Friday, May 1, 2009

BBQ Book Review: America's Best BBQ

Title: America's Best BBQ
Author: Ardie A. Davis & Paul Kirk
Published: 2009 by Andrews McMeel Publishing

On this blog, I have documented my visits to over 160 BBQ joints. The authors of this book claim to have tried 8000 joints between the two of them. Skeptical? Remember that they've each had the BBQ bug for over 50 years a piece, and have the sauce stained white beards to prove it.

The book starts with an explanation of how the joints were chosen for the book, and the authors are very open about their sometimes less than rigorous method. The rest of the book is full of recipes from each of their favorite 100 joints in the country. All of the classics like smoked brisket, Brunswick Stew, Pulled Pork, Baby Back Ribs, and Burgoo are included, but the variation of recipes required to include unique recipes from all 100 joints led to a few forced items such as the very un-barbecue like Volcanic Goat Cheese, tamales, and deep fried Oreos. Most of the recipes are solid choices that really seemed to reflect the essence of their associated joint, and the well written stories that accompany the recipes help to provide some background for each joint.

Throughout the book, the authors add tips and tricks for good 'cue as well as a few stories about some of the personalities they've encountered on their journeys. One of the best stories was about the Florentine chef that they convinced to travel to the US and enter a barbecue competition. Near the end of the book, a list of joints the authors would like to try are listed. Given their knowledge of 'cue nationwide, I'd be happy to show them around some of the Texas joints that they've missed along the way.

The major beefs that I've got with this book may seem like a shallow pot-shot, but the authors have opened themselves up for criticism by providing their national Top 10 list. First, both authors chose RUB BBQ in New York City as one of the nation's Top 10. I'm not saying that New Yorkers can't do good 'cue, but it just doesn't seem right to include a joint that one of the authors (Kirk) has ownership in without adding one giant asterisk. My other beef is with Mr. Davis choice of Cooper's in Junction. On my trip to Junction, Cooper's wasn't even the best joint within this town of just over 2600 people, but it may have just been a good day for Lum's. Darn, I guess I'll have to go try them both again.

- BBQ Snob

For those interested Texans out there, here's a list of all the Texas BBQ joints included in the book:

Black's, Lockhart
Clark's Outpost, Tioga
Cooper's, Junction
Cooper's, Llano
County Line, Austin
Goode Co., Houston
Iron Works, Austin
Louie Mueller, Taylor
Luling City Market, Houston
Meyer's, Elgin
North Main BBQ, Euless
Rudy Mikeska's, Taylor (Closed)
The Salt Lick, Driftwood
Smitty's, Lockhart
Southside Market, Elgin
Tom's Ribs, San Antonio (Closed)

1 comment:

joob said...

Luling City Market in Houston. I can't even take this book seriously!


Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.