3-hour weekend class teaches, refines meat-smoking skills

BrisketU may be the hottest, smokiest ticket in town

For $89, people are lining up to become certified backyard pitmasters at BrisketU.

SAN ANTONIO – For $89, people are lining up to become certified backyard pitmasters at BrisketU.

The in-person classes, held on weekends at local craft breweries, are selling out on a regular basis.

Students learn all the basics, from trimming a brisket and selecting the most suitable firewood to carving the brisket correctly.

BrisketU is the brainchild of two former advertising executives in Houston.

“We came up with the idea and teach people how to do it in their own backyard and let’s do it at brewery...in the mornings when they’re not so busy,” said co-founder Mike Albrecht. “Beer and barbecue. Perfect marriage.”

The concept has caught fire, with BrisketU expanding to most major cities in Texas including San Antonio.

It launched in Nashville earlier this year and is coming to Charlotte, North Carolina.

Chris Malloy runs BrisketU in San Antonio and he says the classes draw a wide variety of people.

“We’ve had chefs from all over the country come in…to folks that don’t even have a barbecue pit yet,” Malloy said. “We really try to gear it towards everyone. So, you could’ve done 100,000 briskets and I think you’ll still pick up some things to apply.”

Lisa and Steve Baginski, visiting San Antonio from Illinois, added BrisketU to their travel itinerary.

“I feel like we learned a lot. We’ve done some briskets but, clearly, not correctly,” Lisa said. “So now, we know what we’re doing.”

Brisket isn’t the only thing on the menu.

Depending on the weekend, classes include instruction on preparing ribs, chicken and even seafood.

Pitmaster Chris Malloy says SeafoodU will return to San Antonio this Fall.

“We bring in salmon, redfish, a lot of local seafood and we teach you how to treat that fish, how to how to clean it, how to trim it up and then different with different ways of cooking it, Malloy said.

“You’ll get five different dishes in there. It’s a lot of fun.”

BrisketU’s co-founder, Mike Albrecht, says graduates of the class also gain bragging rights.

“We created this so that when your neighbor or your brother-in-law is looking over your shoulder telling you you’re doing it wrong, you can say, ‘hey, back off, I’m certified!’”

About the Authors:

Mark Austin is well-known to South Texas viewers having spent the bulk of his decades-long TV news career at KSAT. He can be seen weekdays on San Antonio's top-rated 'Good Morning San Antonio' and 'GMSA @ 9.' Mark won Lone Star Emmys for Best Newscast in 2011 and 2017 and has covered every Spurs championship.