Barbecue

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:

Texas Standard: January 3, 2019

The calendars have switched over to 2019 and that means some new Texas laws are or will soon go into effect. We’ll tell you what you need to know. Also, Mexico’s new president is making the entire border with the U.S. into a special zone to encourage would-be migrants to stay put. We’ll ask one expert whether the plan will work. Plus, jobs these days often involve sitting at a desk and getting food is as easy as pushing a button… How our hunter-gatherer bodies aren’t adapting. And have you ever seen an albino cockroach? It may not be what you think. All that and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: November 29, 2018

An historic new era set to begin in Mexico on Saturday. What does Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador mean for Texas? We’ll explore. Also, it’s been more than a year after Hurricane Harvey. Whatever happened to those long promised fixes to the floodplain maps? We’ll take a look. And in the first Texas city to shift to 100 percent renewable energy, plans to redesign the neighborhoods of the future. Also, the big news this holiday season may not be buying the latest smartphone, but what we’re buying with those smartphones. Our go-to digital guru Omar Gallaga has got your number. All that and then some today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: November 1, 2018

Along a major bridge in south Texas, welders putting barriers in place. We’ll get a first hand look at steps being taken in an apparent effort to shut down the border. We’ll be talking with a reporter from the McAllen monitor about unprecedented work on a bridge spanning the Rio Grande and what it could mean in practical terms. Also, the FDA green lights what could be a life saving new flu drug even though the researcher behind it says it could have happened long ago. Why the wait? Think: money. And a deal by IBM turns the nation’s attention to Texas farms, and not the kind that grow crops either. All that and then some today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: September 27, 2018

A new phase in the fight over the Kavanaugh nomination gets underway, raising questions of what due process means in the Me Too era. The latest on the confirmation of President Trump’s high court nominee and placing the proceedings in a different sort of historical context. Also, the 5G revolution: experts tell us it will change our lives. But as local officials look at regulation, the Feds now say hands off. Tech guru Omar Gallaga with what’s at stake. All of those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: September 13, 2018

Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolinas. But closer to home, officials in south Texas claim after flooding there they got stiffed by FEMA, we’ll have the latest. Also, we thought there are big discrepancies in health care for minorities, but now the agency examining those inequities nixed. We’ll hear why and what it means. And a year after a major quake in Mexico city killing more than 300: a new report blames corruption for many of the buildings that toppled. We’ll have details of the investigation. Plus tighten those crash helmets: Texas cities on a collision course with electric scooters. Those stories and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: August 16, 2018

Back to school: it’s not just kids returning to campus, but armed employees. We’ll take you behind the scenes of the effort to train and arm in-school defenders against future shootings. Also, talking machines: San Antonio researchers using machine learning to help Texans who stutter. And an historic road trip with the Green Book as a guide. Texas monthly’s barbecue editor on the search for cue in the Jim Crow south. Also the cub reporter in Houston who saved lives during a hurricane by changing how we see those storms on TV. Heard of him? All those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: July 19, 2018

They may call it the reddest state in the nation, but when it comes to bagging the green, the party of the blues is going gangbusters in Texas. We’ll break down what that means. Plus San Antonio’s long been the site of the Air Force cyber command, but now we’re hearing of a shift to combat status? We’ll find out what’s up. And what to do about the feral hog problem. One Texas county says you figure it out: offering bounties to help cut down the wild pig population. Will it work? And you’re just about ready for the family’s summer road trip, did you remember to bring along tech support? Never fear, our very own digital savant is here and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: June 21, 2018

The president didn’t like the optics, he said, so he signed an executive order. Smoke and mirrors? We’ll take a much closer look at the presidential directive to end family separations and explore what its does and likely does not do. Also the impact of family separation on kids, and how this major story in the U.S. is playing in papers south of the border. And Texas democrats gather for their convention, we’ll have a preview. Plus a look over our shoulder at what the Texas GOP just did. A major change of position on the question of marijuana. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: May 24, 2018

Can schools identify violent students before they commit mass murder? After Santa Fe, the mental health of students in the spotlight. Governor Abbott’s roundtables on gun violence after the Santa Fe High School massacre getting national attention. Now the governor is calling on mental health screening programs to identify would-be mass murderers, we’ll have more. And a clean water shortage in hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico: how Texas is coming to the rescue. And the end of an era at the University of Texas El Paso: our conversation with the outgoing president, once named one of the 50 world’s greatest leaders. And epic low turnout at the polls: what does this tell us about Texas politics? Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: April 26, 2018

Another Trump Administration official in the hot seat today after a slew of bad press. One who’s avoided negative attention? Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, we’ll explore. Also, the largest school district in Texas in turmoil? No permanent leader at the top and facing a potential state takeover. What’s going on with Houston ISD? Plus, you upgrade your TV or your phone but what do you do with the old stuff? Recommendations from our resident tech expert. And what the devil is devil sauce? We’ll take a little jaunt through BBQ history. We’ll also explore the history of a Texas town often overshadowed by the likes of the Alamo and a whole lot more on today’s Texas Standard: