The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue
By Daniel Vaughn

(Anthony Bourdain/Ecco, $30)

The genius of Anthony Bourdain is how he’s able to portray that sense of wonderment and satisfaction that comes from exploring a new land and its soulful connection to its food. Barbecue expert Daniel Vaughn, whose first book marks the debut offering from Ecco’s Bourdain line of books, proves worthy of that legacy. He explains the intricacies of not just “Texas barbecue,” but of Texas, and of barbecue, and of the myths and realities of each. Vaughn’s narrative travelogue — 186 visits to Lone Star State pits, grills, meat shacks and smoke monsters — is exquisite, but it’s his sidebars on barbecue science and etiquette — e.g., why “fall off the bone” means bad ribs — that will make you feel like an expert the next time you order a meat and three.