BBQ Summer Camp – Every Texans Dream
When Jack Timmons graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in engineering, he never imagined he would be back decades later to attend BBQ Summer Camp, of all things. He can’t even say it with a straight face, “It’s like someone asking if you want to get in the hot tub time machine – um, why wouldn’t I do that?!”
Timmons first heard about BBQ Summer Camp from writer Daniel Vaughn – aka the BBQ Snob (no, really, that’s his social media handle). He signed up for the full weekend plus the Beef 101 class the following week.
On day one of BBQ Summer Camp, campers focused on beef, learning about the different cuts used for BBQ. After the seminar, they went into the lab and butchered out a brisket, taking it all the way through trimming, processing, seasoning, and finally cooking the cut. The second day highlighted pork, especially the different ways to season it, and the last day was dedicated to chicken – particularly whether to brine, tumble, or inject the chicken with marinade. The poultry scientist showed us how to rub a chicken with mayonnaise before smoking it,” says Timmons – it’s leaves the chicken perfectly moist.
One seminar went through the science behind how smokers work. Though it seems logical to assume it is the visible smoke that flavors the food, the flavor actually comes from invisible gases released by the wood. “You want a clean burning smoker.”
Each night, everyone gathered round for big dinner parties which Timmons remembers as “super fun.” No doubt smoked meat was on the menu.
Prior to attending BBQ Summer Camp, Timmons had been tinkering around with his backyard smoker. Going to camp “completely changed my life,” says Timmons. He went from tech industry engineer to restaurant owner and arguably Seattle’s preeminent authority on Texas BBQ. Every winter, pit masters from Texas’ top BBQ joints convene for a BBQ Town Hall meeting where they discuss things like brisket aging tenderness studies. Timmons has an honorary spot at the table despite being headquartered in the PNW.
“It’s fun for me to go back to Texas A&M. The guys from the school are proud that I made a successful BBQ restaurant in Seattle.”