Tuesday, April 11, 2017

BBQ Book Review: Texas BBQ - Platefuls of Legendary BBQ Flavor

Texas BBQ - Platefuls of Legendary BBQ Flavor
Publisher:  Oxmoor House
Suggested Retail:  $19.99
Release date:  TODAY - April 11, 2017

Review of Texas BBQ Platefuls of Legendary Lone Star Flavor


Texas BBQ - Platefuls of Legendary BBQ Flavor is from the Editors of Southern Living.  I have enjoyed their previous forays into BBQ Books including The Big Book of BBQ and Christopher Prieto's Ultimate Book of BBQ.  I received a free copy for review from the publisher and I have been very impressed with this book.

Growing up in the South, my idea of BBQ was the traditional Southern BBQ with lots of pork and chicken with sweet sauces or sharp vinegar sauces.  Hell, I didn't even HAVE BBQ brisket until I was over 30 years old!  Now smoked brisket is my favorite BBQ and a dream for me is to spend a few weeks crawling across Texas, sampling as many BBQ shacks and stands as I can.  Until then, Texas BBQ - Platefuls of Legendary Lone Star Flavor is a good substitute!  


Physical Description

  • Texas BBQ is a 8" x 10" soft cover book. 
  • It uses easy to read fonts and with few exceptions, all text is printed on white stock, making this easy to read. 
  • There are sidebars about legendary Texas establishments and stories about things like the originators of the first nachos and fajitas. 
  • It's organized with a few intro sections with tips and tricks to get you started on the path of good Texas BBQ.  Then there are the 5 chapters of recipes.


Recipes

One of the first things I do with a new cookbook is flip through it and flag each page that has a recipe that captures my attention.  You can tell that this book excited me, because here's what my tabbed copy looks like: 


The collection of the 115 Texas style recipes is divided up into:
  • Rubs, Sauces, and Spreads (although Texas let's it's meat shine, so there are only 2 sauces)
  • Lone Star Starters
  • Land and Sea: Beef, Pork, Chicken, Fish, and Shellfish
  • Spectacular Sides
  • Sweets

The recipes are powerfully flavored with liberal use of some of my favorite seasonings like ancho (dried poblano), cumin, cilantro, and fresh chiles. The Rajas Con Queso is fantastic and the Grilled Tri-Tip with Chile Butter is exceptional as well.  Bacon Wrapped Dove Poppers are an imaginative spin on the usual popper. I didn't get to try the Texas Smoked Brisket yet but I have an extra brisket in the fridge to try it out this coming weekend.  The rub has a lot of the usual characters (salt, garlic, ancho, black pepper, cumin, etc) but it also has a sweet component that I would never have expected in a Texas rub but it makes sense - piloncillo.  

Photography

Texas BBQ is loading with full page, color photographs. The photography and food styling was all done by Time Inc Food Studios. The artwork includes not just mouthwatering shots of the food, but also theme setting pictures of pitmasters in action, BBQ joints, and the scenic expanses of Texas. I would like to see more step by step or how to pictures, but the artwork does a fine job in accomplishing the main goal - they tell a story about the food and make you want to dive into a plate.

Here is a recipe for Smoked Chicken from the book to give you an idea of the great content that is in the pages of Texas BBQ - Platefuls of Legendary BBQ Flavor.

Easy to make recipes for Texas style BBQ

Smoked Chicken

reprinted from Texas BBQ with permission from Oxmoor House/Time Life Inc

Piloncillo is a raw sugar made from reduced cane juice. It’s sold molded into cone shapes and is sometimes labeled panela. To measure, place the cone in a zip-top plastic freezer bag, and pound it with a meat mallet to break it apart. Dark brown sugar may be substituted for piloncillo.

Hands-on 15 minutes  
Total 4 hours, 5 minutes  
Serves 12

Ingredients
  • 3 to 4 oak, hickory, or pecan wood chunks
  • 1 cup firmly packed piloncillo (Mexican brown sugar) (about 1 [8-ounce] cone)*
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (33⁄4- to 4-pound) whole chickens

Instructions
  1. Soak the wood chunks in water to cover 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the piloncillo and next 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Rub the chickens with the piloncillo mixture, and let stand 30 minutes.
  3. Prepare the smoker according to manufacturer’s directions. Place water pan in smoker; add water to depth of fill line. Bring internal temperature to 225° to 250°F, and maintain temperature 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Drain the wood chunks, and place on coals. Place the chickens on cooking grate; cover with smoker lid. Smoke 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of thighs registers 165°F.
  5. Remove the chickens from smoker, and let stand 20 minutes before slicing.

Rating

5 stars – an absolute resource, will refer to frequently
4 stars – good cookbook with value added tips, photos, guides, and other content
3 stars – Good, average cookbook, glad to have it on my shelf
2 stars – a recipe collection
1 star – would give it away to someone else to get rid of it, but only if I didn't like them very much

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