Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Smoke and mirrors

A few months ago, Tom Ryder, the Chairman of Reader's Digest, took a BBQ tour of the Texas Hill Country. And even though he lives in Connecticut, he's no slouch on his 'cue credentials: southern, owns a chain of CT bbq joints called the Cookhouse and is a partner in NY's Blue Smoke. So I read his missives on my homeland with great anticipation. And most of the time he was pretty spot on in his descriptions, even though he didn't like Kreuz's Market and his party was upset when no sauce was served. But it's one's man's taste and one man's opinion. And even if you don't agree with his observations I highly recommend going through the full online package as it offers up a ton of information through words, photos and videos. And then you can be inspired to take your own BBQ tour of the Texas Hill Country.

Speaking of the Cookhouse, the NY Times reviewed the joint on Sunday. As usual when it comes to East Coast reviews of bbq, there was a humdinger of a comment that made me wonder where they find these writers. "The brisket is beautifully cooked but, served as it is without broth, its lovely flavor gets lost in the intensity of the smoke and sweet that pervades all the food here." Broth? With your barbecue brisket? This isn't grandma's Sunday brisket served with carrots and potatoes. If you don't know what something is, what gives you the right to pass judgment on it? The writer even concedes in the last graf, "The Cookhouse is not my style," meaning she doesn't know anything about bbq. So I still have no idea if the place is good or not, but I aim to check it out and pay my respects to Mr. Ryder.

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