Sometimes local media just fits:
- Los Angeles Magazine has a “Cannabis” section atop its site.
- The South Florida Sun Sentinel prominently features a “Storms & Hurricanes” beat.
- And Texas Monthly takes great pride in its BBQ coverage.
Of course it does. Nothing evokes Texan life quite like an overloaded plate of brisket…
… which is why one recent Texas Monthly piece, “Is Texas’s Barbecue Bubble Ready to Burst?,” absolutely floored us.
Are we entering a BBQ recession?
Not quite. Texan restaurants that had been printing money are just coming back to Earth now.
- Shop owners in the state reported dwindling lines and 20%+ sales dips this summer.
A market that was impervious to gravity is meeting it in the form of:
- It’s too dang hot: Restaurants blame high temperatures for keeping people away. Put more artfully in Texas Monthly: “A heavy meal of smoked meat feels less than refreshing when it’s 110 degrees.”
- A “broken” system: As every business owner on Earth right now knows, operating expenses have ballooned — labor costs have risen, sure, but so have the raw costs of high-quality meats. After customers complained of high prices, one restaurateur explained how far a 15-pound brisket purchased at $5.45/lb could go. (Hint: not far.)
- A flooded market: Texas, its major markets fully saturated with well-regarded BBQ joints, is wrestling with a basic supply-demand issue.
The rush to join the BBQ bubble has now yielded a different kind of heat: the pressure to survive its burst.
Speaking of heat… Leaving the house to pick up a plate of links on a hot day sucks, but just imagine making them. Pit rooms, where meats cook at high temps for hours, reportedly reached 130 degrees Fahrenheit during this summer’s hottest days.
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