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Texas BBQ (Jack and Doris Smothers series in Texas history, life, and culture) Hardcover – March 1, 2009

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Texas BBQ (Jack and Doris Smothers series in Texas history, life, and culture) + Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook: Recipes and Recollections from the Pit Bosses + Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"When I first looked at Wyatt McSpadden's photos I fancied that someone had given the soul of Edward Hopper a camera and sent him off to Texas." Jim Harrison

Review

"When I first looked at Wyatt McSpadden’s photos I fancied that someone had given the soul of Edward Hopper a camera and sent him off to Texas." (Jim Harrison)|"Wyatt McSpadden’s images of the world of Texas barbecue are so strong and evocative that they seem made of heat and smoke and flavor as much as of light and color. He is nothing less than a genius at summoning up the savory world of this most definitive of Lone Star food traditions." (Colman Andrews, restaurant columnist, Gourmet)|"It is incredibly refreshing to encounter a book of barbecue photographs that does not include neon signs of pigs, Confederate flags, or grinning hillbillies. . . . McSpadden restores some dignity to the field. . . .The tone of his images brings to mind the work of an earlier Texas photographer, Russell Lee, who also photographed Texas barbecue establishments in his work for the Farm Security Administration." (Robb Walsh, author of Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook)
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Product Details

  • Series: Jack and Doris Smothers series in Texas history, life, and culture (Book 23)
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press; 1st edition (March 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0292718586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292718586
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 0.8 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #661,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Allegra Young on March 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is simply fabulous: a love letter to the rough world of meat cutters, smoke hands, and pit crews. It is an honest portrayal of an elemental product: meat, smoke, time. So stripping everything down to its essence - that's what Wyatt McSpadden does in the book. The pictures are saturated in true color and rich imagery that comes not from costuming or placement, but from an incredible photographer who uses a jeweler's eye to see the beauty of what is. And when we accept what is, especially when it's Texas bbq, there's a rough beauty that pours out into our hearts from the page.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Frank Ragan, the photo & book guy on March 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The images in this book are exceptional. One can almost smell the barbecue and the smoke. They are straight forward, honest photos taken by a straightforward, honest , and dedicated photographer. No trick photography, just a master craftsman demonstrating his skill. If you have ever enjoyed the pleasures of Texas BBQ, you can relive those pleasures through the pages of this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Vaughn on March 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Wyatt McSpadden is a native Texan who has spent two decades traveling the back roads of Texas BBQ. He has been a regular contributor to Texas Monthly, most notably in their past "The Top 50 Joints in Texas" editions. This new book is a collection of evocative photos from 30 of the best BBQ joints in the state. The photos are the star here, but the book also includes some great background writing by the likes of Jim Harrison and fellow Texan, John Morthland.

The joints profiled here have an aged quality, that Wyatt captures beautifully through the lens. Both the history of these joints, and the advanced age of their proprietors is highlighted in the writings. Jim Harrison must have had the Prophets of Smoked Meat on his mind when he wrote "many of the photos are somber enough to make you re-think food as a sacrament and those who man the barbecue pit as priests of a holy substance". Baptize me, already! In addition, some insightful quotations are gleaned from the curmudgeonly pit masters, including this one from Steve Kapchinskie, pitmaster at Martin's Place in Bryan. "You can't just throw meat in an oven and come back 24 hours later. You gotta sweat...You can't be lazy if you want real Texas barbecue, you gotta do the work".

A short history of Texas BBQ and its hard-working characters is included in an essay by John Morthland at the close of the book. John echoes the sentiments of my blog when he discusses the use of gas-fired pits that produce the same batches of meat every time. He explains "those 'exact same results' lack the deep, smoky, primal flavor of real barbecue - in fact, the stuff tastes suspiciously of roast beef." If you are a fan of well smoked meat for any reason, do yourself a favor and grab a copy of this book. It's sure to be the genesis of many future road trips for this BBQ fanatic.

- BBQ Snob @ [...]
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Subramanian on June 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
There simply isn't anything like this. Every photo is a gem that is worth staring at for a while. The book captures the essence of the near-religious tradition of barbecue in Texas. If you follow that near-religion you'll love the book. If you don't, you'll see what it's all about.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Bart on April 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In the case of Wyatt McSpadden's Texas BBQ, the answer is yes. This gorgeous coffee table book showcases work by one of the best photographers in the state documenting the steaming, dripping, juicy foodways of Central Texas.

The book itself is a piece of history and is filled with photos from McSpadden's twenty years documenting barbecue around Austin. For me, it was like a walk down memory lane as I've enjoyed many of the same spots for authentic barbecue, prepared by pit masters that have been smoking meat for decades.

Favorites like Kreuz, Smitty's, City Market, Cooper's, and more had me dreaming of my next road trip.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Suzy Q on April 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
this book will make a vegetarian turn into a carnivore. Even though I've eaten lots of BBQ I've never thought about the people who make it, let alone seen their pictures. Pages of beautiful pictures and great stories from the pit bosses bring the art of BBQ come alive and just jump off the pages. This book will remain in my bookcase forever and all my friends and relatives will find a copy of it in their birthday package, or Christmas stocking. Thanks Wyatt McSpadden (and the wonderful designer of the book) for putting a big smile on my face and hunger pains in my stomach.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lin Altman on March 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover
If you're from Texas, especially a small town, you have grown up with BBQ. I've been to many of the places documented in his photographs and Wyatt McSpadden captures them like no one else. You can almost smell and taste the BBQ by looking at his photos. Even if you are a vegetarian, the photographs are beautiful and well worth a look. If you know any expats from Texas, send them this book and they will we be desperate to move home!

Lin Altman
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eric Devlin on April 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
How good is `Texas BBQ'? It's good enough to make me regret my lack of a reasonable visual aesthetic and a master of photography nomenclature. If the old trope that a picture is worth a thousand words is accurate, then this book is a collection of some of the most eloquent essays I have ever had the pleasure of viewing.

As I alluded to earlier, the visual arts are not my forte. In spite of this, I was in awe as I flipped through this pictorial of Texas pits and pitmasters. Some of the photos are breathtaking, some are vibrant and some are rustic; but they are all evocative and alluring.

If you are a student of BBQ, you will find an almost emotional resonance with the images in this book. The impact of these photos is visceral. You can almost feel the dry heat, smell the mesquite and meat smoke and hear the west Texas twang as customers sit at a threadbare counter.

I'm sure that if I spent the time doing some research, I would find that most of the commentary on this book will be from the community of avid photographers. There is a purity evident in the photos that speaks to the people who choose BBQ as an avocation. Hard working people who take the time to do something the right way and refuse to cut corners come to life as you slip from page to page.

Eric Devlin
[...]
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Texas BBQ (Jack and Doris Smothers series in Texas history, life, and culture)
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