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Daniel Vaughn, Anthony Bourdain release barbecue bible

Addie Broyles
abroyles@statesman.com

By now, you’ve likely heard about Daniel Vaughn’s recent departure from a job as an architect in Dallas to become Texas Monthly’s barbecue editor, a new and much-publicized position where he’ll help executive editor Pat Sharpe assemble the magazine’s influential Top 50 BBQ issue, which comes out May 22, write about the subject for its virtual and physical pages and generally expand the Texas Monthly barbecue brand, which also includes an app and a festival. (UPDATE: Today, the magazine released the list — but not the ranking — of the restaurants featured in the top 50 BBQ list. The Austin restaurants on the list are Franklin Barbecue, John Mueller Meat Co., La Barbecue, Lamberts Downtown Barbecue and Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew.)

Vaughn ascended to the top of the barbecue world with his blog, “Full Custom Gospel BBQ,” a publication that caught the attention of Anthony Bourdain. The notoriously hard-to-please TV host called upon Vaughn to be his barbecue expert on the Austin episode of “No Reservations” that aired last fall, and Bourdain then signed Vaughn as the first author in his new publishing imprint within Ecco.

The book, “The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue” ($29.99, Anthony Bourdain/Ecco), chronicles Vaughn’s 10,000-mile journey with photographer Nicholas McWhirter across Texas to discover the roots of what has grown from a food we appreciated for what it was to an almost fetishized search for the most “authentic” and perfectly prepared brisket, sausage and ribs. We’ve seen a lot of these barbecue travelouges over the years, but it’s the kind of project that anyone claiming to be an expert on the subject must publish in order to be taken seriously. A printed bible for the throngs who follow Vaughn’s gospel, the book also includes reviews of more than 200 restaurants in the state and recipes from pitmasters including Austin’s Aaron Franklin.

Vaughn will talk about the book during a signing event at 7 p.m. May 22 at BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd., that will feature food from Micklethwaite Craft Meats, a new kid on the barbecue block, and Saint Arnold beer. (Vaughn is in New York today for an event tonight with Bourdain.)

A note about the magazine’s upcoming festival: This year’s Texas Monthly BBQ Festival will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. Nov. 3 on the City Terrace at the Long Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets, which always sell out, go on sale in coming weeks. General admission costs $58 (children younger than 5 are free); it’s $118 for VIP tickets, which include early access to the dozens of participating barbecue restaurants from across the state.