Throwing an Authentic Texas Barbecue Only Takes 5 Easy Steps

Summer was created years ago for the sole purpose of hosting cookouts. OK—that may be a stretch, but denying the fact that grilling and the summertime fit perfectly hand in hand would be even more ridiculous. There’s something about sitting outside at a good ol’ Texas barbecue with an ice cold beer, a pitcher of homemade sangria and the grill rollin’ that just feels right.

To ensure everyone has the time of their lives at the barbecue, yourself included, there are a few tricks of the trade and steps to be taken prior to and during the BBQ. Whether you’ve been planning for months or are throwing an impromptu gathering, these tips will have you cool, calm and collected from start to finish because here in Texas, it’s a good old fashioned barbecue that makes our world go ’round.

1. Go Potluck Style

Because sharing is caring and here in Texas, we’re all about hospitality and giving when we can. There’s absolutely no shame in throwing a barbecue and asking guests to bring a side or beverage of some sort.

In fact, if your guests have those trademark Texan manners, they’ll end up bringing something anyways, regardless of you telling them or not. That’s just how we do things in the South. Cover the meat and most of the alcohol frontier yourself, and remind guests of the family style barbecue sides they grew up with.

2. Make Authentic Barbecue

By this, we mean one thing and one thing only: brisket. Brisket is king in Texas, and if you’re really going to have a barbecue, it’s not complete without the existence of fresh-off-the-grill brisket. If you’ve never made your own brisket before, here’s a quick rundown of how to do so.

Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to this meat, and it’s all about getting it to the right temperature and level of juiciness, which can take anywhere from 10 to 14 hours. For a step-by-step guide on how to brisket, check out this recipe but remember, it’s always best to finish what you started where you started it, on the grill.

3. Utilize Pitchers and Coolers

Half of the fun of barbecuing is the plethora of drink options that are usually available. Because we’re in the South, you best believe there will be some of the sweetest sweet tea made with a whole lot of love, pitchers of homemade sangria and beer by the dozen filled to the brims of coolers indoors and outside.

It gets hot here, y’all, and there’s no better way to cool down than with a nice glass of sweet tea, a cup of sangria, or an ice cold beer. Make it a Shiner for good measure.

4. Keep It Simple

From the music to the set up, you don’t have to blow through your last paycheck to have a good time. As long as there are good tunes, good food, and good conversation, there’s no way anyone could possibly leave disappointed. When it comes to music, you can’t go wrong with anything George Strait, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Guy Clark, or Willie Nelson, and it’ll provide something everyone knows to set the mood.

As for decor, just make sure there are plenty seats, plates, utensils and napkins for your guests, and that’s all they’ll need. Mood is everything when you’re having a barbecue in Texas, and it doesn’t take much to set up just the right one for a summer day in the Lone Star state.

5. Don’t Forget Dessert

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This is an easy thing to let slip your mind for the mere fact that brisket and other barbecue classics like ribs and sausage don’t always pair up with desserts on first thought.

But every Texan knows that growing up, there was never an occasion without dessert, and a barbecue is no exception. Whip up a refreshing and patriotic berry angel food cake trifle or some delectable banana pudding, and you’ll surely wow your guests with an exceptional taste of Texas.