Above: Classic smoked beef rib, a staple of Texas BBQ, served on a croissant in Houston, Texas.
Earlier this week, I was invited to speak at a private gathering with three of Houston’s leading “pit masters” (otherwise known as “smokers,” pit masters smoke meat; the name comes from the fact that in another era, the meat was smoked over a pit of smoking embers).
Our task was to determine what Italian wines go best with Texas BBQ (please keep in mind that the term barbecue has a particular meaning in Texas: it denotes “dry-rub” smoked meats, mostly beef, that have been seasoned solely with dry spices, mostly salt and pepper).
As someone who has been working in Italian wine for more than 20 years, I have no doubt that Lambrusco is the ideal wine pairing for Texas BBQ, even better imho than beer.
When it was my turn to speak, here’s the analogy I drew.
One of the most iconic dishes in Emilian cuisine is boiled meats. A number of different cuts of meat, including beef round and tongue and chicken, are slow-cooked together in simmering water and then are sliced and served accompanied by mostarda, spicy pickled fruits.
It is served exclusively, solely, and canonically with Lambrusco.
You have all of the elements of Texas BBQ — minus the smoke.
Tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture? Check.
Heat (in the form of mostarda, akin to the spicy vinegar-based sauces served with Texas BBQ)? Check.
The parallels are all there (again, minus the smoke and smokiness).
And so I rest my case: Lambrusco is the ULTIMATE pairing for Texas BBQ!
Don’t believe me? Come visit me in Texas and the ‘cue and the Lambrusco is on me!