Wyatt McSpadden

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Author and photographer Wyatt McSpadden talks with us this week about his new book, Texas BBQ, Small Town to Downtown (University of Texas Press, August 1, 2018).

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WYATT MCSPADDENs book, Texas BBQ, Small Town to Downtown was released in August by University of Texas Press. A native of Amarillo, Texas, Wyatt has a wealth of experience photographing the down and out, the high and mighty, and everyone in between. His work has appeared in scores of publications nationwide, most notably in Texas Monthly where he is a contributing photographer. His award-winning work resides in the permanent collections of many noted Texas museums.

Wyatt began his career as the photographer for eccentric arts patron Stanley Marsh 3 in 1974, photographing the creation of Marsh’s Cadillac Ranch and chronicled the work’s evolution from local curiosity to state landmark. He moved to Austin in 1992 and turned his focus to editorial photography.

Wyatt has been shooting pictures of Texas barbecue joints for over twenty-five years. His book, Texas BBQ celebrated traditional, wood-smoked barbeque (University of Texas Press, 2009, now its third printing). In his new book,  Texas BBQ, Small Town to Downtown (University of Texas Press, August 2018), Wyatt captures the new urban BBQ scene epitomized by Franklin Barbecue, as well as small-town favorites such as Snow’s in Lexington.

REVIEWS of   Texas BBQ, Small Town to Downtown (University of Texas Press, August 1, 2018)

Texas BBQ, Small Town to Downtown, takes us to a few slick urban spots, but it’s the out-of-the-way places that will likely stir more than an appetite in readers—they’ll stir a sense of adventure too. Each photo caption includes the population of the town where the barbecue joints resides to provide an unusual but helpful bit of context. . . It’s great to see big city upstarts. . . featured right alongside some of McSpadden’s new small town discoveries.” —Texas Monthly

“[A] large-format book so steeped in barbecue traditions that it might leave a smoke ring on your coffee table.” —Houston Chronicle

“If you haven’t seen Texas barbecue through Wyatt McSpadden’s eyes, then you haven’t seen Texas barbecue.” —austin360

“Ain’t a thing on the planet, when it’s photographed by this McSpadden, that won’t look even more awesome than it does outside of his expert lens.” —Austin Chronicle

ABOUT  Texas BBQ, Small Town to Downtown (University of Texas Press, August 1, 2018)

Photographs by Wyatt McSpadden; Foreword by Aaron Franklin; Essay by Daniel Vaughn

A decade after he celebrated traditional, wood-smoked ’cue in Texas BBQ, Wyatt McSpadden captures the new urban BBQ scene epitomized by Franklin Barbecue, as well as small-town favorites such as Snow’s in Lexington.

In Texas BBQ, Wyatt McSpadden immortalized the barbecue joints of rural Texas in richly authentic photographs that made the people and places in his images appear as timeless as barbecue itself. The book found a wide, appreciative audience as barbecue surged to national popularity with the success of young urban pitmasters such as Austin’s Aaron Franklin, whose Franklin Barbecue has become the most-talked-about BBQ joint on the planet. Succulent, wood-smoked “old school” barbecue is now as easy to find in Dallas as in DeSoto, in Houston as in Hallettsville. In Texas BBQ, Small Town to Downtown, Wyatt McSpadden pays homage to this new urban barbecue scene, as well as to top-rated country joints, such as Snow’s in Lexington, that were under the radar or off the map when Texas BBQ was published.

Texas BBQ, Small Town to Downtown presents crave-inducing images of both the new—and the old—barbecue universe in almost every corner of the state, featuring some two dozen joints not included in the first book. In addition to Franklin and Snow’s, which have both occupied the top spot in Texas Monthly’s barbecue ratings, McSpadden portrays urban joints such as Dallas’s Pecan Lodge and Cattleack Barbecue and small-town favorites such as Whup’s Boomerang Bar-B-Que in Marlin. Accompanying his images are barbecue reflections by James Beard Award–winning pitmaster Aaron Franklin and Texas Monthly’s barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn. Their words and McSpadden’s photographs underscore how much has changed—and how much remains the same—since Texas BBQ revealed just how much good, old-fashioned ’cue there is in Texas.

AARON FRANKLIN                                                                                                         

Widely regarded as one of the most influential pitmasters in the country, Franklin is the coauthor of Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto and owner and chief pitmaster of Franklin Barbecue. He received the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southwest in 2015.


The barbecue editor of Texas Monthly since 2013, Vaughn is the author of The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue.

For more information on Wyatt McSpadden, please see his website. You can also keep up with him on Facebook.