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If you love Texan BBQ and want to learn how to cook succulent, richly flavored barbecue meats, at home, Aaron Franklin’s masterclass is ideal. His no-nonsense approach makes it possible for anyone to treat their friends and family to wonderful, tasty barbecued ribs, brisket, and more.
Who is Aaron Franklin
Before I took this course, I had not heard of Aaron Franklin, which is amazing given how famous he is in America. He is one of the most well-known pit-masters, in the country.
Aaron is also the co-owner of the Franklin Barbecue Restaurant. Every day it is open, people queue for hours to get in and eat there. So, it is fair to say that Aaron Franklin knows a thing or two about barbecue cooking. In particular, the Texan way of smoking, barbequing and grilling all kinds of meats.
How to build the fire for your Texan BBQ
Building and maintaining a fire that produces clean, flavor-filled smoke is an essential skill. If you do not know how to do that, your meat will taste awful.
One of the most difficult skills to learn is building a fire. The modern way of living means that most of us rarely need to build a fire, me included.
So, this lesson was great for me. Fortunately, it is not that difficult. Aaron’s tip about using cooking oil and paper to get things going was simple and I would imagine very effective.
How to select the right wood for a BBQ
It was also interesting to learn the role natural wood plays in the cooking process. Aaron explains that the wood you use needs to have some moisture left in it and be from the right tree variety. When you use the best wood, you create smoke that gently flavors your food.
The section on wood selection, in the workbook, is particularly in-depth. But, this is a good thing. It is a far more complex subject than many people realize. Once you have read it, I suggest that you print off the dos and don’ts of wood selection and refer to it when buying your wood. Aaron even suggests where you can buy the right type of wood, for barbecuing.
How to control your fire
Aaron does not complicate things. He quickly explains what the various smells and smoke colors indicate. Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to spot issues and take steps to fix them.
Importantly, he also covers how to cook in imperfect weather conditions. In particular how to control air flow, temperature and the height of the flames.
How to select the right meat and trim it properly
Selecting the right meat is essential for your BBQ. In the course, Aaron shows you in detail how to buy good quality beef. But, a lot of the principles he teaches in this video apply equally to other cuts of meat.
In the workbook, he goes into far more detail. He explains each of the USDA quality standards and explains where each joint comes from. In addition, he covers the different ways the animals have been raised and explains how that affects the flavor.
The course is full of interesting tips. For example, when buying a pork butt, which is actually a shoulder joint, asking your butcher to leave the bone in.
How to create the perfect barbecue game plan
Good barbecue takes a long time to cook. So, to pull it off and not leave your guests hungry, for hours, you need to be organized.
Earlier, I mentioned the fact that Aaron works out in advance what needs to be done when. I like the fact that Aaron maps everything out before he starts cooking. He explains that this approach keeps him organized and ensures nothing gets missed.
More importantly, if something goes wrong, he is able to backtrack and work out where the problem might have been. The next time he cooks that joint he can tweak his process. Every smoker cooks a little differently, so doing this is important, particularly in the early days.
You will also learn how the toughness of the meat and how it is going to be served need to be factored in when deciding how long it should be cooked.
The classic Texan barbecue dishes Aaron teaches you to cook
During this course, Aaron teaches you how to cook several classic Texan barbecue joints, including:
- How to smoke a pork butt (which oddly is actually a shoulder joint)
- How to cook the perfect pork ribs
- How to cook a Texan barbecue brisket
- How to create the perfect sauce for ribs
- How to grill steak and broccolini
The techniques and flavorings used for these recipes can potentially be adapted and used when cooking other cuts or meats.
The cooking process explained in detail
In his smoke: pork butt video Aaron explains how to monitor the cook and assess things, as you go. That includes how the meat should look, smell and, slightly weirdly, feel, at each stage of the cooking process. Later in the course, he shows you how to use a toothpick to assess whether the meat is ready to rest and serve.
For each recipe, Aaron explains how to do the following:
- how to trim and shape the joint for cooking
- how to season your meat
- how to infuse flavor
- how to assess the cook as you go
- when and how to spritz
- when and how to wrap a barbecue joint
By the time you have watched all of the videos, you will be able to quickly work out how to cook virtually any meat or cut.
How to slice up or pull your meat once it is cooked
The joints you use to create a Texan barbecue are not cheap. It is easy to spend a lot of money when entertaining friends or family. So, you will want to get the most out of what you cook.
So, I was really pleased to see that Aaron took the time to cover the subject of carving, slicing and pulling barbecued meats in detail. He shows you how to create a mix of lean and fattier cuts so you can cater to all tastes.
More importantly, he shows you how to make sure that the flavorsome bark is spread out evenly across the pieces you create. This ensures that everyone gets to enjoy the same divine flavors.
The equipment you need to cook tasty smoked BBQ meat
It was refreshing to see Aaron not being afraid to use a standard bread knife to cut up his brisket. So, many chefs try to push their students to buy expensive equipment that they don’t really need. Not Aaron, his down to earth approach ensures that Texan barbecuing is something that anyone can learn and enjoy.
How to buy the right smoker for a Texan BBQ
I am completely new to smoke cooking, so the section that explains the different types of smokers and barbeques was especially helpful. He includes stick burners, charcoal, gas, electric and pellet smokers as well as kettle grills in this section of the course.
Although, as you would expect, when it comes to showing you the techniques Aaron uses a wood powered smoker. This is what he cooks with, so, naturally, that is his focus.
Aaron dedicates an entire video to explaining what to look for when you go out to buy a wood smoker. He builds his own offset cookers. Understandably, he is very proud of his special design. So, Aaron uses one of the cookers he has built to explain what to consider when buying one. Interestingly, he also explains how to upgrade and modify the cooker you already own.
Aaron’s bonuses and other resources
As you can see from my full Masterclass.com review you get lots of little extras when you take one of their courses. The workbook that goes with this course is very good. He goes into a huge amount of detail about how to plan out every aspect of your BBQ cookout.
Everything is laid out very clearly and in a way that makes it easy for you to print out a few relevant sections. This is good news because finding the video that contains the information you need is not always easy.
For example, keeping your meat at room temperature while you prepare the fire and which direction the meat needs to be facing when you put it in the smoker.
Honestly, no detail is left uncovered.
How to make the most of masterclass cooking courses
The masterclass office hours facility is included, with this course. Using this facility, you will be able to put all of your important Texan barbecuing questions direct to Aaron.
I took this course just 5 days after the course was released, so nobody had yet asked him a question through this portal. But, there were a few comments below some of the videos, most of which had been responded to in some way. That is a good sign. Plus, he has already added a bonus video to the course. In which he explains how brisket became the king of Texan barbequing.
If you would like to learn more about the extras you get when taking masterclass.com courses I suggest you read my review. You can do so by clicking here.
Priceless BBQ tips direct from Aaron Franklin
I am a big fan of barbecue food, so over the years, I have watched a lot of programs about this style of cooking. As a result, I thought I knew quite a bit about the subject.
So, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I learned from Aaron Franklin’s Texan BBQ masterclass. Virtually every video contains tips and tricks that I had never come across before.
For example, Aaron shows you how to prepare and season your meat so that you always keep one of your hands clean. This is important from a food safety point of view. It also makes it possible for you to open and close the smoker door safely.
Is Aaron Franklin’s masterclass worth the money?
I really liked Aaron’s teaching methods. He weaves everything together nicely. Anyone who is interested in food will enjoy this course.
However, if you want to learn to cook using a kettle grill or gas smoker you may need to take an additional course. The barbecuing and smoke cooking principles Aaron teaches are applicable across the board. But, he does not cover things like setting up and getting an electric smoker up to temperature, in this course.
More masterclass.com cooking courses for you to take
I bought an all-access masterclass pass. Mostly because it enables me to take as many of the 60+ courses I want without paying anything extra. The pass costs the same as it would if you were to buy two courses separately, which represents very good value for money.
Using my all-access pass I have already been able to take 7 other cooking courses. That includes masterclasses taught by Gordon Ramsay, Thomas Keller and Alice Waters. You can read my reviews of those and other courses by clicking through to them using the links in the side menu.