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The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue [Hardcover]

Daniel Vaughn
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 17.77 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue + Pitt Cue Co. - The Cookbook + Slow Fire
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Anthony Bourdain/Ecco; 1 edition (14 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062202928
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062202925
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 19.6 x 3.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 327,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring! 22 Mar 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Boring! Not what i thought. Morrisons weekly magazine talks about food more than this book. Not really what i thought.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A culinary journey through Texas BBQ with
great stories from America's foremost BBQ State
A very handy recipe section from some highly respected Pitmasters including John Mueller, Will Fleischman and Roy Perez.
Nicholas McWhirter's gritty photography complements the topic perfectly
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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  93 reviews
68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You need to understand what you're getting 22 May 2013
By Joe Madison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: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.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not sure what writer was trying to get across 5 Jun 2013
By allen w magarrell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A BOOK FIT FOR A BBQ CONNOISSEUR 16 May 2013
By A. C. Ege/Acedoh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Weak Sauce 5 Jun 2013
By Arnold Irving - Published on Amazon.com
Format: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.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Coffee Table Book Fit for a Man 16 May 2013
By Patrick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: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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