Tuesday, August 3, 2010

BBQ Book Review - Tex-Mex Grill

Title: The Tex-Mex Grill
Author: Robb Walsh
Published: 2010 by Broadway Books

I just finished reading The Tex-Mex Grill while at my in-laws place on the Oklahoma side of Lake Texoma, an area pretty much devoid of worthwhile Tex-Mex. This was all the more reason my hunger mounted as I continued to read. I convinced myself that I might be able to find skirt steaks at the mini-mart down the road, and I could have them marinated and on the grill for lunch, but the rest of the family had the more realistic plan of ordering burgers.

The fact is you must read this book with a full stomach. I found myself charting a course to find the best fajitas in Dallas, or special ordering some outside skirt steak (I now know where to find this on a cow, thanks to Mr. Walsh) from a butcher to make my own. Much like his great work in Legends of Texas Barbecue, Robb Walsh mixes culinary and cultural history along with well written recipes. He takes the reader to a multitude of locales around Houston and the Texas/Mexico border telling stories of restaurants past and those cooking very much in the present like the bevy of taco trucks that inhabit Houston. These detailed accounts were so tempting, before book's end, I was making serious proposals to my spouse about a quick trip to Monterrey (AA has direct flights from DFW honey). Where better to quench my new-found and unexpected craving for goat steaks that only Mr. Walsh could create with his description of the honey-habanero glaze that accompanies them? Or maybe a beach vacation in South Padre if for no other reason than I could make a trek to the taquero stalls across the river in Matamoros.

In the end, we simply made plans for fajitas and frozen margaritas at Mariano's. Who knows what cut of beef they use for their fajitas, but after reading this book, I'll know to ask. There isn't much question that I'll be ordering one of those famous frozen margaritas.

It should be noted that I consider Robb a friend in food, and I've even had the pleasure to dine at his home. Just to keep this review honest, I must note one flaw. The book is full of recipes that may be unfamiliar to many, and one way to help visualize them is through photography. This books lacks color photos, and on many occasions, the black & white versions just weren't enough. Stuffed peppers look more like aluminum foil balls and the explanation of multiple pepper types in the back would be much more helpful with color photos. For what the b&w photos lack, the colorful descriptions help the reader imagine how beautiful these items truly are.

- BBQ Snob

1 comment:

BBQ Snob said...

If you're wondering what cut Mariano's uses, I asked last night while enjoying a plate of mesquite grilled fajitas. They use skirt steak, but were unsure if it was outside or inside. With the knowledge I gained from this book, I'll wager that it was inside skirt.


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.