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Smoking Musket Tailgate Menu: Texas, featuring brisket

When in Central Texas, you eat smoked beef brisket. But we have a noon kickoff? That’s OK.

Texas v West Virginia Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Another noon kickoff means another breakfast tailgate. When I started looking at this game while planning these posts, I immediately knew I wanted to do barbecue brisket, a Central Texas mainstay. However, with a noon kickoff, smoking a brisket isn’t feasible. That’s OK, we’ll adjust.

Brisket Breakfast Quesadillas

Barbecue in Texas is a ceremonious experience, almost sacramental. Just as you wouldn’t use white wine for communion, you won’t use pork or chicken for Texas barbecue—Texas is all about beef, specifically brisket.

You may remember the steak and eggs tacos from the Texas Tech game. These quesadillas are a more intricate version of that.

Firstly, you need to cook the brisket. This will take a long time, so do this Friday. Again, there are a few keys to good beef barbecue: low heat and a long cooking time, use a spice-packed rub, and allow the rub and the meat to get acquainted.

It’s really simple to smoke a brisket, but it’s also tedious preparation. You’ll need to trim the fat from the brisket. Then, season the meat with the rub below, wrap it and refrigerate it for a couple hours, then let it sit at room temperature. You’ll want to preheat your smoker to about 225-250 degrees. Place the meat on the smoker fat side up, close it and let it be. You’ll want to rotate or flip the brisket a couple times during the cooking, but otherwise, leave it be. Cook for about 10 hours, or internal temp is at 195, and pull it off. Let the brisket sit for 30 minutes and then slice or pull it.

Rub recipe

After that, store it for Saturday in a baking pan, covered with foil. You can start preparing other ingredients for the quesadillas, but you’ll really just need a whole lot of shredded cheese, scrambled eggs and tortillas.

On Saturday, fire up the grill and heat up the brisket again. While doing this, you can start cooking your scrambled eggs.

Then, lay out the tortillas on the grill and on one half of each one, add cheese, brisket, scrambled eggs and other toppings. Fold over the tortilla and cook for three minutes on each side. Remove the quesadillas, let them sit for about 2 minutes, then slice them in half.

Serve them with whatever sauce or toppings your guests want! I’d suggest a Texas-style barbecue sauce, sour cream or salsa.

Pro tip: Add a little water or apple juice to the brisket as you reheat it.

Cheesy Grits and Spinach Casserole with Bacon

Early-morning tailgates require day-before preparation. Have y’all learned that yet? Well, here’s another make-ahead casserole that will surely satisfy your tailgate guests.

If you’re not a fan of grits, you’re not eating them correctly. Don’t worry, I have a remedy. Grits are best with cheese—lots of it—and usually a meat of some kind. This casserole uses a lot of cheese and bacon. The key to this casserole is using real grits, not quick or instant.

Cook the grits in a big pot and cook the bacon and spinach while those are cooking. Mix it all together and pour into a casserole or baking dish.

Pro tip: If you want to shorten the process, use quick grits. Do this by basically following the instruction on the box, but use the broth, milk and cream liquids to cook them.

Extra pro tip: Use extra cheese in the grits, then top it with cheese.


Shiner Bock

Shiner Bock is produced by Spoetzl Brewery, in Shiner, Texas. Every drop is brewed in Shiner, Texas, as the bottle claims. You can pick this up in grocery stores in Morgantown, but if you’re going to be in Texas, you’ll also be able to find it. Granted, Bock is traditionally brewed in the fall and drunk in the spring, but it’s still a good beer to drink in the fall. It’s a stronger, darker beer, which, in my opinion, is perfect for cooler weather.

Cheers to messing with Texas! Cheers to hopefully no more noon kickoffs for the season!