Barbecue Crossroads: To Really Understand Barbecue

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From the LA Times

la-dd-going-down-that-road-feeling-fed-a-barbe-001Barbecue – and by that I mean real barbecue, meat cooked long and slow near (not over) a smoldering fire, until it is tender enough to fall to pieces but still moist enough to be delicious – is a discursive art. It takes as much time as it takes, and things will happen, some of them planned, and there will be ample opportunity in between for conversation, music and philosophy.

The current rage for commodifying barbecue – turning it into a series of 10-best lists and must-visit places – is useful for the consumer, but only in the short term. To really understand barbecue, you have to surrender yourself to its languorous current.

Or, you can pick up a copy of Robb Walsh and Rufus Lovett’s new book "Barbecue Crossroads: Notes and Recipes from a Southern Odyssey” which does much the same thing but in a handy armchair format.

Walsh is a well-known Houston-based writer on Southern food, the author of 10 previous books and the restaurant critic for Houstonia magazine. Lovett is a truly marvelous photographer whose work has appeared in everything from Texas Monthly to Gourmet.

Together they embarked on a journey many of us have talked about over a pile of ribs and second frosty mug of beer, but few of us have ever actually undertaken – a barbecue tour of the South and mid-South. They loaded up a Honda Element with notebooks and photo equipment and took off for anywhere barbecue was served between West Texas and North Carolina.

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