Republic of Barbecue: Stories Beyond the Brisket

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It's no overstatement to say that the state of Texas is a republic of barbecue. Whether it's brisket, sausage, ribs, or chicken, barbecue feeds friends while they catch up, soothes tensions at political events, fuels community festivals, sustains workers of all classes, celebrates brides and grooms, and even supports churches. Recognizing just how central barbecue is to Texas's cultural life, Elizabeth Engelhardt and a team of eleven graduate students from the University of Texas at Austin set out to discover and describe what barbecue has meant to Texans ever since they first smoked a beef brisket.

Republic of Barbecue presents a fascinating, multifaceted portrait of the world of barbecue in Central Texas. The authors look at everything from legendary barbecue joints in places such as Taylor and Lockhart to feedlots, ultra-modern sausage factories, and sustainable forests growing hardwoods for barbecue pits. They talk to pit masters and proprietors, who share the secrets of barbecue in their own words. Like side dishes to the first-person stories, short essays by the authors explore a myriad of barbecue's themes—food history, manliness and meat, technology, nostalgia, civil rights, small-town Texas identity, barbecue's connection to music, favorite drinks such as Big Red, Dr. Pepper, Shiner Bock, and Lone Star beer—to mention only a few. An ode to Texas barbecue in films, a celebration of sports and barbecue, and a pie chart of the desserts that accompany brisket all find homes in the sidebars of the book, while photographic portraits of people and places bring readers face-to-face with the culture of barbecue.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
When University of Texas professor Elizabeth Engelhardt and 11 of her American Studies graduate students set out to study the life and culture of barbecue in central Texas, they were expecting more than good meals. They did receive hearty sustenance from brisket, ribs, chicken, and other grill specialties, but they also gained unprecedented insights into the inner workings of barbecue joints, sausage factories, and small-town socializing. Republic of Barbecue surprises us with its subject, then seduces us with tales of a Lone Star institution.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292719989
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 9/30/2009
  • Pages: 255
  • Sales rank: 1,439,598
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

ELIZABETH S. D. ENGELHARDT, Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, writes and studies food, gender, race, and class in the southern United States. She and eleven of her graduate students set out to study the life and culture of barbecue in central Texas. They’re a diverse group that includes native Texans, people from other barbecue strongholds of the U.S. South, a Chicagoan, and even a couple of northeasterners. They all share a passion for listening to stories, debating and trying to understand American cultures, and eating lots of barbecue.
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Table of Contents

Foreword: Plotting the Barbecue Republic, by John T. Edge
Acknowledgments: We Raise Our Glasses
Sidebar: Twenty-four Hours of Barbecue
Introduction: The Life and Times of Central Texas Barbecue

Section 1: Food and Foodways
Stories from Joe Sullivan, House Park Bar-B-Que, Austin, Texas
The Central Texas Plate
A Pie Chart of Desserts Sidebar
Miles of Hanging Meat: Legacies and Linkages of Sausage
Things You Could Make A Smoker Out of If Your Name Is MacGyver Sidebar
Drinking Texas History
In Homage to Big Red Sidebar
Stories from the Archie Family, Church of the Holy Smoke, New Zion Missionary Baptist Church Barbecue, Huntsville, Texas
Stories from Marvin Dziuk, Dziuk's Meat Market, Castroville, Texas

Section 2: Ideas of Place
Stories from Ben Wash, Ben's Long Branch Barbecue, Austin, Texas
Stories from the Inman Family, Inman's Ranch House, Marble Falls, Texas
The Bridge to Ben's: Connecting City Politics to Neighborhood Barbecue
Planes, Trains, and . . . Kayaks? Sidebar
Red Dust, White Bread, Blue Collar at the Edges of Small-Town Texas
Barbecue on Screen Sidebar
Stories from the Meyer Family, Meyer's Sausage Company and Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse, Elgin, Texas
Stories from Terry Wootan, Cooper's Old Time Pit Barbecue, Llano, Texas

Section 3: Dreaming of Old Texas and Original Barbecue
Stories from Vencil Mares, Taylor Cafe, Taylor, Texas
Stories from Rick Schmidt, Kreuz Market, Lockhart, Texas
Keep Your Eye on the Boll
Timeline of Political Barbecues Sidebar
Barbacoa? The Curious Case of a Word
Authenticity: The Search for the Real Thing
Stories from Aurelio Torres, Mi Madre's, Austin, Texas
Stories from the Bracewell Family, Southside Market, Elgin, Texas

Section 4: Ways of Life
Stories from Nicole Dugas, Barbecuties, Austin, Texas
Stories from Richard Lopez, Gonzales Food Market, Gonzales, Texas
Cavemen and Fire Builders: Manliness and Meat
The Feminine Mesquite
Brides and Brisket Sidebar
"No Son Sandías": Girlhood on the Ranch
Stories from Bobby Mueller, Louie Mueller Barbecue, Taylor, Texas
Stories from Joe Capello, City Market, Luling, Texas

Section 5: Bright Lights, Barbecue Cities
Stories from Pat Mares, Ruby's Barbecue, Austin, Texas
Stories from Waunda Mays, Sam's Barbecue, Austin, Texas
Eating Meat to the Beat: Music and Texas Barbecue
Barbecue Melodies: Post Oak Smoke Gets in Their Eyes? Sidebar
Thinking Locally, Barbecuing . . . Globally?
Foreign Barbecue Sidebar
Placeless Barbecues: The Strange but True Story of Chains, Stands, and Interstates
Barbecue Haute Cuisine: Brisket Gets Fancy Sidebar
Stories from Danny Haberman, Pok-e-Jo's Smokehouse, Inc., Austin, Texas
Stories from Art Blondin, Artz Rib House, Austin, Texas

Section 6: Modern Barbecue, Changing Barbecue
Stories from Jim McMurtry, Smokey Denmark Sausage Company, Austin, Texas
Stories from Ronnie Vinikoff, Forestry Management, Rockdale, Texas
It Ain't Easy Being Green When You're Smoked (But Barbecue Is Trying!)
Fun With Numbers, or How Much in a Year? Sidebar
Techno-cue? Barbecue in the Postindustrial Age
Stories from Don Wiley, D. Wiley, Inc., Buda, Texas
Stories from Tyler Graham, Graham Enterprises, Gonzales and Elgin, Texas

Daring to Go There: Sports and Barbecue Sidebar
Personal Barbecue Histories: Who We Are and How We Got Here
Methodology Appendix: Fancy Words for How We Did What We Did Sidebar
As You Digest: Recommended Reading
Beginnings, Not Endings Sidebar


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