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Big Ranch, Big City Cookbook
(Ten Speed Press) ISBN 978-1580085304 158008530X

Louis Lambert's Fort Worth and Austin restaurants are known for their innovative Texas cooking. In Big Ranch, Big City Cookbook, you will find 100 recipes from Lambert's Steak, Seafood & Whiskey, Dutch's Burgers & Beer, Jo's and Lambert's Downtown Barbecue restaurant menus.

Chef Lou Lambert also includes recipes for ranch food from McKnight Ranch near Odessa, Texas, where he grew up. Using culinary techniques that he learned at The Culinary Institute of America, he modernizes these ranch recipes to create his own Texas cuisine.

Texas cuisine

The restaurant recipes feature clear instructions and serving suggestions.

Lambert's recipes include the best-selling pork dish on his Ft. Worth restaurant menu (valley-grilled porterhouse pork chops), the roasted peanut and peanut butter cookies from Jo's coffee shop in Austin TX and his favorite chicken recipes, e.g., panfried buttermilk chicken.

Differences between Texas cooking and Tex-Mex

In the introduction to each dish, Louis Lambert defines Texas cooking. For example, he explains that his recipe for red chile and cheese enchiladas, common in Austin restaurants, is usually served with salsa roja, whereas Tex-Mex "enchilada gravy" is traditionally made with a roux and chile powder, rather than rehydrated dried chiles and tomatoes.

In his 259-page Texas cookbook, Lou Lambert also explains how West Texas cuisine differs from Tex-Mex cooking, e.g., topping stacked chile con carne enchiladas with a fried egg to make them fancy.

Ralph Lauer's photos depict Texas ranches and scenery, Chef Lambert cooking and Texas food made from Big Ranch, Big City Cookbook recipes.

What is in chile powder?

Sidebars provide information about ingredients used in Texas cooking. In one, Louis Lambert answers the question: What is chile powder made from? (After explaining that it is a blend of ground dried red chiles, cumin, oregano, garlic and salt, he describes how to make homemade chile powder.)

A resources page includes websites where you can buy chile powder, spice blends, dried chile peppers and other ingredients for Texas cooking, e.g., Pendery's in Fort Worth, Texas.

Sample recipes from Lambert's Texas restaurants

Lambert's chopped salad. Red grapefruit and avocado salad with honey poppy seed dressing. Spinach salad with smoked bacon vinaigrette and blue cheese. Roasted poblano and cheddar soup. Gingered acorn squash soup. Port Arthur seafood gumbo. West Texas venison chili. Maple and fennel breakfast sausage. Lambert's Austin Texas jalapeno and cheddar beef hotlinks. Hot-smoked pecan cured salmon. Maple sugar and mustard crusted rib eye. Smoke-braised beef brisket with chile coffee rub. Beer-battered quail with jalapeno peach glaze. Scampied shrimp with Lambert's barbecue sauce. Puffy tortilla chips. Green chile grits. Texas BBQ sauce. Corn and cheddar pudding. Buttermilk honey ice cream. Gingered pear fried pies. Lambert's fudge brownies from Jo's in Austin.

Big Ranch Big City  Cookbook - Recipes from Lambert's Texas Kitchens


  • Salads
  • Soups & Stews
  • Sausages, Pates & Cured Meats
  • Beef, Lamb, Pork & Game
  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • Tex-Mex
  • Vegetables & Sides
  • Breads
  • Desserts
  • Stocks & Sauces


Lou Lambert is the owner of Dutch's Burger & Beer and Lambert's Steak, Seafood & Whiskey restaurants in Fort Worth TX, as well as Jo's and Lambert's Downtown Barbecue restaurants in Austin, Texas.

June Naylor is the author of Texas Cowboy Kitchen and Cooking the Cowboy Way.

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