Texas BBQ


by Neural Shroud
Chicago

Thick fucking slabs of meat.

Dripping with molten fat, slowly rendering the skin into delicious brown crust.

Just another day on the job. Not being able to sink my teeth into the beautiful hunks that are being slowly cooked to perfection. "You can't do that, it's for the customers" they say. Fucking pricks. They don't pay me enough for this shit. But I still love working here, even though I'll never tell 'em that.

It's a slow day, I slip out the back door, reach into the back pocket and realize that I didn't buy any cigarettes on the way. Great, now I can't escape the hunger-inducing smell even here. Usually the cigs help my nose to catch a break for a few minutes, but not today. My stomach is churning and I start contemplating a quick run to the 7/11, but I hear the door open so I hurry back inside.

"Yes, ma'am. Yes, absolutely. Thank you. I will let you know when everything is ready!" I lift yet another beautiful fresh specimen onto the racks. It's a little weird to feel this way about food, I know. But hey, at the end of the shift there's nothing left for me and what is left is basically inedible.

What's happening inside the metal walls is akin to magic. It's a bit nerdy, but fuck you, that's what I like. Denatured proteins, reducing sugars and amino acids are beginning a beautiful dance on the surface. Turning the pale unappealing skin into a crispy crust. Myoglobin, responsible for the red color of the meat begins to oxidize and turn brown. The trick is not to let all of the myoglobin transform, but leave about 20% uncooked, so the meat is still juicy, but not too chewy.

This stuff is interesting to me, fucking sue me. It's happening in front of me every day and I just wish they'd let me taste some of my delicious work more often. I try to sneak bites here and there, but they're onto me, so I haven't had a proper piece in years by now.

The phone rings. Weird, these days everyone usually makes bookings either right here at the counter or just online.

"This is Houston Crematorium, how can I help you?"

Dial tone. Prank call? Wait. Does anyone even do prank calls these days? Fuck it. I wonder if the 7/11 still sells those little frozen pizzas by the dozen, I'm hella hungry.


You can follow Neural Shroud on Twitter @neuralshroud and at neuralshroud.com.

Image: Jon Sullivan. Republished under the public domain.