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U.S. Beef Featured at Texas-Style Barbecue in Aruba

USMEF partnered with the Ritz-Carlton in Aruba to host a week-long barbecue promoting U.S. beef. The barbecue, which included well-known pit master Bryan Bracewell preparing Texas-style barbecue dishes with U.S. beef brisket, short ribs and picañha, was funded by the Texas Beef Council, which also sent Jason Bagley, senior manager of beef resources, to assist.

U.S. beef brisket, short ribs and picañha were served at a USMEF barbecue at the Ritz-Carlton in Aruba

U.S. beef brisket, short ribs and picañha were served at a USMEF barbecue at the Ritz-Carlton in Aruba

The “pop-up” beach barbecue included a full-sized smoker shipped in from Uvalde, Texas, and ample cords of post oak wood. The event attracted a lot of attention and was featured in the “Have Fork, Will Explore” series on the popular local blog, “When in Aruba.” The blog entry can be found here. A video of the barbecue can be found here.

“The setting of a Texas barbecue on the beach at a popular hotel like the Ritz-Carlton was a great way to attract both tourists and locals in Aruba,” said Liz Wunderlich, USMEF representative in the Caribbean. “The idea was to get people to taste these great dishes made with nontraditional U.S. beef menu cuts. Many of the tourists shared their own barbecue experiences with Bracewell, and they all appreciated the quality of U.S. beef and what low and slow smoking does to add flavor to meat. And, importantly, word got around to many of the local restaurants in Aruba that are now interested in these new cuts.”

USMEF’s Liz Wunderlich and pit master Bryan Bracewell (in cowboy hat) set up a Texas-style barbecue on the beach as part of the Aruba promotion

USMEF’s Liz Wunderlich and pit master Bryan Bracewell (in cowboy hat) set up a Texas-style barbecue on the beach as part of the Aruba promotion

Bracewell, who operates Southside Market and Barbecue in Elgin, Texas, spent the week smoking U.S. beef cuts low and slow over post oak wood, adding the picañha – a cut that is popular in South American barbecues but used rarely in the U.S. – smoked at 225 to 250 degrees.

“Because the picañha is more tender than brisket, we smoke it just enough to get that oak flavor, pulling it after an hour or so, letting it rest, then serving it medium-rare,” Bracewell told “When in Aruba” author Tina Causey-Bislick.

Southside Market and Barbecue’s signature U.S. beef sausage spiked with jalapeno and cheddar cheese was also served at the beach barbecue along with two other varieties shipped in for the lunch pop-ups.

As Causey-Bislick blogged, “The Ritz-Carlton Aruba’s culinary team is already huddling to find ways to creatively infuse the smoky goodness of American-style barbecue into future offerings.”

NOTE: Photos and video courtesy of When in Aruba