This new compilation from Grady/Spears duo is as much a travel guide as a cookbook. The authors are Texans, as are most of the destinations, beginning at the Wildcatter Ranch, about ninety minutes north of Fort Worth on the Brazos River. Here, city slickers can ride with the wranglers, shoot clay pigeons, stay overnight in one of the cabins, and enjoy Bob’s Famous Baby Back Ribs. The recipe for this and other famous dishes from the selected ranches/restaurants appear along with photos of the landscape, the chefs, and the food. Sidebars offer hints for when to go, shopping, and historical points of interest.
Fortunately, Texas isn’t the only cowboy local. Arizona has its Rancho de la Osa in Sasabe (try the Lamb Tenderloin with Green Olive Jam). Florida—which also happens to be the first cattle-raising spot in the Americas—has it’s Bellamy Brothers Ranch in Darby. Here, the country western music star brothers have added a bit of Cuban spice to their cuisine.
Can’t leave out Kansas City, a.k.a. Cowtown. The recipes come from a variety of sources: Fiorella’s Jack Stack, Gates Bar-B-Q, and the Kansas City Barbeque Society. To get really exotic, travel to Calgary—yes, Canada—for some Candied Bacon with Goat Cheese or Skillet Buttermilk Corn Bread with Maple Butter. While you’re there, take in the Calgary Stampede, The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. You can see it by horseback, but these cowboys know better than to send a greenhorn out on a living, breathing mount. They’ll stick you one a wooden variety first, and assign a horse to fit your mettle.
Finally, there’s a chapter on what to cook if the cowboys in your life wear helmets, pads, and Lycra. The Texas Tailgate Party serves up everything you’ll need please the crowd, courtesy of Grady Spears’ Fort Worth restaurant, Dutch’s. Try Dutch’s Blue Cheese and Bacon Burger with Chipotle Mayo or Dutch’s Frito Pie for guaranteed touchdowns. (October) Heather Shaw
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