Paula Forbes

This is the go-to guide to Austin eating.

Publishers Weekly  /


The Austin Cookbook

Recipes and Stories From Deep in the Heart of Texas

Photography by Robert Strickland / Food styling by Liz Pearson


The story of Austin food is equal parts deep Texan traditions and a booming food scene. It is this atmosphere that has fostered some of the hottest restaurants in the country, a lively food truck community, and a renaissance in the most Texan of foods: barbecue. Austin food is also tacos and Tex-Mex, old fashioned Southern cooking, and street food and fine dining, with influences from all over the globe. And above all, it’s a source of intense pride and inspiration for chefs and diners alike.

Organized by Austin’s “major food groups”—like barbecue, tacos, and Tex-Mex—The Austin Cookbook explores the roots of Texas food traditions and the restaurants that are reinventing them, revealing the secrets to Bob Armstrong dip, Odd Duck’s sweet potato nachos, East Side King’s beet fries, and of course, smoked brisket that has people lining up to eat it—even in the Texas summer. Part cookbook, part souvenir, and 100 percent love letter, The Austin Cookbook is perfect for proud locals, visitors, and (t)ex-pats.

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Bob Armstrong dip, Matt's El Rancho. /  Photo:  Robert Strickland

Bob Armstrong dip, Matt's El Rancho. / Photo: Robert Strickland

Frozen margaritas. /  Photo:  Robert Strickland

Frozen margaritas. / Photo: Robert Strickland



“Paula Forbes has created an amazing book that works for home cooks, food geeks, and culinary converts that, like me, believe that Austin’s food scene is singularly phenomenal and delicious. Finally documented in all its glory, from Tex to Tex-Mex to BBQ and more, Austin’s unique food scene has finally been captured for anyone to enjoy, no matter how far away they are from Hill Country.”

— Andrew Zimmern, TV host and bestselling author

“Paula Forbes provides everything you’ll need to replicate the best barbecue recipes from the best barbecue joints in Austin (aka the best barbecue destination on earth). You’ll still yearn to try them firsthand in the city she so lovingly describes. And that's just the first chapter.”

— Daniel Vaughn, author, The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue

“If you find yourself missing Austin, reading and cooking from The Austin Cookbook is the next best thing to hopping on a plane. From Bob Armstrong Dip to Sweet Potato Nachos, and Huevos Rancheros to Everything Bagel Kolaches, Paula Forbes shares beloved Austin dishes with a friendly voice and expert hand. I want to cook everything! And a tip of the hat also to Robert Strickland’s lively photos, which beautifully capture the food and town’s vibe so well.”

— Lisa Fain, author of The Homesick Texan Cookbook and QUESO!


The Austin American Statesman

"Forbes has reviewed enough restaurant cookbooks to know that most of them are intimidating, to say the least. She specifically asked for dishes that she knew home cooks would have success replicating at home.

Barbecue, however, is another story. “It’s the most complicated thing in the book,” she says. It’s also the first chapter. She shares recipes for smoked turkey from La Barbecue, ribs from Stiles Switch and pork shoulder from Kerlin.

From there, she hits tacos and Tex-Mex, featuring recipes for Tacodeli’s carne asada, Tamale House East’s carne molida tacos and cochinita pibil from Curra’s, with a tour through the Texas standards of chicken-fried steak, pimiento cheese and Parkside’s macaroni and cheese. The “new Austin classics” include dishes that diners seek out at some of the city’s newer and noteworthy dining establishments, from the beet fries at East Side King to the duck confit at Justine’s."

Publishers Weekly

"Food writer Forbes delivers an innovative if occasionally intimidating collection of recipes from some of the most popular restaurants in Austin, Tex....Along with the recipes, readers will appreciate Forbes’s humorous essays on cooking techniques and the city’s food culture. This is the go-to guide to Austin eating."

Brisket Frito Pie, Stiles Switch. /  Photo:  Robert Strickland

Brisket Frito Pie, Stiles Switch. / Photo: Robert Strickland