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Can You Take a College Course on Texas Barbecue?

If there’s anything the Lone Star State is famous for, it’s their perfectly smoked and seasoned barbecue. Briskets, ribs, sausages, and more, if you’ve been to Texas, you’d know how perfect these are. But did you know you can actually take a course on Texas Barbecue?

You can take a course on Texas Barbecue at Texas A&M University. The course teaches barbecue history, cooking metrology, flavors, seasoning, and different barbecuing styles. The course is offered during the fall and is conducted on Fridays.

ANSC 117: Texas Barbecue

A&M University called in Ray Riley and Jeff Savel to teach first-year seminar courses designed to manage small sections. One of the classes taught in 2008 was about baseball. Soon after, the department came up with the course on Texas Barbecue.

Over the years, the course code of the class has gone through several changes. They started as UPAS 181, then ANSC 289, and finally ANSC 117. The class was so popular that it was kept as a permanent part of their fall semesters. Unfortunately, the class can only accommodate 25 first-year students per term. (Source: Texas A&M University)

What Will You Learn in ANSC 117?

You might be curious to know what topics are taught in the course. Here are the topics that are discussed every term.

Introduction – The first part of the class focuses on expectations, a brief history of barbecue, and an overview of food safety.

Cooking Methodology – An introduction to the standard tools: pits, kettles, water smokers, barrel smokers.

Fuels – Various fuel types used in barbecuing; charcoal briquettes, charcoal chunks, and wood coals. Woodchips for smoking; hickory, oak, pecan, and mesquite.

Flavors and Seasoning – Basics on seasoning, making marinades, rubs, and sauces.

Pork BBQ – How to make southeastern-style pulled pork and Hawaiian-inspired pork loin.

Ribs, Ribs, Ribs – Basics on making excellent baby back ribs, St Louis-style, Memphis-style, Kansas City style, and Asian-inspired rubs and sauces.

Chicken BBQ – How to efficiently smoke and roast whole or pieced chicken.

Lamb and Goat BBQ – The essentials on how to prepare and make great-tasting lamb and goat.

Briskets – Everything you need to know about the most famous BBQ in Texas, from start to finish.

Beef Cuts – Knowing which cut is best for different methods. Know the difference between shoulder clods, sirloins, ribeyes, and tenderloins.

Exotic Cooking – Find out how they barbecue in South America. Brazil and Argentina-style barbecue.

The Thanksgiving Turkey – Learn about the different ways to prepare and cook the massive thanksgiving turkey. Various brine recipes, smoking, frying, or roasting.

Cooking Whole Pigs – Efficiently preparing an entire pig for roasting using different cooking styles; Hawaiian, Cuban, and Cajun.

The Wrap Up – A culminating activity and final words from the instructors.

(Source: Texas A&M University)

Is the Course Still Available Today?

The course started in 2009, and as of today, a modified version of the class is being offered. Due to the pandemic, the Department of Animal Sciences converted the course into a Barbecue Summer Camp. But instead of just Jeff Savell teaching, Foodways Texas’ Marvin Bendele teaches the class with him.

Several people wanted to register for the class, but only 50 participants were allowed to attend. They came from Arkansas, California, Florida, South Carolina, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Tennesse, and Washington. (Source: Texas A&M)

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