_Barbeque Texas Style

Serves: 5



When you’re born, raised, and educated in SE Idaho the mention of a particular dish conjures up certain memories. For example, spaghetti brings visions of Italy, chow mein makes one think of China and the mention of BBQ brings to mind the Lone Star State.

In the universe of BBQ, Texas is real close to the center, while SE Idaho is on the very fringe, kind of like the planet Pluto. Where I grew up, good BBQ consisted of a thick brownish ketchup-like substance one occasionally found at the grocery store. When you don’t know any different, you tend to think this is as good as it gets!

My introduction to real Texas BBQ didn’t occur until the late l970’s. While trapping grizzly bears for the U.S. Park Service in and around Yellowstone National Park in the mid 70’s, I met a group of Texans. I’d been sent into their camp to trap a marauding bear. I didn’t catch the bear, though I did catch the outfitters’ Black Lab, who was known as Bumper. From the point of view of my boss, I didn’t accomplish a lot during those ten days. That’s his point of view. From mine it was different. The friends I made there, on Fishhawk Creek in Wyoming, are still friends to this day. Though it didn’t happen for several more years, it was while visiting them in Texas I finally learned what real BBQ tasted like!

Now, if you’ve got this far and you think I’m about to reveal the secret of real Texas BBQ, you are dead wrong! This story is about a Texan who attempted to apply the principles of BBQ to one of Maude Garroute’s goats.

By the early l980’s I’d been hired as a game warden and was stationed in the little central Idaho town of Challis in Custer County. Some of you who read this will have been to Challis and/or lived there, so this next part you can skip over. This will really ring true to any person (especially if you’re single) who works for a natural resource management agency and has been assigned to a central Idaho cow town. More succinctly put, look up “social isolation” in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of some single folks (all agency types) doing a backyard cookout in the only county in this state named after a loser!

Bear with me, we’ll get back to Texas BBQ, but first let’s take a closer look at the picture in the dictionary. Henry Ketchie, the only one of the group who’d gotten married before being sent to Challis died a few years later from cancer. One fellow ended up being a famous author and photographer. One of them is writing his second cookbook. Several of them were never seen after that summer, and one of them hailed from the land of BBQ.

McKinney’s folks ran cows on a little place outside of Atlanta, Texas, which is not too far from the Louisiana line. After finishing college, McKinney, like a lot of us, needed to see the "wild west" and headed out. He ended up working for the Forest Service on a summer timber marking crew. His boss, my good friend, Henry Ketchie and I started spending a lot of our time together. Like other transplants as the leaves began to turn color, McKinney’s thoughts turned to hunting.

Enter Maude Garroute and her goats. If you know anything about the geography of central Idaho, you know Challis has always been one of the primary access points to the Middle Fork of Salmon River. Maude had lived in the Middle Fork in the early part of this century. Maude, like other "hard scrabblers" left the back country and spent her last years near town.

As the local game warden, I tried to keep up on the local wildlife. Not long after moving there in l978, I saw a bunch of what appeared to be feral goats hanging in the rocks near the mouth of Morgan Creek. When asked, an old timer told me they’d belonged to Maude Garroute. Even back then, what knowledge I gained about Maude was probably 50\50 fact vs. legend. Suffice to say both local legend and old timers said Maude fit into the "eccentric" category. Maude had passed on some years before I got there, but her little band of mixed breed goats still hung around in the ledges and cliffs just north of the mouth of Morgan Creek.

Archery season opened around September first as I recall. McKinney forked over the big bucks and bought a nonresident license, along with a deer tag and an elk tag and headed to the hills with the hordes. The success rate for archery hunters is fairly low. I’ve seen these low success rates translate into disgruntlement! My pard from Texas was no exception. He was getting the same attitude as one expressed by one Buzzard to another in a poster from back in college days "Patience my ass, I want to kill something."

One day I looked down the lane and saw McKinney’s old brown Ford pickup truck leading a cloud of dust towards my house. After offering me a cold barley pop, McKinney started telling a story which I could tell was leading up to something. (About now, does that sound familiar?)

Being the local arbiter/authority on what seasons were open and/or closed, McKinney inquired as to the status of Maude Garroute’s goats. "Would it be legal to archery hunt them?" he asked!

Halfway through the six pack of cold barley pops, and thumbing through the Idaho Code book, we decided there was nothing written to prohibit the taking of feral goats with archery equipment. McKinney didn’t hang around long after that, nor to my knowledge did he seek a second opinion.

It was getting to be my busy time of year, so if folks wanted to get a hold of me they usually had to work at it for awhile. (This was pre-answering machine era) Anyway....one evening about a week later, I saw the same brown Ford truck leading a charge of dust up my road just as I was getting ready to go to work. No preamble from Mckinney this time. "Would it be legal to shoot one of those goats with a center fire rifle?" There had been no mention of feral goats in the archery regulations and a search of the general big game regulations yielded the same. There was just something about the way Mckinney was in a helluva hurry to get the answer he wanted and get back down the road. Being a nosy and suspicious game warden, I handed McKinney a beer and started asking him questions!

The crux of a lot of feet shuffling, rock kicking, all with head hung low was this. McKinney’s archery hunt had only been partially successful. The successful part included the stalk and not much else. He’d hit the goat with what I call a "California Head Shot." I know this statement is not politically correct, but it is accurate. I will leave it to your imagination,

as to where he actually hit the goat. Anyway, while some day light remained, McKinney headed out with his rifle to “get his goat” with the game warden’s blessing.

Next morning I stopped by Mckinney’s place on my way to work to check on his progress. Now if you like the look and smell of old goats, you would have liked this goat. I didn’t! Now that McKinney had his goat the next question begged to be asked. (You don’t know how sorry I was later that I did) "What are you going to do with it!?"

Come Saturday says he, we’re going to have ourselves a Texas style BBQ! McKinney had already worked out the details. He’d BBQ the goat, all us single guys would bring chips and beer, and the only three single women in the county would bring themselves and a green salad. Could there be any better way to spend a September, Saturday afternoon?

After getting the goat and prior to the BBQ, McKinney told us all to have refreshed palates on Saturday because we’d surely all be delivered of ordinary BBQ once and for all! Anticipation ran high among us bachelors. With all three single women in the county attending, no matter what the virtues of BBQ as extolled by our friend from Texas, BBQ was way down the menu that Saturday afternoon.

Just as apple goes with pie, beer goes with BBQ! As we sipped cool malted beverages and waited for the women, McKinney regaled us with stories of past BBQ’s in the great state of Texas. McKinney told us goats were second behind Longhorns as the national animal of Texas. The out put of our salivary glands increased with each story. This increased glandular activity peaked when a pickup pulled into the yard bearing all the single women of the county! Of the group, only I had observed McKinney’s goat on the hoof, in his pickup, and now perched on a cutting board next to the BBQ grill.

With all invited guests in attendance, McKinney prepared to light charcoal to begin the BBQ. Let me digress here to explain how Texans do BBQ versus the way Yankees do BBQ. Yankees, as defined by Texans, are all those citizens of the United States of America who live north of San Antonio. Texans utilize a covered chamber with the meat on a grill, while the heat supplied by coals or charcoal is in an attached fire box. Their BBQ is slow cooked with this indirect heat and basted towards the end with BBQ sauce. On the other hand, Yankees place the meat directly over the coals and slop BBQ sauce on throughout the cooking process. To adequately impress all his new found Yankee friends, McKinney had rigged a genuine Texas BBQ. The main event was set to begin.

All of us were suitably impressed with McKinney’s preparations although some expressed doubt about the "goat". Good beer, good conversation, and the thought of spending the afternoon with the only three single women in the county gave each of us the resolve to see the afternoon through! As McKinney jockeyed the coals around just right, the rest of us were jockeying for position with the women. To anyone driving or walking by, the scene appeared idyllic. Then McKinney began to apply heat to the hindquarters of this goat.

Though we in attendance, who by definition were Yankees, and had all expressed reservations about BBQ’d goat, none of us were prepared for what happened next! As smoke began to billow from the genuine Texas BBQ only a rapid evacuation prevented serious loss of life! McKinney, to this day maintains there was no toxicity associated with the smoke cloud which issued forth. This cloud hung close to the ground and only dissipated when the gusty winds of an afternoon thunderstorm threatened to take limbs off of nearby trees.

Except for exceptional circumstances one should never ridicule the cook! This event, if one can call it that, exceeded even "exceptional". All of us who cook know the terror of having dinner flop with guests already arriving. Things went from bad to worse for us all when all three single women in the county piled into their pickup truck and left. The smell of burning rubber from their tires was pleasant indeed, when compared to McKinney’s goat not yet medium rare! Imagine if you can, the caustic comments of dinner guests forced to sit just downwind from a barrel full of smoldering gym shoes, discarded socks, and old saddle blankets!

Anyway...these many years later I’ve yet to taste my first BBQ’d goat!

A Back Country Guide to Outdoor Cooking Spiced with Tall Tales - Meat in Camp

This _Barbeque Texas Style recipe is from the Cee Dub's Dutch Oven and Other Camp Cookin' Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

More Recipes from the Cee Dub's Dutch Oven and Other Camp Cookin' Cookbook:
_A Lasting Gift
_About The Cooks!
_About the Author
_As Close To Heaven As One Can Get
_Barbeque Texas Style
_Bread And Horse Wrecks
_Brother-In-Law Duck
_Camp Creations
_Camp Crock Pot
_Camp Kitchens
_Camp Robbers
_Campfire Cash
_Chicken ala S*#T
_Chili, The Controversy And The Recipes
_Common Sense And Cards
_Cookin' With Kraut
_Cooking From Cans - Menu For Day 16
_Culinary Bombs
_Don't Critize The Cook...
_Dry Camps
_Fanny Pack Snacks
_Game Meat
_Game Warden Dog
_Game Warden Scramble
_Garlic & Her Poor Cousin "Onion"
_Getting Bread In Camp
_Good Cooks / Bad Cooks!
_Good Humored Cook
_Hank's Spaghetti Sauce
_Hank, Jack And Me
_How To Cook A Coot
_Hungry Ridge Chicken
_Jerky And Smoked Fish
_Las Piedras
_Making Do
_Middle Fork Spareribs
_Modern Day Pilgrims
_No Name Creek Baked Beans
_Pitch In And Pitch Out
_Potatoes aka Taters, Spuds
_Redhot Rhubarb Upside Down Cake - The Story
_Religious Bedroll
_Roast Coot
_Rubs For Meat, Not Backs
_Shoestring Bull
_Something Soft For Dinner
_Sugar And Spice And Other Things Nice
_The Adventures of 'Two-Story Tom'
_Things I Don't Care To Eat
_Twas The Week Before Elk Season
_Two Reluctant Cooks
_Veggies For Camp
_Warden Stew
_Where Do You Buy Scratch

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