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Barbecue Crossroads: Notes and Recipes from a Southern Odyssey Paperback – April 15, 2013
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*Starred Review* This is an homage to a way of life that, unless tended to, may very well pass away in the next decade or two. Ostensibly setting a goal to write about southern barbecue, former Houston Press restaurant reviewer Walsh (Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook, 2002; The Tex-Mex Cookbook, 2004; and others) and photographer O. Rufus Lovett meander through the southern states on a journey to capture the spirit and times associated with the whole hog (and sometimes less). It’s no “best of” list. Walsh spends time (and sometimes not) with all kinds of people, including preachers and hog-raisers, to get at the essence of barbecue. The color photographs alone demand the book’s size, as do the more than 80 recipes, some of which can be duplicated by home chefs, such as parched peanuts made using a microwave and plain paper bag and melt-in-your-eyes fried pies (never mind what the sugar and cholesterol counts are). Walsh explores the relationship between pits and pulpits, wanders to Memphis (spiritual home of this kind of cookery), focuses on the charms of beer and community feasts, and more with charm, ease, and a methodical pace, reminding us how life and barbecue need to be savored. --Barbara Jacobs --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This is an homage to a way of life that, unless tended to, may very well pass away in the next decade or two…The color photographs alone demand the book’s size, as do the more than 80 recipes, some of which can be duplicated by home chefs, such as parched peanuts made using a microwave and plain paper bag and melt-in-your-eyes fried pies (never mind what the sugar and cholesterol counts are). Walsh explores the relationship between pits and pulpits, wanders to Memphis (spiritual home of this kind of cookery), focuses on the charms of beer and community feasts, and more with charm, ease, and a methodical pace, reminding us how life and barbecue need to be savored. (Barbara Jacobs Booklist)
Lovett's photography shows beautifully decaying signs, weathered hands stoking fires, embers glowing “deep in dark metal caverns, and barbecue platters of all varieties. It's the story of an American tradition that's endangered, for all that it's in vogue. One gets a sense of urgency from Barbecue Crossroads: preserve these traditions before it's too late. (Paula Forbes Eater.com)
Award-winning writer Robb Walsh captures life and culture like a Steinbeck of the South. The story of barbecue is layered and intimate…There are visceral pleasures: the freshly chopped pork sandwich eaten at a Formica counter, coconut pie eaten over the car hood. But Walsh, who has written extensively about the history of Texas food, always gives you something deeper to chew on…A masterful piece of documentation, the book is a labor of love and time — like barbecue itself. (Eve Hill-Angus Dallas Morning News)
In the end, you feel privileged to have been invited along and a whole lot smarter about not only smoked meat in all of its many guises, but this lovely and confounding part of the country. (Russ Parsons Los Angeles Times 2013-06-26)
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Top Customer Reviews
The recipes sound so great that I am tempted to insult my husband's gas grill and go get a genuine offset wood burning BBQ pit and try some whole pork shoulders every once in a while. I love the sauce recipes, rubs, and sides like potato salad and hush puppies. There is also a terrific looking fried catfish recipe as well. The sweet potato pie looks amazing. And of course Walsh has a lot to say about cooking the meat, telling you each pit masters technique as well as how they burn down the wood and shovel the coals. I loved reading Walsh's thoughts on the BBQ cook-off TV shows, and politics and money of the cook-off circuit, as well as community BBQs that I will now have to seek out. It was enlightening to hear about how so many places now use commercial stainless steel roasters to simulate pit BBQ.
I did have a few minor things that bothered me a bit at first. First of all, Walsh, since he lives in Texas and already wrote a book about Texas BBQ, spends most of the time writing about BBQ in other states, except for the beginning and end of the trip. However, he `flashes back' to places in Texas frequently, but this took me a bit to get used to, when reading about Alabama BBQ for example, to find myself mentally back in Texas. Secondly, it was difficult to tell if some of the recipes were written by Walsh to be `like' a dish he got at some BBQ restaurant, or if it was THE recipe given to him by the restaurant. Some of the recipes are more clear about this than others. Walsh has also fleshed out the recipes with other traditional ones that are served at BBQs. He mentions that fried pies are the queen of the desserts at BBQ places (and has several recipes for them, I had no idea you use dried fruit), but around here the queen of desserts are cobblers, specifically peach cobbler, and I did not spot a recipe for that. I loved reading of Walsh's search for BBQ for breakfast! Robb if you read this, leftover BBQ brisket, sausage, and potato salad chopped and fried up makes a heck of a good breakfast taco!