Daniel Vaughn’s The Prophets of Smoked Meat is a new and insightfully exhaustive study of Texas barbecue’s mouthwatering history: its cultural significance, its unique and varied approaches, and its delicious end results. In celebration of fine dining outdoors in the heat of summer, Vaughn this week shares his recommendations for great books offering the ABC’s of BBQ: poetic and visually thrilling journeys toward culinary nirvana certain to leave you hungry for more.
Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country
By Lolis Eric Elie, with photographs by Frank Stewart
“This book defines the barbecue road trip that is now commonplace across Texas but was more of a rarity when these two friends set out in 1994. They wanted to cross the country and find how the barbecue styles change. They found plenty of good and plenty of bad, but just as riveting are their stories of the people and of unexpected discoveries. Elie’s real wisdom is shown in his pronouncement ‘In the end, it was made deliciously clear that, whether your taste is for barbacoa, brisket, or ribs, you’ll find no better quality and variety than that in Texas.’ “
“Labeling this as a simple cookbook doesn’t begin to cover the ground of this pioneering book. It provided a simplistic definition of the four unique styles of Texas barbecue and did much to cover its history along with highlighting the present-day pit masters. I refer to it regularly. ”
Texas BBQ: Photographs
By Wyatt McSpadden
“This collection of photographs is stunning, and that Texas barbecue is the subject of every one of them is just gravy. This book is the go-to source for photographers seeking inspiration. The essays included, from John Morthland to Jim Harrison, are thought-provoking additions to the incredible photos.”