BARBECUE BISCUITS & BEANS: Chuck Wagon Cooking
Cauble and Teinert are serious about turning chuck wagon cooking into a regional art form. Together, they helped found the Western Chuck Wagon Association. Teinert runs a catering service; Cauble cooked for a working ranch. In the introduction to the 180 recipes rounded up for this collection, Cauble identifies the challenges of his craft: "Cowboys like meat, beans, potatoes and bread. They like corn. Some will eat a green vegetable, especially if it's fried. They want Ranch dressing, even if it's from a bottle." Thus, ingredients for these dishes are always hearty and often abundant, with the quirky exceptions of Mountain Oysters and Baked Dove in Gravy. Cookware, when needed, is preferably cast iron. Part of the fun here is the enormous portion sizes: Roasted Suckling Pig calls for a 15- to 25-pound oinker ("scalded and scraped") and a coffee can to support its body cavity; it serves 15 to 20. SOB Stew uses up all the innards of a suckling calf, and the recipe ends with, "Add brains 15 minutes before serving." Saner classics abound, too: Chicken Fried Steak, Chili, Buttermilk Biscuits and Vanilla Ice Cream. Sauces, mops and rubs are essential for many of the entrees and the authors provide plenty of suggestions, including a complex Jalapeño Raspberry Sauce with mango nectar, as well as a basic Barbecue Mop with Worcestershire sauce, vinegar sugar and spices. The brief foreword by Tommy Lee Jones is somewhat lackluster, but the book's photos are wildly Western without being cliché. (Apr.)
Forecast: The authors are negotiating for a TV series with PBS and the Food Network; if that happens, expect their book to take off.
Release date: 09/01/2002