Earlier this week, the PGA and other sports outlets reported on this year’s Champion’s Dinner Menu, in honor of Dallas native Jordan Spieth. The main course featured “Authentic Texas Barbecue,” which, as we all know, is sure to stir some debate and generate a bunch of chatter. So here we are.
First things first, I will keep this as objective as possible to avoid any regional barbecue flame wars. I know this is a futile attempt, but I want to just point out that if you’re eating barbecue, you’re already a winner regardless of personal taste and preference. We were all raised on something and this will undoubtedly skew our perceptions, so keep it civil and fuck you.
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) April 6, 2016
I appreciate Jordan’s use of barbecue as the main course, and one that has made its rounds in previous dinners. Fellow Texan Ben Crenshaw chose barbecue in 1996, as did Phil Mickelson in 2007 (after previously choosing lobster ravioli). Another common theme is fajitas, which have been chosen by both Tiger Woods and Mark O’Meara. I’d also like to point out that Tiger also went with steak and sushi in previous dinners, while his first dinner featured cheeseburgers, fries and milkshakes — hopefully a middle finger to Fuzzy Zoeller.
Bubba Watson chose chicken breast and mashed potatoes after both of his wins, because they’re bland and tasteless as he is.
The most unique dinners have all come from foreign champions, like Angel Cabrera’s asado, Charl Schwartzel’s braai, Vijay Singh’s rack of lamb with kari sauce and Jose Maria Olazabal’s paella. The all-time great has to come from Sandy Lyle, who picked Haggis and turnips, because Scottish people love to fight dirty.
But anyway, on to Spieth.
First Course: Local Greens Salad
Sure, whatever. Not sure what that has to do with barbecue, but the addition of a corn muffin gets us close.
Main Course: Authentic Texas Barbecue
Here’s where we get to the meat (heh) of the operation. Now technically, the “holy trinity” of Texas barbecue is beef brisket, pork ribs, and sausage. Not really sure how yardbird made it into this one, but since we’re in Georgia, I’m guessing that has something to do with it.
I’m hoping that the grillmasters at Augusta National had some assistance here. While the cooking method is largely the same across the board (low and slow) for almost all barbecue, brisket has its own intricacies that might have escaped people accustomed to pork and chicken. For instance, both white meats can generally be cooked at a higher temperature, and with a variety of woods for the smoke. Furthermore, traditional Georgia sauce will be a tangy mix of mustard and vinegar bases. While delicious, they don’t necessarily go with fatty beef like a spiced ketchup and molasses based sauce will.
Bacon and chive potato salad sounds great, but I have no fucking idea how green beans, squash and zucchini snuck in.
Dessert: Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie with Vanilla Ice Cream
It’s not pecan pie, but we gotta keep it light here. You’re gonna be stuffed after a whole lot of meat, and a poorly-timed sugar crash could ruin your chances in the opening rounds.
Wine: 2011 Cakebread Reserve Chardonnay; 2010 Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
This is masterfully played by Spieth. The Cab Sav is a nice choice, and it shows his savvy by choosing Cakebread, as precious few drinks pair as well with barbecue as a screwtop wine, which is basically what Cakebread is.
All in all, I wouldn’t necessarily call it “Authentic” Texas barbecue, but what are you gonna do. This isn’t your last meal as a condemned man, it’s simply a dinner in your honor. Hopefully, everyone rubs a bunch of sauce and grease all over their green jackets. .
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