheds light on progress and problems that districts are facing statewide.

Former Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, who also had a short stint in Houston, will soon take on a new position overseeing Austin’s police department.

And a giraffe in a park in Juárez, who made headlines last year, is getting a new home.

Houston sues state over ‘Death Star’ law that will block local ordinances

Houston has sued the state to try and block the “Death Star” law that will block local regulations from being enacted at the city and county level.

Why several homes and businesses flooded during Hurricane Harvey may be passing up a last chance for compensation.

A new documentary, “Every Body,” turns the spotlight on people in the intersex community.

Plus, with digital streaming services upending the old model for making money in music, tech expert Omar Gallaga explores ways to support one’s favorite artists.

What the worry over ChatGPT looks like on college campuses

The Texas House approved a ban on school vouchers but the Senate has plans to overcome that.

One pill kills: a new statewide campaign to warn Texans about the dangers of fentanyl.

An attempt by the EPA to cut substantial cancer risk in some Gulf Coast communities by as much as 96%.

From college classrooms in El Paso and Austin, a reality check on the impact of ChatGPT.

A Texas child mental health program that could prove to be a model for other states.

Plus more than just peanuts and Cracker Jack on the menu this baseball season… barbecue smokers, too.

NASA’s new head scientist on the future of space exploration

Two lawsuits in Texas, one in Galveston and one in Amarillo, have potential impacts on a post-Roe v. Wade world. SMU legal scholar Seema Mohapatra on the implications for people seeking abortions in Texas and beyond.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn says he plans to block a Biden administration proposal that would allow thousands of migrants to live in the U.S. while their asylum cases are being considered.

We talk to Dr. Nicola Fox, who has been named NASA’s new head of science – a dream gig that comes with a $7.8 billion budget and responsibility for more than 100 missions.

And a new book, “The People’s Hospital: Hope and Peril in American Medicine,” claims a hospital in Houston could serve as a model for improving health care access nationwide.

What is a ‘constitutional sheriff’?

Inauguration ceremonies at the capitol lift the curtain and set the stage as the 88th legislature gets underway in earnest. We’ll have more on the inauguration of the Governor and the Lt. Governor. Also a prison hunger strike and allegations of retaliation. And the constitutional sheriffs movement and why advocates of police reform are concerned a vow to uphold the law is being twisted into something that subverts the law. Also 50 years of BBQ. The barbecue editor of Texas monthly on what’s changed in those decades, and it might be a lot more than you think. Plus, commentator W.F. Strong in celebration of Texas grammar, a Politifact check and more today on the Texas Standard:

What was on the menu this year

It’s been said that food is one of the best ways to understand a culture, and today, we’ve got quite the feast prepared. From migas to pecan pie, kolaches to Tex-mex, fried okra, cowboy cuisine, and everything in between; we review the year that was, in food and drink, in the Lone Star State. From a great Texas cookbook, to a cannabis cuisine trend, the invention of the “travel taco”, and secrets from the kitchen of a celebrated El Paso Chef. We’ve cooked up a special batch of Texas flavors for you today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: October 26, 2022

Governor Abbott extends a COVID-19 disaster declaration for Texas as a majority of states move the other direction. We’ll have the latest. Other stories we’re tracking: a stay of execution for a Texas death row inmate turns the spotlight on a tactic used by police to extract confessions…not all of them true. Also as election day approaches the nuts and bolts of voting machines: often at the center of disinformation claims. And how bout them…ticket prices? If you want to see the Astros in the world series it’s gonna costa ya, big time. We’ll hear how much. And the barbecue capitol of Texas heats up for an event that’s truly smokin. All that and much more today on the Texas Standard:

Smoked Beef Barbacoa

Barbacoa, from Sunday traditions to everyday goodness, barbacoa continues to evolve and surprise us. In this episode, we talk barbacoa basics before chatting with Joel Garcia, owner and pitmaster at Teddy’s Barbecue in Weslaco, Texas. Joel shares his barbecue and barbacoa story and how smoking beef heads takes barbacoa to the next level.

Texas Standard: January 31, 2022

On this final day to register to vote in the primary, a new survey offers a sneak peek on who’s ahead in what races and why. A pandemic, a statewide power outage, a walkout at the capitol over voting restrictions. In 2022, how much is set to change in Texas politics? A new poll by the University of Houston Hobby School suggests less than some might imagine. We’ll hear more. Also, in a decision celebrated by environmentalists, rights to drill for oil in the gulf wiped out by a federal judge. We’ll hear about what could be long term ripple effects. And a growing problem for Texas pitmasters: where’s the wood? Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard :

The Rise of Tex-Mex BBQ

If you asked any natural born Texan what food they most associate with their home state, chances are you’ll get one of two answers: BBQ and Tacos. In this episode we examine how these two disparate food traditions collided to to create the Lone Star sensation that is Tex-Mex BBQ. We’ll get a comprehensive look at this trend’s history, uncovering what exactly is Tex-Mex BBQ? How far do the style’s roots go? And most importantly, where are the best BBQ Tacos in Texas found? Guests include Ernest Servantes of Burnt Bean Company in Seguin, Joel Garcia of Teddy’s BBQ in Weslaco, and Eliana Gutierrez of Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ In Austin. Check out this Tex-Mex BBQ map we made with all the spots we mention in this episode.

Texas Standard: July 21, 2020

A sweeping stay at home order in Hidalgo county to stop the spread of COVID-19. But Governor Abbott says there’s no enforcement mechanism. In the Rio Grande Valley, doctors say resources are so limited they’re at the point of making difficult treatment choices. We’ll talk to the health authority in Starr county. Also, a state prison inmate surrounded by fellow inmates testing positive for COVID-19 is approved for parole but dies before his release. As his daughter grieves, she’s also demanding changes to the system. Those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: June 16, 2020

Bexar County officials among others asking the Governor for authority to require face masks as the numbers of COVID-19 cases continue to rise, we’ll have details. Also, the impact in Texas from yesterday’s landmark decision protecting the rights of gay and transgender workers. We’ll hear from the head of the State house LGBTQ caucus. And almost three years after Harvey, the Houstonians caught in the middle of a fight over relief funds. And the push to rename Fort Hood for a Texas veteran and Medal of Honor recipient who fought with the United States, not against it. Those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: February 18, 2020

As Bloomberg surges in the polls, his Texas strategy draws national attention, as another billionaire bets on Texas as a turning point. Our conversation with Tom Steyer on how the former hedge fund manager is pitching himself as an outsider here in the Lone Star State. Also on this first day of early voting, long time democratic members of congress from Texas facing challenges from progressives, in a fight for the soul of the party. Plus religious tattoos: new research suggests they’re making a distinctive mark. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: January 21, 2020

More foster kids sleeping in state offices? Efforts to deal with a crisis in the states child welfare system still failing hundreds of young Texans. Also, concerns about a growing mental health crisis on the border. We’ll hear the latest. And disorder in the court? A special panel now asking whether judges in Texas should still run for election in partisan races, or if it’s better to follow the federal system of appointment. Plus real brisket, fake news? Texas Monthly’s barbecue editor on Texans with a beef about a unique branch of journalism. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: December 3, 2019

He ran for senate, then he ran for president. Neither worked out as he expected. Now Beto O’Rourke has a new plan. We’ll look at what that might mean for Texas. Also, a federal plan to open up Texas forests to fracking. And from Wall Street to Y’all Street? Why a city in Texas is being talked about as a potential new capital for high finance. Plus, you may have seen him on the posters at Subway sandwich shops. But who is Pitmaster Ramone? And is he real? All of that and more today on the Texas Standard:

The Texas Crutch

By W.F. Strong

I like that Texas is so famous for certain things that those things carry the Texas brand all around the world. Like Texas toast, for instance. Or Texas Hold ‘em poker. The Texas two-step. Texas-style brisket. And even within the specialized world of backyard chefs, the brisket has a sub-specialty technique known as the Texas crutch. This technique allegedly originated in Texas, and therefore carries the Texas name throughout the barbecue world.

I’m going to teach you about this technique over the next three minutes. It may come in handy this summer when you are slow-smoking a fine brisket over the required 15 hours and suddenly need to hurry it along without ruining it. This is merely a suggestion. I know all too well that you don’t mess with Texas and you sure as hell don’t mess with a Texan’s brisket. So I go gently forth with this option.

Suppose, for instance, that you have invited people over to the house to eat at 8 p.m. You remember saying, “Y’all come on over for brisket at 8 p.m. and y’all bring the neighbors. Plenty for everybody.” But now it’s 5 p.m., the brisket has stalled and you realize it won’t be ready until probably 10 p.m. or later. Time for the Texas crutch.

The point of the Texas crutch is to speed up the cooking without losing the holy grail of tenderness. So what you do is get some foil or butcher paper and fashion it into a big, sturdy boat that will hold liquid. Put your brisket in the boat and then pour about a half a cup of apple juice into the boat – not over the brisket because it will rinse off the rub. Some people use bourbon or beer or red wine, but apple juice is preferred because of the enzymes that work diligently to tenderize the brisket.

The next step is to cover the brisket completely with foil or butcher paper and put it back to cook. Crank up the heat to about 250 degrees or 275 degrees, and let the apple juice and heat work their dual-action magic until the core of the brisket is 200 degrees, or twice the outdoor temp of the average Texas summer. Then take it off and let it rest an hour. Now you will have splendid, tender, awesome brisket that all those friends and neighbors will rave about and beg for seconds. The only problem is they will want you to do it again next week.

I love knowing about the technique and using it when I must, but I love even more knowing that in the book on brisketology, there is a chapter called “The Texas Crutch.” I enjoy knowing that the Texas name is on things that travel ’round the world, serving as a kind of advertisement for our culture. It’s our one-of-a-kind branding. And that branding is priceless. A manager at H-E-B told me that products sell much better if they have the Texas star or Texas flag or “Made in Texas” on them. And that branding works just as well in the Mexico H-E-Bs as it does here at home. And if we could trademark the Texas name and symbols, license and sell them, I’m sure we could make enough each year to buy a brisket for every family in the state for what I would call National Texas Brisket Day. Might need some beer and ice cream to go with it. Wonder who could help us out with that?

Texas Standard: May 2, 2019

Reading, writing, and a rush to judgement? Some Texas lawmakers seem somewhat unsettled by a school finance bill racing to the floor of the Senate, we’ll have details. Also, the white puts in a multi billion dollar request for emergency border funds. This time, it’s not about a wall but humanitarian relief. Some in congress are unconvinced. Also the future of ugly food, why your next pet might be virtual, and actor and filmmaker Edward James Olmos is in the studio. All of that and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: April 4, 2019

Texas house lawmakers give the green light to a 9 billion dollar school funding bill plus a teacher pay raise. But what happens next will be critical. Also, after a slap on the wrist from the nation’s high court, a major change coming to Texas’ execution chamber. We’ll have the what and why. Also, the pay gap for women in tech. And what could be rare bipartisan action in congress, this time to deal with what some call a retirement savings crisis. Plus your weekend trip tip and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: March 7, 2019

Alarming figures from the border show an 11 year high in the number of migrant families apprehended. But do the numbers add up? Just a few weeks ago, we were hearing that the claim of a border emergency was overblown, but now mainstream news outlets report what sounds like, at the very least, a crisis overwhelming customs and border patrol. We’ll try to get a better sense of what’s happening. Also, a first of its kind effort in Texas to be prepared for wildfire season. And a top doctor warns of a looming crisis in Texas health care. All of those stories and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: February 7, 2019

A new migrant caravan reaches the border with Texas and president Trump puts more boots on the ground, we’ll have the latest. Also, political strategies are adapting to a changing Texas. With all eyes on 2020, is the GOP scared? Or is recent rhetoric simply a plan to turn out the faithful? And from plastic to metal: the switch that could bring 3D printing into a whole new dimension. Also, the artist who consistently delivers billions of views on YouTube, you may remember Gasolina, Dura and Despacito. We’ll look at his formula for success and so much more on today’s Texas Standard: