Below is a chronological overview of the history relating to Texas barbecue. This table captures the most significant influences that shaped barbecue to make it what it is today.

years ago
Caddo Indians roasted venison and other game meat on open fire.
-          Spanish settlers came to America bringing domesticated cattle and traditions.
-          Spanish shepherds roasted goat and lamb in South Texas plains in holes in the ground; these animals were a better size (as opposed to beef) to cook and eat in one sitting. These were the early “cowboys” that roamed the country side and herded cattle.
-          Influence from south: squirrels and venison cooked on a grate of sticks over hot coals in a hole in the ground.
-          Influence from Mexico and “barbacoa”; digging pits in ground and burying a whole cow head to cook over the hot coals.
-          Cowboys continued and spread this tradition of cooking throughout their travels.
-          Period of intense German and Czech migration to Texas.
-          Immigrants introduced old world (European) meat smoking techniques.
Texas declares independence from Mexico.
-          Texas entered union as slave state.
-          Cotton planters from Mississippi, Alabama and the Carolinas came to take advantage of cheap land prices.
-          Plantation founders each brought hundreds of families (African-American slaves from the Caribbean) to work with them.
-          Germans make up 5% of Texas state population.
African slaves make up 30% of Texas state population. Some pockets even higher e.g. Brazoria county at 72%.
American Civil War.
19 June 1865
-          Slaves freed.
-          African-Texans celebrated their freedom on this day (Juneteenth) ever since with large outdoor gatherings, cooking barbecue.
Post-civil war
-          Texas cattle industry takes off, making beef cheap and easily accessible.
-          Development of railroads and increased demand in beef ensure cowboy cattle rearing continue (driving cattle from ranches to rail hundreds of miles away).
-          No refrigeration, killing and eating a whole steer becomes standard event. So does smoking and curing excess meat.
-          Freed slaves congregated to large cities, establishing Southern style barbecue outposts wherever they went. African-American barbecue became a style of its own.
-          Height of German & Czech migration in (central) Texas, named the German Belt.
-          Meat market barbecue tradition began: butchers turned left overs into smoked meats, farm workers came through and ate slabs of meat served on butchers paper, no to minimal sides, no sauces. Sides would include crackers.
-          To average consumer, there are only subtle differences between German and Southern barbecue.
-          Texas population at approximately 3,000,000 (compared to 600,000 before Civil War).
-          Cotton production reaches 3.5 million bales (compared to 350,628 bales in 1869).
-          Technology (tractors replacing people) contribute to decline of small cotton farms.
-          Large mechanised farms cause prices of cotton to fall.
-          Amount of migrant workers (predominantly cotton pickers) in Texas estimated at 600,000; mostly Hispanic/Mexican in post-civil war period.
-          Cotton pickers not allowed in restaurants, segregated and considered the lowest rung of society.
-          Workers ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at meat markets. Extremely popular due to convenience, cost, availability and acceptance. Due to reputation, women and children rarely seen at these establishments which were notorious for being rough, violent and reserved for lowest class of society.
-          Taylor (major cotton shipping centre) had high concentration of barbecue joints.
-          Oil business takes off in Texas.
-          Oilmen notoriously fond of smoked meat and fascinated by barbecue technology.
-          Federal Meat Inspection Act amended, applying rigorous meat inspection standards.
-          Confusing, costly and fatal to many independent meat markets and slaughterhouses.
-          Civil rights activism meant the end to segregation and discrimination against African Americans and Mexican Americans.
-          Rise of barbecue restaurants complying with federal standards; became increasingly popular with tourists.
-          A larger, enclosed style of barbecue smoker becomes popular.
-          Spare parts in oil industry used: oil drums are cut in half, parts welded to them and turned into smokers.
-          Texas barbecue devotees agree on most outstanding joints: Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, Kreuz Market in Lockhart, City Market in Luling. Kreuz Market and City Market never become restaurants; remain butchers, serving slabs of meat on butchers paper, no cutlery, plates or sides.
Early-mid 1980's
-          Oil prices fall from $30 to less than $10 a barrel.
-          Workers tasked with making barbecue pits and smokers to keep themselves busy.
-          Barbecue joints turned to wholesome family business and dining establishments.
-          Mechanised, high tech stainless steel barbecue ovens heated by gas are popular and widely used in restaurants. Few logs added for smoke.
-          Cooking process electronically controlled. Convenient, require no expertise to operate.
-          Avoid air pollution regulation problems.
-          Fail to replicate flavour of old fashioned barbecue pit.
Elgin declared Sausage Capital of Texas - House Resolution No. 705, 74th Legislature, Regular Session (1995).
Lockhart declared Barbecue Capital of Texas - House Resolution No. 1024, 76th Legislature, Regular Session (1999).
-          Franklin Barbecue (run by Aaron Franklin) opens in central Austin producing a beef brisket in the old traditional Texas style which no-one can believe.
-          Before this, truly great Texas barbecue traditionally appeared only in rural areas.
-          News spreads on blogosphere, media, and social networking sites. National media picks up story; more visitors come to Austin to try for themselves.
Oct 2011
-          JMueller BBQ opens in South Austin, just a few miles from the capital.
-          John Mueller is a descendant of Mueller family of Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor. Even though his reputation precedes him, he manages to deliver truly great barbecue.
-          No mechanisation in cooking, pit master controls fire and smoking of meat manually.
-          It becomes known that Aaron Franklin was John Mueller's protégé.

Information up until 1990’s compiled from Walsh, 2002, p 16-234; except 1900 and 1967 compiled from Engelhardt et al, 2009, p.83-85. Information on Texas state legislature (1995 and 1999) obtained from Texas State Library and Archives Commission, 2012.

Texas can further be broken down to three regions; putting the region, influences and styles into context.

East Texas
West Texas
Central Texas (Austin)
-     Influenced mostly by old South
-     African slaves brought various cooking traditions with them
-     Pork preferred
-     Open pit
-     Oak, hickory and pecan wood used
-     Used sauces to cook with
-     Pork rubbed with spice mix and served heavily sauced
-    Mexican influence
-    Goat preferred and later beef favoured
-    Mesquite wood used
-    Meats cooked directly over coals

-   German and Czech influence
-   Started at German meat markets
-   Smoked sausage preferred
-   Meat served on butchers paper, no cutlery or serving plates
-   Mainly no sides or sauces, maybe some crackers as side
-   Pork seasoned only with salt, pepper and smoke