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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A BOOK FIT FOR A BBQ CONNOISSEUR
This book was a bit different from what I expected. Most of the books on BBQ have been dry and straight forward. This book trully chronicles an experience that I would love to have. The duo set there journey going all over the state and tasting the mediocre to the amazing. Texas is really an amazing place when it comes to the BBQ culture. Traveling just one-hundred...
Published 21 months ago by A. C. Ege/Acedoh

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76 of 78 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You need to understand what you're getting
OK, here's the book in a nutshell: The author and a friend or two jump in the car each weekend and drive to as many different Texas barbecue joints as they can reach in the time they have, take a lot of pictures, and eat pretty much the same thing (brisket, hot links, and ribs) at each place. Then he writes about what they did or didn't like. Mostly what they didn't,...
Published 21 months ago by Joe Madison


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76 of 78 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You need to understand what you're getting, May 22, 2013
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This review is from: The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue (Hardcover)
OK, here's the book in a nutshell: The author and a friend or two jump in the car each weekend and drive to as many different Texas barbecue joints as they can reach in the time they have, take a lot of pictures, and eat pretty much the same thing (brisket, hot links, and ribs) at each place. Then he writes about what they did or didn't like. Mostly what they didn't, because they seldom find anything that measures up to their standards. Apparently most BBQ places in Texas these days make good onion rings and peach cobbler, and that's about it. That's not an insult to Texas BBQ, but an observation that according to Mr. Vaughn, almost nobody does it right anymore. Of course that can be said about almost anything, anywhere. (As a personal aside, I love all kinds of barbecue, but how anyone could eat five excellent combo plates, let alone five *mediocre* combo plates in a twelve hour period is unfathomable to me.)

I expected a lot of interviews with pitmasters, old-timers and the like but it seems that at most places the guy who knew what he was doing is long dead and the current owners are relatively hapless. There is little here in the way of secrets, recipes, behind the scenes knowledge, or classic stories and legends. And apparently a shocking number of the places they stopped closed down shortly thereafter.

The writing is fairly straightforward and quite amusing at times. The photography is excellent, although the author appears in most of the photos, so you kind of get to feeling like you're watching Uncle Harry's vacation slides after a while.

This is not a bad book if you understand what to expect. That said, I can say I enjoyed reading it once (from the local public library) but it won't find a place in my permanent collection.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A BOOK FIT FOR A BBQ CONNOISSEUR, May 16, 2013
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This review is from: The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue (Hardcover)
This book was a bit different from what I expected. Most of the books on BBQ have been dry and straight forward. This book trully chronicles an experience that I would love to have. The duo set there journey going all over the state and tasting the mediocre to the amazing. Texas is really an amazing place when it comes to the BBQ culture. Traveling just one-hundred miles can give you very different results. The photos help tell the story and this book is a very easy read. This is not necessarily a recipe book but the author gives a good idea what goes into most of the food. This book has helped inspire me even further to continue improving my meat smoking methods. I would recommend this book to anyone who is passionate about barbecue.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not sure what writer was trying to get across, June 4, 2013
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This review is from: The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue (Hardcover)
My review....1 star for finishing the book, having been in the writing profession in the past I know its difficult work writing and finishing a book. 1 star for the photos. That's it! If you are looking for something that goes into the culture of Texas BBQ....keep looking. I make my living as a caterer specializing in cowboy cooking and Texas style BBQ. I have read MANY books about BBQ that go beyond standard cookbooks. Nothing in this book will tell you anything about what Texas BBQ is, only what it is not. Texas BBQ is the most difficult of all regions and styles of BBQ. Why? because its all about the meat and smoke.. not rubs or sauces. Instead of profiling cooks and the methods they use and BBQ history... the book from the start is an never ending snobbish rant on the failures of Texas BBQ. I kept thinking that it would get better, however I suffered through page after page of negativism, forcing myself to keep reading. Unfortunately, it does not. BBQ has deep cultural roots in America, this book does its best to ignore that.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Weak Sauce, June 5, 2013
By 
Arnold Irving (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue (Hardcover)
I got this book for a gift. I do quite a bit of cooking and enjoy barbecue and barbecue culture. Off the top of my head, here are three books of a similar genre that are better than this doorstop:

Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country

BBQ USA: 425 Fiery Recipes from All Across America

Peace, Love, & Barbecue: Recipes, Secrets, Tall Tales, and Outright Lies from the Legends of Barbecue

At the broadest level, the writing in Prophets has all of the passion, style, and enthusiasm of a Yelp review, and many of the grammatical errors and typos. This book is hundreds of pages of "I went here, I ate this. The pie was good. The brisket was disappointing. Moving on." That last bit is an actual sentence: Moving on. With a few exceptions, it's difficult to tell that the author spent much time talking to the owners, fellow patrons, or folks from the towns. Compared to Smokestack Lightning, the writing is just dull. There's no overriding narrative here or even some good individual stories. Just a glutton and his friend packing it in day after day. I couldn't tell you a single thing I learned from this book.

All of this would be ok if there were recipes. BBQ USA is a huge book with tons of recipes that still manages to be a better read than Prophets. You get the feeling that Steven Raichlen spent the time with the folks he visited, swapped stories, and observed their operations with a researcher's curiosity, not a collector's desire to check something off his list.

What makes the books above better than Prophets is that the authors are passionate: passionate about food as culture and history, passionate about their own cooking, barbecue, and sharing their love with others. You get absolutely none of that love or passion from this book. I can't imagine what the intended audience is for this book -- as the author admits repeatedly, he writes his reviews based on a single visit. So it's not for cooks, it's not for people who like travelogues, and it certainly isn't for people who want to go off and explore the Texas BBQ scene on their own - since there's scant details other than the names of the places and the reviews are so thin.

I should mention that there's a section at the back of the book that profiles the "pitmasters" featured in the narrative. This seems like a curious editorial choice - why not include their stories (scant as they are) inline with the text? And why list the components of their rubs without listing the recipe or ratios (especially since most rubs are salt, pepper, and 1 or 2 other things, this seems important).

Finally, I have to remark that there's a strong revulsion factor here. I'm a good sized American male and I can't imagine eating what the author claims to have eaten in a single day, no matter how much I liked it (or how much time I put into cooking it, for that matter). This is back to the checklist nature of the book: I went here, I ate this. I knew I shouldn't eat more, but somehow I managed. And then I managed again. Either he's leaving out the treadmill he kept in the back of his Audi or the vast amounts of laxatives he was downing at every turn. Or he's dead now. Those are the only possible explanations. Nothing has made me want to eat barbecue LESS than reading this book.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Coffee Table Book Fit for a Man, May 15, 2013
By 
Patrick (Brooklyn, NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue (Hardcover)
As soon as you flip through the first few pages and see the beautiful images of small town BBQ spots around the great state of Texas, your stomach will start to growl. Dig into Daniel's words about the various styles of BBQ and the stories behind these local joints and you'll be ready to board a plane and hit the BBQ trail. This is a can't miss book to get a deep understanding of Texas BBQ and why it is so important to the history of the state.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Author Irritated Me., August 24, 2013
This review is from: The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue (Hardcover)
First things first, this book is well written and the photography is nothing short of spectacular. The biggest part of this book that annoyed me was the author. Maybe I'm just being a little bit nativist, but the author is not a native Texan and has only lived in Texas for the last 12 or 13 years. While there's no doubt that the author has eaten at more BBQ places than any of us could hope for, he often comes off smug and condescending when describing the BBQ in any region other than Central Texas. Furthermore, his continuous mentioning that he drives an Audi Quattro does little to give his opinions weight in regards to an art that is just about as far from urban life that you can get.

I suppose I'm just old fashioned when it comes to BBQ, but when I read roughly 340 pages of a Audi driver who isn't even a native of Texas and furthermore resides in Dallas which is barely even real Texas anymore, endlessly criticizing roughly 95% of the places he eats at, it begins to chafe me after awhile.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Like the book generally,, June 23, 2013
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This review is from: The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue (Hardcover)
But it seems like 95% of the reviews are negative. Reminds me of a lot of highly critical internet reviews that I see on Yelp and elsewhere. I know that there is a lot of mediocre BBQ out there but he needs to dial back the negativity a little. I am a BBQ Judge and we have a term for it on the judging circuit, the "super judge." Nothing is ever good enough. The brisket is always dry or overdone, the sauce is always too sweet, there is too much smoke or not enough smoke.

If they don't have BBQ that hasn't been sitting around for a day or two, he shouldn't even bother sampling it, he should just find a place that does have something cooked that day.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest, well written account of over a decade of love., May 19, 2013
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This review is from: The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue (Hardcover)
Having followed these journeys on twitter, it was great to get the full version. A little history and a lot of barbecue, this book will make you hungry for a road trip. As far as recipes go, barbecue ain't cupcakes. One shouldn't expect to follow step by step instructions and wind up with transcendent brisket. I've been smoking meat in my backyard for 30 years and feel I nail it half the time. After reading this book, I expect my average to remain .500, and that's OK.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dead Taste Buds, June 17, 2013
By 
Richard F. Nelson (Kerrville, Texas United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue (Hardcover)
In no way do our tastes agree. His hurried tastings and flippant reviews turn me off. Strangely, the WSJ story leading to my purchase was a much better guide to our Texas treasure. This book a waste of money.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Texas BBQ Handbook!, May 17, 2013
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This review is from: The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue (Hardcover)
I have been anticipating this book for months and I was very excited to find it a few days ago in the mail. Daniel Vaughn tells the great story of his BBQ travels across the Lone Star State. He is doing what most diehard Texans would love to do......go on a roadtrip hunting for the "best BBQ in Texas". He does a great job of explaining the different BBQ regions in Texas and what makes them unique. I was born and raised in Texas and I have visited a handful of these spots over the years. This will now become my official guide book on my travels through Texas. The photographs in the book are great and the way the pages look like old butcher paper adds a great effect! I think the thing I like most about the book is the honesty. Daniel doesn't beat around the bush with his short reviews of the BBQ joints. He'll tell you what is good and what is not so good. If nothing else, this book will set the standard for what exceptional Texas BBQ should taste like.
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The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue
The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue by Daniel Vaughn (Hardcover - May 14, 2013)
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