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The first question that comes to most people’s mind is, “How do I eat this without making a mess?” You cannot. Barbeque is a messy venture; accepting that fact early on will allow you to enjoy your meal.

Whether you eat with your hands or a fork depends on the cut of the meat. Brisket and sausage are fork dishes, while ribs are often eaten caveman-style, with your hands. (It also depends on the restaurant. Kreuz Market does not offer forks. As the owner famously says, “God put two of them at the end of your arms.”)

As far as dress code goes, do not wear white – or yellow, or pink, or anything that will not camouflage or coordinate with red. At 99% of barbeque restaurants (the exception being the more artisanal, nouveau ’cue places like Smoke in Dallas), you will see the most casual of casual attire, including jeans (harder to stain) and shorts, and maybe even some trucker hats.

A final thought on etiquette. If you are at a restaurant that uses a dry rub and you do not see any sauce, it is probably best not to ask. It would be a bit like asking for tomato sauce to put on your steak.


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© 2011 Lonely Planet. All rights reserved. The article ‘A user’s guide to Texas barbecue’ was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.

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