Perfect Texas Cookbooks for New (or New to Them) Kitchens

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cookbooksWe checked out Amazon for Texas (or Texas-inspired) cookbooks perfect for the person who loves hitting the kitchen. Note: may collect a small commission or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are priced correctly and in stock at the time of publication.

Whether it’s a new kitchen (or new to them) kitchen, one of the best housewarming gifts you can give the person whose eyes glaze over when they hit Sur le Table and can’t pass a Wusthof display without slowing to a stop is a cookbook. And when that kitchen is in Texas, what better way to say welcome than a cookbook conceived in the Lone Star State?

While there are many, we found a few that are already on our bookshelves. Do you own any of these? If not, it might just be time to treat yourself, too.

The Texas Food Bible: From Legendary Dishes to New Classics

Price: $28.80

The book: How do you make a list of Texas cookbooks and not include Dean Fearing? You don’t. That would be silly, and we’re not silly on Mondays. From fry bread to spoonbread to shrimp tacos to salsas, Fearing leads even the novice through Texas cuisine, with stops along the way from other Texas-based chefs.

What buyers are saying: “Some of this is vintage Dean (the chili came from the Mansion in 1996) and some of it is new, as in Granny Fearing’s Fried Chicken. Most importantly, the recipes are easy to make and they all taste good. The Texas Food Bible and Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking are the only ‘go-to’ cookery books we use, You can’t go wrong here.” —Dave Coffman

To order the book, click here.

The Enchilada Queen Cookbook: Enchiladas, Fajitas, Tamales, and More Classic Recipes from Texas-Mexico Border Kitchens

Price: $13.67

The book: Written by Houston restaurateur Sylvia Casares and former Dallas Morning News food critic Dotty Griffith, this is the book you need if you want to jump into cooking TexMex, since the two lead you through the paces for all things, yes, enchilada, but also beef fajitas, guacamole, tamales, and sopapillas.

What buyers are saying: “Having these recipes makes me very happy! I’m from the Dallas area and have lived in California for ten years. One of my first priorities when I visit home is to eat Mexican food – TexMex. But that was only once a year. As many Texans know, that’s not nearly enough. With Sylvia’s book, I am able to create the basic recipes such as the chili gravies and sauces and salsas and can thereby have the flavors I crave as often as I want!! I’ve made three recipes and have been happy with them all! I’m sooo happy about this! I’m fairly creative in the kitchen, so when I read how strictly she lays out and follows proportions, at first I thought yeah sure. But I gave it a try and I’m glad I did! The flavors are balanced and spot on! I Highly recommend if your palate has the same cravings as mine and if you appreciate the value of laying a delicious foundation! I rarely get to Houston, but look forward to going to one of her restaurants when I do!” —J.K. Shuttlesworth

To order the book, click here.

The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue

Price: $22.45

The book: As some have pointed out, this isn’t technically so much a cookbook as a drool-inducing travelogue with a few recipes here and there, but any good cook worth their Himalayan salt knows that sometimes the story behind the food is just as important as the precise way you made it. Written by now Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn and photographed by Nicholas McWhirter, you should probably pair this with a roll of paper towels to mop up the salivation — just like the kind usually found on the table of just about any Texas barbecue joint.

What buyers are saying: “I love Texas BBQ, and not only that but I love learning about the places and stops along the hundreds of miles of roads that I have never traveled. This book not only reviews many legs of a trip of a lifetime, but it also goes into good detail about the textures, sights, smells, and experiences of traveling just to eat BBQ. Not only does it entail all the locations and pit-stops on a very optimistic journey, but the author also includes bits and pieces of advice and reference as to the very definition of BBQ. Surprisingly there ends up being more mediocre places included in this book than I thought there would. A great read if you like BBQ and the quest for it.” — CheeseMouse

To order the book, click here.

The Austin Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from Deep in the Heart of Texas

Price: $17.99

The book: Food writer Paula Forbes separates her book by the major Austin food groups — including barbecue, tacos, and Tex-Mex — and includes some Texas institutions, too. If you like your local favorites with a bit of a twist, along with some educated opinions, Forbes book is a required addition to your cookbook shelf.

What buyers are saying: “I’ve been to Texas a number of times for work. I’ve loved the food scene in Austin as much as any place. This cookbook has both novel food as well as basic comfort food with an Austin twist. I needed to take something to the party and new it had to be Paula’s version of pimento cheese spread. It was a huge hit. It’s sort of retro but delicious. I also love the writing. I’ve followed Paula’s food writing and really enjoy her thoughtful and humorous take on cooking, the restaurant scene, and the people that do the work. Totally recommend this book.” — Chris Thorn

To order the book, click here.

Texas Cocktails: An Elegant Collection of More Than 100 Recipes Inspired by the Lone Star State

Price: $12.39

The book: Man cannot live by barbecue and taco alone (although we would like to give it a good shot): You need some libations, too. And that’s where Dallas-based cocktail expert Nico Martini’s guide to the best bars and cocktails the state has to offer comes in. Full (as in, more than 100) of recipes for classic Texas cocktails, and updates to those cocktails, as well as interviews and tips from the state’s best bartenders and mixologists, Martini gives you plenty of fodder for wetting your whistle.

What buyers are saying: “Not only is this book full of recipes to make some of the best drinks in the state of Texas, but it is beautiful in presentation and makes a killer gift. Nico Martini knows his cocktails, culture, and bars of the Lonestar State and I’d recommend anyone pick up a copy of this that is interested in any of those three things.” — Zens7s

To order the book, click here.

Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto

Price: $13.31

The book: Duh. Like we wouldn’t include a book from Aaron Franklin, the guy whose barbecue makes people line up hours before the restaurant opens. It’s like you don’t even know us.  But seriously, some will say this isn’t a cookbook, and if you’re looking for a teaspoon of this and a half cup of that, you might be disappointed. What this book actually is, however, is a deep dive into the science behind smoking and barbecuing meat, and if your aim is to learn what you’re doing wrong with that brisket, this is your book.

What buyers are saying: “I smoke meat a lot for years and always was pleased with the outcome along with everyone else great comments always on my brisket. and this book has taught me that I have been doing it wrong for a long time. Now I followed it as close as I could he does not tell you exactly what he uses but he sure points you in the right direction. I smoked a brisket last weekend and it might not be his recipe or even come close to his recipe I tried my best. But one thing for sure it is the best damn brisket I ever put in my mouth, tender, full of flavor and I ate the whole thing over the rest of the weekend. This ‘Manifesto’ IS well worth the price. I have watched this man on you tube everything they have to offer what a great individual. Quirky personality I think funny as hell my kind of people …” — Rick

To order the book, click here.

The Homesick Texan’s Family Table: Lone Star Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours 

Price: $19.83

The book: Food blogger Lisa Fain’s Homesick Texan isn’t just for people who miss their Texas cuisine, but it’s definitely helpful if you are. The latest installment offers 125 recipes, full of faithful favorites and updated takes, too, from Mexican chocolate pancakes to brisket tacos.

What buyers are saying: “Few cookbooks have me using up multiple pads of little sticky notes to flag recipes I can’t wait to try. The first Homesick Texan cookbook was one of those few, and now the second one is the same. The photography is beautiful and the recipes run the full spectrum of diverse Lone Star cooking.
This cookbook a good balance between showcasing the classics you crave and offering a little twist to add a new dimension. The stories that accompany each chapter and recipe make homesick Texans truly miss home, but they also inspire the reader to make memories around the table today with those you care about. Kudos on another triumph, Lisa Fain.” — David Bryant

To order the book, click here.

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Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson lives in a 1961 Fox and Jacobs home with her husband, a second-grader, and Conrad Bain the dog. If she won the lottery, she'd by an E. Faye Jones home. She's taken home a few awards for her writing, including a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Online News Association, the Education Writers Association, the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, and the Society of Professional Journalists. She doesn't like lima beans or the word moist.

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