Year Released: 2004
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 46 minutes
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Barbecue in Texas is like hookers on Hollywood Boulevard in that you won’t see one without the other. Texans truly love their barbecue and in “Barbecue: A Texas Love Story”, it’s present in every corner of the state that has a pit and/or grill. Barbecue is not only an important staple of life to the people that create it with their various recipes, but also to the barbecue eaters, who can’t live without it. This ranges from the New Zion Missionary Baptist Church, which serves up barbecue 4 days a week, to the University of Texas Barbecue Club, which scours the state for barbecue joints and make it their mission to visit as many as possible. However, the club has caught flak from the university itself over its logo, which UT claims is similar to its own logo. It’s quite a logo, indeed. Their motto is, “For barbecue, I will!” and it features the important parts of pigs and cows that go into a tastebud-pleasing feast.
“Barbecue” is a fun documentary that moves at breakneck speed to show all facets of life that are connected to barbecue. And there are many. For example, there’s the yearly Limon family reunion, that’s made up of 2200 people. It’s a time to get together, catch up on what’s been going on, but most importantly, it’s the barbecue that gets those people excited. It’s not a reunion unless there’s good eating to be had. Former press secretary, Liz Carpenter, who worked for Lady Bird Johnson, ruminates on the time where a barbecue was being prepared at Lyndon Johnson’s ranch for President Kennedy. Unfortunately, that barbecue never came to pass, as it was the day of Kennedy’s assassination and the press secretary found herself not at the house of the VP, but of the newly sworn-in President.
There are many lighter sides to the world of barbecue. In Houston, you’ll find a plethora of barbecue joints such as Thelma’s Bar-B-Q, Burns Bar-B-Q, and Drexler’s World Famous Bar-B-Q. While the final word in each name is the same, each claim that their barbecue to have something special that sets it apart from all other barbecue. The only thing for one to do is to get out there and check it out. Ironically, there’s also a story about three writers for the Texas Monthly magazine who were paid to head up a project that could make the jealousy of many barbecue lovers boil over. They were assigned to the task of driving all over Texas, trying out as many barbecue places as possible, and deciding what the top 50 were. All three, two men and one woman, talk about how many places they went to in a given day, averaging at least six or seven.
Ann Richards, former governor of Texas, narrates this documentary and with her charismatic charm, she brings another entertaining layer to an already effervescent documentary. Her voice clearly conveys her undying love for a state that she once presided over, and that’s most important when it comes to one of the most important aspects of Texas life. “Barbecue” successfully conveys that aspect with so many stories that prove that Texas might as well not exist if there’s not good barbecue to be had.
Posted on October 4, 2004 in Reviews by Rory L. Aronsky
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