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Glenn Dromgoole is co-author of 101 Essential Texas Books. Contact him at

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4.26.15 Franklin Barbecue owner tells his story; new and reissued Texas cookbooks


Franklin Barbecue in Austin opened its doors in 2009 and quickly became the most popular barbecue venue in the state. People line up outside the lunch-only restaurant for hours, hoping to get some brisket, ribs, or sausage before they run out.


Franklin has been named the best barbecue in Texas (Texas Monthly) as well as the best in the U.S. (Bon Appetit).


Cofounder Aaron Franklin teamed up with food writer Jordan Mackay to tell the story of Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto (Ten Speed Press, $29.99 hardcover).


This isn’t just a book of recipes, but rather a step-by-step detailed discussion of how Franklin does it.


“My hope,” Franklin writes, “is that by being hyperdetailed and specific about my techniques, I will help you in your cooking and in your ability to develop your own style too.”


Chapter one tells how Franklin and wife Stacy got into the barbecue business and what a typical day is like for them. Succeeding chapters cover: the smoker; wood; fire and smoke; meat; the cook; and serving and eating. Color photos illustrate the various steps in all the procedures. And, yes, there are recipes.


Co-author Mackay, after observing Franklin at work, says “the reason his food is so successful seems to lie in his personality, his work ethic, and his remarkable talent for comprehending how things work.” But Franklin’s greatest secret to success, Mackay believes, “is the absolute, utter commitment he has to the customers who truly humble him every day by waiting for hours in line for his food.”


“Hopefully,” adds Franklin, “while you read this book, you’ll find yourself chomping at the bit to get out there and throw a few racks of ribs or a big, honking brisket onto your smoker.”


For more on Franklin Barbecue, see the web site,


Casserole Queens: Austin caterers Crystal Cook and Sandy Pollock billed themselves as the Casserole Queens and for several years delivered tasty casseroles to their customers.


They have produced two popular cookbooks. Their first, The Casserole Queens Cookbook: Put Some Lovin’ in Your Oven with 100 Easy One-Dish Recipes, was a New York Times best-seller in 2011.


Their follow-up book, The Casserole Queens Make-a-Meal Cookbook, includes 100 casseroles, salads, sides and desserts. The cookbooks, both from Clarkson Potter, are $17.99 each, paperback.

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Texas Highways: The gorgeous full-color Cooking with Texas Highways, edited by Nola McKey and published by the University of Texas Press ten years ago, is now available in a paperback edition ($24.95). Whether you like to experiment with new recipes or just take pleasure in reading cookbooks and looking at the mouth-watering photos, there’s plenty here to enjoy with more than 250 dishes covering a wide range of regional and ethnic flavors.

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Slow Cookin’: Texas authors Nicole Sparks and Jenna Marwitz, authors of The Crockin’ Girls Slow Cookin’ Companion (2012), have another slow-cooker cookbook in the works, The Crockin’ Girls It’s Our Crockin’ Life: Continuing Our Love of Crockin' Through Every Lifestyle. Look for it this summer.


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Glenn Dromgoole is co-author of 101 Essential Texas Books. Contact him at

>> Read his past Texas Reads
columns in Lone Star Literary Life here.




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