Monday, August 31, 2009

BBQ Book Review - Legends of Texas Barbecue

Title: Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook
Author: Robb Walsh
Published: 2002 by Chronicle Books

This is the most informative and overall well written book I've read about about Texas Barbecue. It's part history book, part guide book, and mostly a recipe book. However, these aren't the author's recipes, and he hasn't attempted to add filler recipes. These are all from Texas pit masters who know their 'cue including no less than seven distinct recipes for brisket with varying levels of difficulty. Darrington Penitentiary Barbecued Brisket is the easiest version since it's done in an oven. Big smokers just aren't prevalent in prison kitchens.

The history gathered by Mr. Walsh is worth a book all its own. He describes the differing styles within Texas. Stories from pit masters and historic photos assist in explaining the finer points of the black influenced East Texas style which highlights saucy ribs, and why it differs from the Tejano South Texas style which features barbacoa. Central Texas 'cue created by German immigrants with its focus on heavy post oak smoking is contrasted with the West Texas cowboy style which features high heat from mesquite coals.

A short guide to many great BBQ joints rounds out the book. It's broken up in sections from the "Barbecue Belt" centered in Lockhart, and includes urban BBQ joints along with the historic Texas meat markets. Overall, this in depth look at the cultural influences that flavor our favorite food is just as insightful as it is hunger inducing.

- BBQ Snob

1 comment:

bourgon said...

Somehow I just ran into this review. Got myself a copy, and it's a fantastic book. A bunch of history and stories, rub recipes, mop recipes, techniques, ideas, interviews, bbq recipes and general bbq-style recipes (sides, etc). Almost exactly what I've been looking for for a while! Many thanks for this review.


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.