Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook: Recipes and Recollections from the Pit Bosses

August 29, 2010 · Posted in Bestselling Cooking Books 

Product Description
Welcome to Texas barbecue. They love to make it. They love to eat it. And they love to argue about it -igniting as many feuds as fires from Houston to El Paso. Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook delivers both a practical cookbook and a guided tour of Texas barbecue lore, giving readers straightforward advice right from the pit masters themselves. Their time-honored tips, along with 85 closely guarded recipes, reveal a lip-smacking feast of smoked meats, savory side … More >>

Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook: Recipes and Recollections from the Pit Bosses

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5 Responses to “Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook: Recipes and Recollections from the Pit Bosses”

  1. Tim Janson on August 29th, 2010 10:25 am

    The Legends of Texas Barbecue is not so much a cook book as it is a reverent tribute to Texas-style barbecue and the legends who made it famous. As author Robb Walsh notes in his introduction, “Southern barbecue is a proud thoroughbred whose bloodlines are easily traced while Texas barbecue is a feisty mutt with a whole lot of crazy relatives.” There are few things that Texans argue over more often than barbecue. The book traces the diverse lineage of Texas barbecue and introduces us to the pit bosses and restaurant owners who have grown to mythical status in Texas. Throughout, archival photographs highlight these men from as early as the start of the 1900’s.

    Walter Jetton is perhaps the most influential pit boss in Texas barbecue history, once holding the record for feeding 12,000 people at a single event. He was also a favorite of President Lyndon Johnson. The early part of this book focuses on men such as Jetton and others, and gives a fascinating history of cooking methods and equipment these pioneering men used.

    The book then provides indispensable advice on achieving a Texas-style Barbecue at home including suggestions on the best equipment to use, fuels, and cook methods. Forget the gas grill, even the use of smoke boxes will never achieve that true, smoky taste. Utensils are also covered in detail including the one thing every good barbecuer needs…a basting mop.

    Moving to chapter two, the Legends of Texas Barbecue covers the “sport” of competitive cook-offs and masters such as Harley Goerlitz, holder of over 300 trophies including numerous championships. These men provide some of their award winning recipes and sure-fire tips to making the best barbecue. Even if you never plan to enter a cook-off, you’ll find expert tips from these men that you can use at home.

    Rather than being sectioned like most cookbooks into type of foods, this book is sectioned off into regions. East Texas, West Texas, Southern Texas, as well as the very notable influence of German immigrants of the 1800’s and the black urban influence that began when Harvey Miller opened his barbecue joint in 1941. Each section provides a sampling of recipes from these influences and it’s interesting to note the differences in preparation, cooking, and spices in each. Among the most interesting chapters from a historical perspective is the one that deals with the strong German influence on Texas Barbecue. Texas became a hot spot for German Immigrants in the mid 1800’s and continued for some fifty years. This influence is still seen today in the barbecued sausages from this region.

    The Recipes are unique and mostly simple, having only a handful of ingredients. Monte Barber’s Country Style Ribs uses just orange juice, ribs, BBQ sauce and a basic rub. This is a recipe created by the legendary C.B. Stubblefield who lends his name to the famous Stubbs Barbecue sauces that are available throughout the country. Then there is Drexler’s Ribs from Houston restaurant owner James Drexler, smoked to perfection using just ribs. paprika, salt, sugar, and garlic and onion powders. Simple and delectable.

    There’s Potato and Black Bean Salsa Salad, BBQ Pork and Guacamole Sandwiches, Jalapeno Potato Salad, Barbecued Turkey, and more unique BBQ sauces than you’ve ever seen. Whether it’s ribs, brisket, steaks, chicken, sausages, vegetables or salads, you’ll be sure to find many recipes to enjoy.

    The final chapter takes readers on a guided tour of the most famous Barbecues in Texas complete with addresses and phone numbers and a capsule history of each. You’re invited to make a pilgrimage to the Texas barbecue belt towns of Lockhart, Elgin, and Taylor to visit some of the most famous barbecue joints not only in Texas, but the entire country! In addition there is also a section listing various online and mail order sources where many of the sauces, rubs, and cooking utensils can be purchased.

    This is just a magnificent book for any fan of barbecue! Highest recommendation.

    Rating: 5 / 5

  2. Mike1 on August 29th, 2010 12:46 pm

    I own and use a Weber charcoal grill, a high-end gas grill and an offset firebox, horizontal barrel smoker. I have a significant collection of books for each cooker. For authentic, slow-smoked BBQ, this is the best book out there.

    It is an excellent basic “how-to” book for the beginner and a great resource book for the experienced slow-smoker. It discusses types of wood, gives great recipes for various cuts of meat, has an excellent discussion on cooking times, gives recipes for rubs, sauces and side-dishes and is, simultaneously, a highly entertaining read.

    I am continually combing Amazon for additional BBQ cookbooks, however, to date, I have found none that are better than this one for slow-smoked BBQ.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  3. Anonymous on August 29th, 2010 2:13 pm

    Last Saturday, I took off for Austin, but, instead of taking I-10 to 71, I made my way up 59 to 90A to 183, knowing that this would take me through some great barbecue country as described in the book.

    I missed Novosad’s in Halletsville, but did stop on the outskirt’s at Janak’s to pick up sausage. The stop in Shiner was at Patek’s where I picked up an ice chest full of all beef frankfurters. Patek hot dogs may be the best on the planet.

    My first real barbecue stop was in Gonzales at the Lopez’s, recommended by Robb for their ribs. Without the book, I wouldn’t have discovered this place. I was in luck. I had a sample of both pork and beef ribs, which were tremendous, but the real winner was the smoked link sausage. Juicy? I bit into it and it squirted all over my t-shirt. First war wound of the day. Soon to be followed by more stains.

    Next was Central Market in Luling. A slice of brisket was incredibly tender. The sausage,too, was great.

    On to Lockhart for stops at Black’s and Kreuse’s. Feeling full by this time, even with just eating a little bit at each place. Brisket was the winner here.

    And on to Austin.

    Great book. Great information.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  4. Doug Mosley on August 29th, 2010 3:03 pm

    There are not many books which I enjoyed reading as much as I did “Legends of Texas Barbecue.” That may be a strong statement to make, but I can’t think of any other book I’ve read on any subject that I read and then re-read and then re-re-read like I did this book. At times I could not put it down.

    I’ve had the great privilege of reviewing for you some fine books on barbecue. Two of the most recent reviews particularly stood out: “The Grand Barbecue” by Doug Worgul (reviewed last month) and “Celebrating Barbecue” by Dotty Griffith (reviewed two months ago). The former was a well-done history of barbecue that had a heavy Kansas City influence (Worgul writes for the “The Kansas City Star”). If ever there were to be a coffee table book on barbecue, this is it; the pictures and graphics within Worgul’s book are wonderful and key to telling its story. The latter was a very well-written history of barbecue as a whole where Griffith’s years of experience and research on the subject (she is the restaurant critic and former food editor of “The Dallas Morning News”) are poured out on its pages. Bring the strong points of these two books together and you have “Legends of Texas Barbecue.”

    Your first impression of this book will most likely be the pictures. It’s evident that author Robb Walsh, restaurant critic for the “Houston Press” and former editor-in-chief of “Chile Pepper” magazine, wanted to use these to help convey the historical slant of his book and the pictures alone nearly tell the story the Texas barbecue. You’ll be amazed at the large number of pictures showing people cooking, eating and enjoying barbecue in various settings from long ago days, some dating back nearly 100 years. Walsh must have gone to great lengths to assemble this collection of historical photographs.

    The structure of the book is typical of many of this sort. It begins with a very brief introduction and then a “warm up” chapter that sets up the stories to come and the obligatory explanation of cooking equipment, tools, fuels and methods. The book finds its pace in the second chapter – “The Sport of Barbecue” ­ where Walsh gives a look into competition barbecue. The chapter begins with Walsh explaining the subject and then finishing with several recipes from champion cookers.

    It’s a solid format and one that he follows for most of the rest of the book, through chapters on sauce and smoked meats and his excellent coverage of the different influences of Texas barbecue ­ the German meat markets of the mid-state, cowboy style of the west, Tex-Mex from the south and black urban styles from the state’s large cities. Walsh also dedicates a chapter to the barbecue of Juneteenth, the festive holiday marking emancipation in Texas. There are 95 recipes in all ­ a lot for a book that reads more like a history text than a cook book.

    Interspersed throughout the book are delightful sidebars entitled “Legends” and it is here that Walsh offers up interesting tidbits, bios on renowned Texas barbecuers and bits of other lore. He rounds out the book with brief sections of reference on Texas restaurants, barbecue cook-offs and associations, and a glossary.

    It’s a great read, and if you have any interest in Texas barbecue at all, I know you will enjoy this one, too. I’d say it’s a worthy addition to your bookcase, but it will probably spend less time there and more time next to your favorite reading chair.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. David Machlan on August 29th, 2010 5:41 pm

    I grew up in S. Texas and BBQ was as much a part of the fabric of life as Tex-Mex food. In all those years of eating brisket off the butcher paper at Joe Cottens in Robstown, I never appreciated how they did it. Now I do. The simple recipes in the Legends book are not surprising (BBQ is basic stuff) but the descriptions about the various techniques, processes and variations demonstrates where the art really is.

    I’ve “done et” at several of the joints mentioned in this book (Coopers in Llano is “killer”)and many more like them on the city squares in small towns across the state and at the road side stands. It is interesting to me as a transplanted Texican to know how the differences in BBQ flavor and texture come to be. It has certainly given me some additional pointers to try on my next BBQ adventure.

    The book is great for the cooking techniques, tips, and recipes alone. If you like Texas lore it’s also great – I finally know why the tradition of serving BBQ on butcher paper exists.

    One final thing – Anyone can cook good BBQ – I have even found some up here in Mid Atlantic – but don’t go looking for anything close to BBQ in Oregon. They don’t know lengua from a latke.
    Rating: 5 / 5

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