Review: Texas BBQ

Texas BBQ is a new book of photographs from University of Texas Press by photographer Wyatt McSpadden, a longtime contributor to Texas Monthly and a verifiable barbecue fanatic. McSpadden was on the SXSW barbecue panel with me a couple of months ago, and we signed books afterward and talked for a while about the difference between Texas barbecue culture and the Memphis in May cook-off circus. I have admired McSpadden's work for a long time.

While there are a lot of photo collections on the subject of Texas barbecue on the market, you get the idea that most of them were published by visiting anthropologists who were trying to capture the essence of our primitive tribal rights. You can only look at so many pictures of anthropomorphic pigs, rednecks posed by their smokers with Confederate battle flags flapping over their heads, and women wearing pig noses, before you want to strangle the S.O.B. with the camera.

McSpadden does the state of Texas proud with a collection of gritty, dignified images of real-deal barbecue establishments and the people who work in them. It's the best barbecue photo album I've ever seen, and it will set the standard for years to come.

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