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Bookshelf

By May 2002Comments

‘Cue Up The Smoke Gods are smiling: May marks the publication of two barbecue cookbooks by Texas authors. The best metaphor for Dotty Griffith’s book, Celebrating Barbecue: The Ultimate Guide to America’s 4 Regional Styles of ‘Cue (Simon and Schuster), is a savory four-meat platter. The restaurant critic for the Dallas Morning News, Griffith covers a lot of territory in 192 pages, and she has fun with the book’s 85-plus recipes. (Want to cook a whole hog Carolina-style? Easy; just acquire one “75- to 80-pound pig, head and bristles removed.”) Once you read this book, you will not have to ask, What is the difference between barbecue in Texas, Kansas City, the Carolinas, and Memphis? Robb Walsh’s 269-page production, Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook: Recipes and Recollections From the Pit Bosses, might be thought of as a pound of succulent brisket rapidly soaking through several layers of butcher paper. Published by Chronicle Books, it has more than 90 recipes, but the meat of the matter is a survey of Texas’ regional barbecue styles. Walsh, who reviews restaurants for the Houston Press, has an eye for the telling detail: “I wandered around . . . expecting to meet a lot of earnest competitors. What I actually found was a bunch of unshaven, bleary-eyed guys snoozing on lawn chairs beside their smokers. Good thing it wasn’t a beauty contest.”

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