Gloria Corrall, the author of the newly self-published Barbecue Lover's Guide to Austin was happy to talk to me when I called this morning: She just had to finish chewing a piece of smoked turkey first.
Corrall's eaten plenty of smoked meat since she moved from San Francisco to Austin to be closer to her grandchildren. She's spent the last two years compiling 300-word vignettes about all the pits she could find within 30 miles of Austin (with a geographical exception made for Texas Monthly favorite Snow's in Lexington, "which had to be in there.")
"I just set out to look around, eat and absorb the atmosphere," says Corrall, whose sampling routine involved showing up at barbecue joints unannounced and requesting a tour if a staff member wasn't too busy.
There aren't any reviews in the book. Each description is a "small story that really tell the tale," she says.
Corrall, a food enthusiast who made her living as a real estate agent, was astounded nobody beat her to the publishing punch.
"I couldn't believe nobody had done it before," Corrall says. "But it takes a lot of people skills. I didn't want to just try the barbecue. I wanted to say 'Who are you?'"
Coming from the Bay Area, where barbecue culture is "non-existent," Corrall was impressed by the traditions embedded in the joints she visited.
"They have a long, long, long history," Corrall says. "That's what makes barbecue here so special."
Corrall received her first shipment of books late last year, and has since placed them in stores around Austin. She hopes to have the "click here to buy now" button on her website working within the next few days, but in the meantime, Dallasites can order a copy through Barnes & Noble.
"I'm feeling my way along," she admits. "This is my first book."