Monday, April 25, 2011

BBQ Book Review: The Pits of Middle Texas

Title: The Pits of Middle Texas
Author: James Latimer
Published: 1994 L'Adrienne Press

A book this old certainly has some joints listed that are closed for good, but who knows what hidden gems it might contain. I picked this book up in hopes that one or two joints listed in here might be a great place who's reputation has been forgotten, but the only joint still open that I hadn't already heard of was Ronnie Ingle BBQ in Abilene. I guess that calls for a road trip.

All twenty reviews in the book read more like a conversation between the writer and pitmaster of joints from La Grange to Abilene. Each review is in depth and covers the venue, the service and the food along with some history. I also enjoyed reading the work of a contemporary of mine from a couple decades back. One great nugget in this book is a short history of Cooper's Bar-B-Q. Here's an excerpt:

"The story of the restaurant began in 1962 when a man named Tommy Cooper opened Cooper's Bar-B-Q in Llano. His father, George Cooper, had operated Cooper's Bar-B-Q in Mason for 20 years and was a seasoned pit tender. George decided to branch out with his BBQ, so he sent Tommy to open the restaurant."

Tommy died in 1979, so the family sold the business. Seven years later, the current owner, Terry Wooten bought the place and he's been operating it ever since. This is the same Cooper's chain that has expanded to New Braunfels and Fort Worth. I have no idea how the location in Junction took on the family name. Thanks to this book, I know a little more about the history of this incredibly popular BBQ destination.

- BBQ Snob

No comments:


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.