Tuesday, April 19, 2011

BBQ Book Review: Barbecue Lover's Guide to Austin

Title: Barbecue Lover's Guide to Austin
Author: Gloria Corral
Published: 2010 by Barbecue Lover's Guide

Gloria Corral moved to Austin in 2008 and promptly immersed herself in the local BBQ culture. This book is a collection of profiles for many joints in and around Austin, the furthest of which is Snow's which is an hour and a half away in Lexington. I call them profiles because none of the entries resemble reviews. Nothing distinguishes each joint, so you may walk away form the book with an equal opinion of Bone Daddy's and Bill Miller BBQ as you would for City Market in Luling or Louie Mueller. While the lack of opinions make it less useful for those looking to go straight for the good stuff, the overall breadth of her list is impressive. There are seventy profiles, and the list dives much deeper than most Austin based lists. You can tell there was an honest search for BBQ along the backroads of the area. The black and white illustrations create a nice study of BBQ joint signage. Each one page profile includes a drawing of the joint's sign along with the basic information, most importantly, the hours of operation.

It's obvious that the author has given herself an adequate Texas BBQ baptism to have an honest opinion about the genre. I just wish she'd share them. Maybe her second edition (already in the works) will provide some insight on which joints are worth the visit.

- BBQ Snob

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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.