Chili vs Brisket: Why Brisket Should Be The Texas State Dish

It all started with Paul Burka and his chiliphobia. Time to change the Texas State Dish to brisket from chili, he said. Chili is “tasteless mush” and an “obliteration” of flavor, he said.

Yes, yes. Texas chili is basically grease and spices.

On the other side we have Bud Kennedy putting in his two cents and proclaiming chili as a Ft Worth “icon” (lol, c’mon it’s “from” San Antonio) and tacitly suggesting that the chili vs brisket debate is really about Texas vs Austin. He also claims that changing the state dish to brisket would be an attack on “our way of life”.

Chili has a rich history in Texas, there is no doubt. But, brisket should be the state dish and here are some reasons why.

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Meatonomics 101: Meat Charts

How does the retail price of beef compare to pork and chicken? Has the price of beef gone up or down, in real terms, over time? Which country consumes the most beef? Which country consumes the most pork?

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about the meat industry, both domestic and international, which led me to ask the previous questions (and many, many more). The answers seemed anticlimactic without pretty pictures so, I took the data I found from all around the interwebs and made some spiffy charts.

Before I present you these charts, I want to introduce two nerdy economics terms I’ll be using: nominal price and real price. Nominal price is just the amount on the price tag. If you went to the store and bought a brisket for $2.07 per pound, the nominal price is $2.07 per pound. Easy. Real price means “inflation adjusted price”. Paying $2.07 today for a brisket would have been like paying $1.28 in 1993. Real price gives us a way to accurately compare prices throughout the decades.

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