Why Texas-Style Barbecue Is Cooked Over Wood

If you barbecue at home then you may be familiar with cooking over charcoal or on a gas grill. Both of these options provide pros and cons. Gas grills are easier to use and you get even heat right away. Charcoal briquettes can be harder to start, and they take longer to settle into the right cooking temperature. You do, however, get a different kind of flavor when cooking with charcoal. But what about a third option? Wood and wood chips bring an entirely different flavor profile into barbecuing. Wood adds a smokey flavor to your food, and it's actually the preferred method for cooking Texas-style BBQ.

It should be noted that no one is suggesting you pile wood inside your barbecue at home, in fact, smoking with wood is something that requires training and the right kind of equipment. If you are interested in adding some wood chips to the mix, you'll need a stainless-steel smoker box and the right type of chips. After all, smoking is a technique that BBQ experts have taken years to perfect. Here's why it's the preferred method in the Lone Star State.

Low and slow

There are multiple reasons why cooking with wood is the preferred way to cook barbecue in Texas. The first reason is the signature flavor that the wood provides. The meat is cooked low and slow, and having a smokey flavor is a huge part of what makes Texas BBQ uniquely Texas. Meat in Texas is smoked with four specific types of wood: mesquite, hickory, oak, and pecan. Even though charcoal has its own unique flavor, you can't get as much smoke with charcoal, and the specific wood flavor is another signature element of Texas-style BBQ, especially the mesquite flavor.

The pleasant woody aroma of the wood burning is practically the signature fragrance of all the great BBQ joints in the Lone Star State, but it's not just done for the vibes. Burning wood is also more cost-effective. Wood burns for longer than charcoal and provides more even and consistent heat for smoking than a gas grill could provide. Texas pitmasters can keep the BBQ pits going all day long and keep churning out their signature brisket and ribs. Once the fire is going, it only takes adding another handful of wood chunks or wood chips into the smoker to keep the heat and the smoke going. 

Cooking with wood makes sense for Texas BBQ pitmasters, and the technique sure makes for some delicious eats.